SU Basketball Preview: Season Predictions

Scout.com experts, the CuseNation.com staff, former players, recruits and alumni prediction Syracuse basketball's 2014-15 regular season record.

Expert Predictions

Mike McAllister, CuseNation.com Publisher: 22-9 – Syracuse will struggle early, but develop chemistry as the season goes along. It is always tough to replace a lot of production, but never has head coach Jim Boeheim had to replace as much as he lost in the offseason. Kaleb Joseph will run the show just fine and Chris McCullough will become a big time threat later in the season. Rakeem Christmas is the leader of this team and will have a big year. Expect some early season struggles, but a team that is playing well heading into postseason play.

Evan Daniels, Scout.com National Basketball Recruiting Analyst: 23-8 – The biggest question surrounding Syracuse is the point guard position. They didn't expect to lose Tyler Ennis after a year and weren't full prepared to do so. Freshman Kaleb Joseph is going to be asked to do a lot and if he can step in seamlessly, they do have a lot of talent around.

Michael Castellano, CuseNation.com: 23-8 – The 2014-15 version of Syracuse’ non-conference schedule doesn’t feature as many prominent names as in years past. The Orange will play three opponents outside of the ACC who are currently ranked in the preseason top 25 including a December 2nd matchup with the Michigan Wolverines as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The two teams last met in the 2013 Final Four. In the ACC the Orange’s schedule isn’t any easier. Road match ups at Duke, North Carolina, and Pittsburgh will make things even rougher on a young Orange team. With the Orange in lack of a proven go to scorer who can get to the rim a 25-game winning streak this season is unlikely. But with a strength of schedule rank of 63 the Orange should rack up another 20-plus win season. As far as the ACC goes, like Syracuse, many teams will rely on freshman to lead their respective squads. My only concern is will the Orange’s youth have had gone through enough high-pressure type situations before conference play begins? Only time will tell.

Josh Carney, CuseNation.com: 22-9 - Coming into Jim Boeheim’s 38th year at the helm of the Syracuse basketball program, a lot of questions surround the program, at least off the court. On the court, the big question every keeps asking is if freshman point guard Kaleb Joseph can replace Tyler Ennis’ production from a year ago. The short answer? Most likely. However, other guys need to step up for the Orange to be successful yet again this season. Junior guard Trevor Cooney has to take on more of a scoring load, namely getting to the basket so that teams can’t just guard the jump shot. Senior center Rakeem Christmas must stay out of early foul trouble and learn to dominate at both ends of the floor this season. Sophomore forward Tyler Roberson must learn to take smart shots and hustle at both ends, or he’ll wind up getting berated by Boeheim more often than not this season. Add in Joseph and the other freshman sensation, Chris McCullough, and the Orange has a ton of question marks. However, Boeheim’s been around a long time, so SU fans should trust him when it comes to building a solid team.

John Garcia Jr., Scout.com Recruiting Analyst: 21-10 - Syracuse is going through a major transition in personnel and typically things take a while to get going offensively under Jim Boeheim. The defense will account for easy wins early on. The non-conference and conference schedule will provide plenty of speed bumps where we will learn plenty about the team. Later in the season, when freshmen have to contribute like Chris McCullough and Kaleb Joseph, will be as good as advertised. The Orange will peak at the right time.

Alumni Predictions

Jayson Stark, ESPN.com Senior Baseball Writer: 23-8 – Sweet sixteen.

John Wallace, former SU forward and NBA vet: 31-0 – I’m so jaded I think every year we can win the championship. (I’ll) never forget my freshman year we lost to Boston College. I was devastated because I thought we were going undefeated.

Terrence Roberts, former SU forward: 24-7 – From what I’ve seen so far I’d say we will probably have 23/24 wins at the end of the regular season. For sure we are getting to 20 wins.

Recruit Predictions

Tyler Lydon, 2015 4-star Syracuse commit: 31-0!

Franklin Howard, 2015 4-star Syracuse commit: 31-0 – Can only think about wins.


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