Something felt different about Syracuse’s win last weekend over Georgetown. It wasn’t just that the Orange won for the first time in three tries against its former Big East rival. It wasn’t just an exciting, early-in-the-season overtime game.
Maybe it was the fact that this year’s Cuse team went into the year as an unknown with limited expectations. Maybe it was the fact that the Orange were still expected to beat a Hoyas team that faced a soft nonconference schedule – but made the game closer than expected.
Regardless of the reason, the win over Georgetown (St. Bonaventure loss aside) was one of the best “feel-good” wins in recent Cuse history, alongside Duke last year and the Final Four run the year before. To me, this team has a similar vibe to the 2009-2010, 2013-2014 and 2015-2016 teams. This team can be sneaky good.
Cuse’s M.O. in recent years has been to go into a season with little expectations and just shock everyone. Now, it’s hard to predict a season this early on. And it’s certainly hard to say how good or bad SU is before ACC play starts.
Let them continue to be unranked. It won’t last long if SU keeps winning. Better to be without pressure and just play your game. We know it only matters where you stand in the end.
This team doesn’t have typical veteran leadership. Its best two guys have been a sophomore, Tyus Battle, who is potentially off to the NBA after this season, and freshman Oshae Brissett who, if he keeps up his sterling play, could be gone before we know it too. Junior guard Frank Howard, the elder statesmen of this team, has looked solid, too.
Add in all seven feet and two inches of Pascal Chukwu, the transfer who is finally seeing major minutes, and the energy from freshman Matthew Moyer, and the rotation looks promising.
Like any young team, this one will have its missteps like Syracuse’s overtime loss to the Bonnies. But I can honestly say I’m excited to see what happens in ACC play. This team has a high ceiling based off individual efforts I’ve seen this year. Watching Battle play is an event in and of itself. Cuse hasn’t had a scorer like him in a while.
On December 31st, ACC play starts. Then we’ll see if this team can hang. I’m confident they can.