With six men gone through graduation, transfers and the NBA Draft, the Syracuse Orange look like they’re in for a down season. In the offseason, the Orange lost Rakeem Christmas and Chris McCullough to the NBA, and BJ Johnson and Ron Patterson to transfers.
The losses of these players have caused Syracuse to be unranked heading into the season. The team is not considered a major contender in the ACC, and are ranked even lower to win it all. TopBet has listed Syracuse with +7500 odds to win the NCAA tournament, its lowest odds in several years.
But those odds may improve as the season goes on. Senior Michael Gbinije has led Syracuse in scoring through two games, and he is a proven scorer that Syracuse can rely on. And there’s plenty of upside, as well. Malachi Richardson has impressed so far this season and is showing great promise for years to come. He’s playing over 30 minutes per game and averaged over 14 points a night. Richardson played 35 minutes in a 79-66 win over St. Bonaventure, and scored 15 points and added three assists and two rebounds.
Aside from Richardson, Tyler Lydon has quickly endeared himself to Syracuse fans. The 6’8″ freshman brings energy to the floor, and isn’t afraid to dive to the floor for a loose ball. In the win over St. Bonaventure, he also displayed his outside shot, canning both of his 3-point attempts. He’s already on the NBA radar thanks to his intelligence and distance shooting ability, and should continue to blossom into a top forward throughout his collegiate years.
So while there may be a few hurdles for the Orange this season, the ingredients are there for a rise in the rankings and a potential NCAA tournament run. At the very least, Syracuse’s odds and ranking should improve next season with all of the experience their new players are getting now.