Our 2020-21 comprehensive Syracuse basketball preview

Jim Boeheim
18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey hosted a Sports Leadership Seminar with Jim Boeheim, Syracuse University men’s basketball head coach at the Pentagon, May 7, 2014. DoD photo by Army Staff Sgt. Sean K. Harp

The last time we saw Syracuse basketball play, it was March 11 and the Orange had just routed North Carolina, 81-53, in the ACC Tournament. A lot has changed since then both in the world and in the SU world, but with the Orange opening the season against Bryant on Friday afternoon at 3 p.m., college basketball in Central New York is officially back.

With that in mind, our Thanksgiving gift to you, our readers, is our annual comprehensive Syracuse basketball preview.

It all starts with our review of the 2019-20 season, where Syracuse finished 18-14 overall and 10-10 in conference play. Though the Orange struggled early on in the year, SU finished strong, winning four of their last six games. And with four of five starters returning from last year’s team, we break down every player on this year’s roster and note it is one of the most experienced in the ACC.

Syracuse’s schedule was finalized more this week, with the announcement of games against Rider and Niagara, to bump up the Orange’s regular season to 26 games. We analyze the entire 2020-21 Syracuse basketball schedule, and compare it to last year’s (this year’s schedule is more forgiving).

Still, the season starts with plenty of uncertainty, with the country still facing a pandemic that is only growing in numbers as the holidays get in full swing. Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim announced he tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the month, and as a result, the Orange is playing in a season unlike any other in history, writes our editor in chief, Brad Bierman.

What will the Orange’s bottom line be at season’s end? TJO associate editor Jim Stechschulte weighs in, with Syracuse likely a safe bet for the NCAA Tournament.

But don’t just take his word for it, we’ve asked some other experts in the media, and former players on our weekly podcast, The Juice on the Cuse:

  • ESPN’s John Gasaway tells us that the Orange is a lock for the tourney with “room to spare.”
  • Former Providence and Iona head coach Tim Welsh agrees, and even thinks that the Orange is a “second weekend team,” citing the experience of SU’s returning players.
  • Syracuse.com | The Post Standard’s Mike Waters says that the Orange is underrated by the national media, and he expects them to be near the top of the ACC.
  • Former SU guard and 2003 National Champion Andrew Kouwe also likes the experience, but says that an underclassmen, Quincy Guerrier, holds the key to the Orange’s success.

That should be plenty to chew on as you digest your Thanksgiving supper, and will get you fully ready and informed for the start of the Syracuse basketball season!

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The Juice Online has covered Syracuse athletics since 1992. We are members of the SNY.tv Blog Network and the ACC Digital Network.