USA Today

Three things to watch in Friday's season opener

Three things to watch against Lehigh on Friday are:

The regular season is finally here. Syracuse tips off Friday night at the Carrier Dome against Lehigh. Here are a few things to keep an eye on during Friday's game:

Tim Kempton: The reigning Patriot League Player of the Year and 2015-16 preseason Patriot League Player of the Year will be taking the court on Friday night in Syracuse. Kempton, a 6-foot-10 power forward, averaged 15 points and 8 rebounds a year ago. Although Dajuan Coleman has looked good in his first two exhibition games, Kempton will be a legitimate test for DC. Lehigh is also returning four starters from a year ago, giving them just as much experience as the Orange.

Rotation: Exhibition games only tell us so much, especially about rotations. For example, in a 42-point win over Florida Southern last Sunday, coach Boeheim put his starters back in the game with 5 minutes to go. In a regular season game, that would never happen. Friday night will be interesting to see how much Frank Howard plays. How long will Dajuan Coleman play before Chino Obokoh gives him a breather? Will Kaleb Joseph come in at the first media timeout like Dion Waiters did every game? Also, if the game is close down the stretch, who will Jim Boeheim trust? Will he leave Malachi Richardson in the game, or substitute Kaleb Joseph in and move Michael Gbinije to small forward? 

Rebounding: In the first exhibition game against Le Moyne, Syracuse out-rebounded the Dolphins, 44-39, which isn't appealing against a D-II school. Last Sunday, Florida Southern out-rebounded the Orange, 43-40. I know it's only two exhibition games, but it is concerning. Lehigh is a much bigger team than both Le Moyne and Florida Southern. Not to mention their best player, 6-foot-10 Tim Kempton, is a strong rebounder. SU could have their hands full Friday night. 


Cuse Nation Top Stories