The CuseNation.com staff is counting down the top five moments from Syracuse basketball's 2015-16 season. Here is pick number five according to Mike McAllister and Ben Sigel.
McAllister: Battle 4 Atlantis
The first real glimpse we got that this Syracuse team could play with some of the nation's best was in the Bahamas. The wins over UConn and Texas A&M were huge victories at the time, and turned out to be big reasons why they made the NCAA Tournament. During the event, Syracuse shot lights out, played strong defense, and beat teams with more size and depth inside.
Tyler Lydon had a coming out party, earning the praises of Jay Bilas during the ESPN broadcast. Malachi Richardson, Michael Gbinije and Trevor Cooney all shot well, which led to the victories. Looking back on the season, the run was almost a precursor to what the Orange would do in the postseason.
Sigel: Jim Boeheim's return
It's not the most appealing choice, especially because Jim Boeheim's return to the Syracuse bench was an 84-73 loss to North Carolina, but it changed the season. It changed the outlook of the season. Before Boeheim was suspended, the Orange was 6-1 with two wins over top 25 teams. When he returned to a 10-6 overall record, 0-3 in the ACC.
SU went on to win eight of its next ten games, improving to 18-8 overall, 8-5 in ACC play, and legitimized itself as an NCAA Tournament team. Having the Hall of Fame coach back on the sideline helped this team, and their reported meeting at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, January 6th was a message to everyone: It's now our never to turn this season around -- and the Orange did just that.