Battle 4 Atlantis to test Syracuse basketball’s mettle

Syracuse will be truly tested this week

College basketball is back in full swing. And while SU has only played lesser teams thus far (and struggled at times), we just haven’t been able to see what Cuse is truly made of. And we may not until later in the season. But the upcoming Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas should provide a good litmus test of how good this team is.

They say the Bahamas are paradise, but facing fellow tourney participants UConn or Michigan and then potentially Gonzaga sounds like something I wouldn’t equate to paradise. Then SU goes home, and gets to face…Wisconsin. Then to D.C. to face…wait for it…GEORGETOWN. Then St. John’s a couple games later.

This is no easy ride. But I’d much rather face tough opponents early on than cupcakes. It should give you confidence and better experience for playing against tougher competition later on.

But now I’m looking to Thursday. Thanksgiving. A chance to gobble up either UConn (forever hated foe) or Michigan (still not forgiven for that ’13 Final Four loss).

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The sport of Thanksgiving is football. Used to be some NBA too. But now college basketball has its own footing on the holiday. So many big-name teams playing in tourneys.

We can see what SU is made of. Are the Orange young? Is the trio of Trevor Cooney, Michael Gbinije and Malachi Richardson for real? What about Tyler Roberson? Dajuan Coleman? I can’t wait to see if they step up to the plate.

One of my favorite SU teams of recent memory is the 2009-2010 team. That SU squad started the season unranked, lost to Le Moyne in the preseason, and seemed like it was going to be average.

But in its third and fourth games of the season, in the 2K Classic, the Orange demolished the favorited Cal and UNC teams. Ran them ragged. Wes Johnson showed out.

Can SU do that against UConn/Mich and maybe Gonzaga (pending results)? Unlikely. This team is less unknown than that team that came out of the woodwork. But maybe Cuse will surprise us and step up in these big games. We’ll see soon what kind of moxie SU has this year.

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About Rachel Marcus 68 Articles
Rachel is currently a Digital Production Assistant at ESPN. She has previously interned at SportsNet New York and has contributed to Dime Magazine and covered beats ranging from Big East basketball to men’s soccer for The Daily Orange. She is originally from Maryland. Follow her on Twitter @rachelnmarcus.