Syracuse closed its four-game exhibition swing through Italy with a 82-42 win over Virtus Roma on Sunday to finish a perfect 4-0. With the preseason games now in the books, it’s time to look back on what we learned from those games.
THE RISE OF SIDIBE
Syracuse center Bourama Sidibe has had a frustrating two first years with the Orange. He was limited by knee injuries in his first two years, averaging just 2.7 points and 3.2 rebounds in 12.4 minutes a game in his freshman year, and his sophomore year was actually a step back.
Last year, Sidibe found himself mostly out of the rotation at the end of the season, and registered 1.9 ppg and 2.7 rpg in 10.1 minutes.
But Sidibe finally appears to be healthy, and it showed in Italy. He looked active, mobile and agile anchoring the zone, averaging 12 rebounds through the four games, including 17 rebounds in the preseason tour finale against Virtus Roma, a 82-42 win.
One of the biggest questions in the offseason is how Syracuse would find production from the center position with Paschal Chukwu moving on. Sidibe, a four-star recruit out of high school, could be that answer, and he could also give the Orange a legitimate low-post presence, something SU has lacked since Rakeem Christmas.
This play just happened: Quincy threw the ball to Bourama in the post. Bourama, with a guy on his back, tossed it out to Brycen Goodine, who just drained an open 3.
It’s 48-18 Syracuse.
Yes, you read that correctly.
— Donna Ditota (@DonnaDitota1) August 14, 2019
Quincy Guerrier looks like he’ll be ready to shoulder big time minutes.
With Marek Dolezaj unable to play because of a finger injury, Guerrier stepped into the starting lineup, and played the most minutes of all the freshmen during the trip.
He proved that he can be a three-level scorer, and capping off the trip with a 14-point, 12-rebound performance. Guerrier showed a consistent motor throughout the exhibition games, finishing as SU’s second-leading rebounder behind Sidibe.
Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim will have some interesting decisions to make in the coming months, including who he will start. Dolezaj has experience and was playing starter minutes toward the end of the 2019 season. But he’s also been accustomed to coming off the bench, and Guerrier appears ready for the spotlight.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF OFFENSE
Syracuse’s offense will be more exciting to watch this season.
With more limited options in the past two years, the Orange was resigned to walk the ball up and milk the clock in a half-court set. It appears this year’s edition of the Orange will not take after its two predecessors.
For one, Syracuse will look to get out on the fast break as much as possible. Point guards Jalen Carey and Brycen Goodine looked to push the pace as much as possible, resulting in SU averaging a shade over 92 points per game and 15.7 assists per game.
With more outside shooting options, the Orange will also rely more on the 3-point shot. Goodine, Guerrier, Joe Girard, Robert Braswell, Elijah Hughes and Buddy Boeheim are all capable shooters, and in the four games, Syracuse averaged nearly 35 3-point attempts per contest.