Andrew Kouwe has been a mainstay on The Juice on the Cuse podcast since 2012, and each preseason, I always ask him for his evaluation of the team. Each time he always says the same thing: Give me 3-5 games to watch.
Now that we’re five games into the season, Andrew’s got enough data to work with, and so far, he’s excited with what he’s seen.
“I like where they’re at,” Andrew said. “They’re at a place where if you look at them now, and you when you see them in February and March, they’re going to be a much better team.”
Part of the reason why Andrew thinks there’s a lot of upside is because of SU’s two dynamic freshmen, guard Kadary Richmond and forward Woody Newton. Both have shown poise and confidence early in the season, and that will pay dividends as the Orange heads into the heart of conference play.
“I really like Richmond,” Andrew said. “He showed in the Rutgers game he’s always got his head up. He’s always looking to pass to the open player. He seems composed and doesn’t seem overwhelmed.
“Same with with Newton. He picks up things quick and he’s not scared. That’s a big thing for [Jim] Boeheim. Don’t be scared. Just play. Use your talents and let the best come from it. Those are two great freshman that will show even better come March.”
Another newcomer to Syracuse’s system that will only get better as he learns the Syracuse zone and his place in the offensive scheme is Illinois transfer Alan Griffin. He leads the team in scoring at 18.4 ppg and has cushioned the blow of losing Elijah Hughes as an early entrant in to the NBA Draft.
“He’s a scorer and he’s someone who can get his own shot,” Andrew said. “That’s someone you need for the last five minutes of the game.”
Still, while Andrew does think that Syracuse is an NCAA Tournament team, they’re not a shoo-in. It’ll come down to how well Syracuse can finish tight games, which there will be plenty of in the ACC.
“It’s going to be a nail biter until March Madness. Are we going to sneak in? I just don’t see the team as a 3 seed. They could surprise me on the upside, but they’re going to be somewhat of a bubble team,” Andrew said. “But they’re going to be getting into their pure form at the right time and you could see a really good run if they make it into March Madness no matter what seed they are.”
TJO Editor in Chief Brad Bierman then calls into to the podcast to chat about the remainder of 2020 for the Orange. They’ve got a late addition game against Northeastern on Wednesday, a home game against Buffalo and then Wake Forest and Notre Dame to close out the calendar year.
Brad closes with his thoughts on the early signing period for Dino Babers and the football team, while I chat about the five Syracuse alums in the NBA.