Syracuse basketball kicked of its 2022-23 campaign on Monday with a 90-72 win over Lehigh. While it was only one game, there were plenty of takeaways from the game.
For starters, the Orange opened in man-to-man defense, something Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim vowed he would do during the preseason. It makes a significant departure from over 10 years of precedent, as Boeheim has coached an entirely zone team since the 2009-10 year.
Another thing that will change for him this season? His rotation. Boeheim has won many of his, ahem, 1,100 games by sticking to a tight seven-man rotation, but that appears not to be the case this season as he played five different players at wing, a backup center and a backup guard against the Mountain Hawks.
We chatted extensively about Syracuse’s opening win with Syracuse.com’s Mike Waters on this week’s The Juice on the Cuse Podcast, presented by SNY.tv. Mike breaks down how often Syracuse will come out of the zone, and also what he foresees the rotation being against more competitive teams. We also chatted about the Orange’s backcourt, which enjoyed a stand-out opening game, and Mike also gives his predictions for how the season will go.
While Mike predicted on Syracuse.com that the Orange will ultimately win 18 games in the regular season and likely miss out on the NCAA Tournament for a second straight year, there’s of course hope that SU can be on the right side of the bubble come March. Syracuse will need a ‘clean sheet,’ meaning they can’t lose games like they did to Colgate last year, and they’ll also need to pick up some Quad 1 wins before the season ends. While the path is more narrow because the Orange’s strength of schedule is weaker than it’s been in recent years, there are still opportunities to make their case to the committee.
“Syracuse is going to have to have a clean sheet on its schedule, where they don’t have any bad losses, and at some point, they have to pick up a few quality wins. Even at that, you’ll still be on the bubble. But you might be on the good side of the bubble instead of the bad side.”
You can listen to our whole conversation by following “The Juice on the Cuse Podcast,” a Syracuse Orange podcast, by subscribing to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.