Syracuse will play two exhibition games in the next week against Daemen (Oct. 26) and Carleton (Oct. 29) before beginning the 2019-20 regular season in November. Here’s three things to look out for during these two games:
HOW FAST WILL SYRACUSE PLAY?
It’s no secret that last year, Syracuse’s offense was difficult to watch, and the stats bear that out.
Syracuse finished a dismal 257th in the NCAA in adjusted tempo according to KemPom, the result of having limited scoring options and lack of creativity from its point guards.
That figures to change this year. With Jalen Carey and Brycen Goodine replacing Frank Howard at point guard, the Orange will look to push the pace more.
Even in its offensive sets, SU will be relying more on the 3-pointer more with the return of sharpshooters Buddy Boeheim and Elijah Hughes and the additions of Joe Girard and Goodine.
It will be interesting to see how Syracuse pushes the pace in its two exhibition games.
WILL SYRACUSE SPREAD THE WEALTH?
In a similar vein, watch out for who will be scoring those points.
Last year, SU got most of its scoring from its “Big 3” of Tyus Battle, Oshae Brissett and Hughes, with help from Howard and Boeheim.
This year, Syracuse should have more offensive options. Aside from the players mentioned above, Syracuse also welcomes back Marek Dolezaj, who shot 37 percent from 3-point land in his sophomore season, and highly touted freshman Quincy Guerrier, who showed he was a three-level scorer in SU’s exhibition swing through Italy.
Add that to a (finally) healthy Bourama Sidibe and the Orange could have seven or eight players who can score in double figures on any given night.
And there’s the potential a “death lineup” with Dolezaj at center when Syracuse can put five players on the floor with the potential to shoot better than 35 percent from beyond the arc.
WHICH GUARDS WILL MAKE THE ROTATION?
One final thing to watch out for is how head coach Jim Boeheim uses his backcourt rotation.
He has a glut there, with Carey, Boeheim, Goodine, Girard and Howard Washington all vying for minutes. Boeheim figures to be in a good position to play big minutes, especially given how well he shot the ball during ACC play last year.
Goodine was impressive during the Italy tour, and will likely push Carey for playing time at point guard, especially if Carey struggles with ball control and shooting.
That leaves Girard and Washington. Jim Boeheim has rarely used four guards during his SU tenure. The most recent team that comes to mind is the 2011-12 team, when Dion Waiters, Michael-Carter Williams, Brandon Triche and Scoop Jardine all played at the start of the year.
But by season’s end, Carter-Williams was the odd man out, and he ended up playing only 26 games and 269 minutes that year.