Mike McAllister: I see Syracuse going 20-11 this regular season. I like the versatility and talent on the roster and they could surprise some people. During the non-conference schedule, they have an opportunity to play some strong opponents and build their resume. I expect them to win several of those. The ACC slate is challenging, with a lot of difficult road games. They play at Pittsburgh, at Miami, at Duke, at North Carolina, at Virginia, at Louisville and at Florida State. That is quite a task. Still, this Orange squad will be talented and pack a lot of offensive punch. I worry about their defense without a shot blocker in the middle of the zone. But a 20 win regular season is likely in my opinion, and they should make the NCAA Tournament with at least one win in the ACC Tournament.
Lindsey Horsting: 20-11 – this is just above their record last year, and although they are a different team this year, so is every other team in the ACC. This prediction is based on their inside presence, foul shooting, and their top freshmen recruits. More teams in the ACC boast centers at 7’0’’ so establishing the inside presence is going to be key. Syracuse has height, but depending on how effectively they use it will determine their success this season. With the loss of their number one shot-blocker Rakeem Christmas and having Dajuan Coleman coming back after multiple knee injuries they don’t really have a solid go-to post player. Chinonso Obokoh is prepared to step in and fill that spot, but with a lack of experience will he have the confidence? The more minutes he gets, the better he will be. They’ve got the shooters, but they need someone down low to open it up for guards to get shots off.
Zachary Francis: 21-10 (10-8 ACC) – This season could be one of many ups and downs for the Orange. With Coach Boeheim sitting out the first nine ACC games, that spells trouble, especially with some big, early season conference match-ups including North Carolina and Duke. Some big question marks are going to have to be answered early to have much success this year. Is Gbinije really the guy to run this team? With such a thin post presence, can Coleman finally stay healthy to eat up space in the middle? How will the short bench play out as the season unfolds? For Syracuse to have a chance at the ACC title or NCAA tournament, the Orange are going to have to play better than expected without Boeheim on the sidelines early in the conference season.
Tim Ferguson:This is a season of unknowns in many ways for the Orange. With the loss of Rakeem Christmas graduating, there are some hold overs such as Trevor Cooney, Michael Gbinijie, Tyler Roberson and Kaleb Joseph. However, there is no star returner or incoming freshmen that has proven to have the “wow factor” thus far. Head Coach Jim Boeheim will miss the first nine ACC games this season, unless the NCAA is to settle on an abridged version of the suspension. This will give Assistant Coach Mike Hopkins an opportunity to finally be at the helm of the team in preparation for his succession in 2017. Projecting the mindset of the team and coaching staff during that time period is hard to decipher in the pre-season, but will be a factor in some fashion heading into conference play. The ACC does not possess the big player names of last year (or at least we have not heard of them yet), as was the case with teams like Duke, Louisville, and Notre Dame. So, Syracuse could be the sleeper team of sorts that finds themselves in the mix a top the league. A solid record for the ‘Cuse in the ACC would be 11-7, due to the fact that many of their road match-ups are tall tests. It appears that 10-3 would be substantial in the non-conference schedule, leaving SU with an overall record of 21-10. This could get them anywhere from #6-11 seed in the NCAA tournament, notwithstanding ACC Tournament success, which would most likely put them out of the East Region or part of First Four in Dayton.
Ben Sigel: As I said on the ‘Cuse Corner podcast, I have Syracuse going 21-10. I think the Orange will surprise some people, but still don’t have all the pieces to be a legitimate threat in the ACC. Next year, however, should be a different story. I think Syracuse will go 2-1 at the Battle 4 Atlantis and lose at Georgetown. That being said, having an 11-2 record heading into conference play would be tremendous. Anything can happen, but I believe the Orange will go 10-8 in the ACC regular season. Syracuse will split with Pittsburgh, lose both to North Carolina, lose at Duke, vs. Notre Dame, vs. North Carolina State, at Louisville and at Virginia. 10-8 in the ACC should be good enough for a six or seven seed, meaning the Orange should win one or two games in the ACC Tournament. I do expect Syracuse to make the NCAA Tournament.