Syracuse routed Binghamton, 93-65, on Saturday evening. Here are a few thoughts from the game:
Is this really the No. 2 team in the country?
Earlier this season, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim was quick to temper any expectations still lingering from last year’s Final Four run. When asked to compare the two teams, Boeheim was quick to point out, “We lost three guys that could get 20 (points) any night we played, and we didn’t replace them with anyone that could get 20. So we’re a different team.” This team is certainly different, but this team is also about to achieve something by Week 6 that the team from last year unable to attain all season: The chance to be ranked No. 2 in the Coaches Poll. Despite Boeheim’s pessimistic comments, there is something to be said for a team with top 10 expectations that has remained stoic game-in and game-out when other teams have faltered. Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan State and Michigan have all lost early season games to lesser opponents.
Time for the freshmen to shine… kind of
Freshman Tyler Ennis has been second only to CJ Fair in minutes played for this Syracuse team. The other three freshmen—Tyler Roberson, Ron Patterson and BJ Johnson—have spent all but one minute of the last 5 games on the bench. With 2-6 Binghamton rolling into town, this was their chance to get some significant minutes in a real game situation. Unfortunately there was not many positives to take away for the three other than minutes played. Roberson, Patterson and Johnson combined to shoot 5 for 21 from the field against a Binghamton team that left Syracuse players wide open all night. There is no question all three can expect to get little to no playing time once conference play starts, but they did gain some valuable experience. “It was a good opportunity for those guys to play and get some minutes under their belts,” Boeheim said. All three of them will eventually develop into contributing players. Just don’t expect it to happen this year.
Cooney is now the No. 2 scoring option
The transformation that Trevor Cooney has gone through from last year to this has been nothing short of incredible. Not only has Cooney answered all of his critics about his shooting, he has gone above and beyond by filling the position of the No. 2 scoring option for the Orange. Coney has shot over 50 percent from behind the arc in three out of the last four games, and has already passed his 3-point total from last year. Cooney has added a nice outside presence to the inside games of Grant and Fair that will surely power this Syracuse offense for the rest of the season.