If that wasn't enough, I also got to see the
lineup shuffle. I counted, and Jim Boeheim used exactly 35, 316, 412 different
combinations of players. But that got a little redundant, so I've narrowed it
down for you to five main lineups
First off, a couple of assumptions I've made about the season need to be put forth:
1) I don't think Andy Rautins is going to get any playing time this year. I know Boeheim has said Rautins can help, but he always says that. Last year he said the Wrights would both play, but only Josh got any significant time. And, that was because of the Edelin situation, which I will refer to from now on as Billygate. I would say Boeheim will redshirt Rautins, but I don't think it would help him very much. The next two incoming classes are fantastic. It's a pretty tough situation for hometown Andy, but it doesn't change the fact the team is too talented for him to play as a freshman.
Devendorf and Onuaku are both ready to play, although
somehow I see Devendorf taking too many shots and getting in Boeheim's doghouse
at some point in the season. I also see him as a change of pace guy off the
bench who can score. That's something
3) In almost every lineup except the ones where they are both on the court, McCroskey and Nichols are going to be interchangeable. This doesn't mean they are going to play equal time. It just means they essentially play the same role on the team when the alternative lineups are on the floor. So whoever is playing well, will play more. The only caveat to this is when foul trouble comes and Nichols has to play for rebounding purposes. So to save confusion, and also because I love nicknames (they're fun), I will refer to the two as NicCroskey when they are interchangeable.
So if I'm wrong about any of those assumptions, then I could be wrong about the lineups. But what the hell, I'm a columnist. I get paid to be wrong. Anyway, without further ado, the 2005-2006 Syracuse lineups:
The Starting Veteran Lineup: Watkins, Roberts, Nichols, McCroskey, and McNamara
Comments: This is your money lineup for the
year. Defensively it's probably the best zone
Also, another problem with this unit is going to be foul trouble. There will be four or five games when Terrence Roberts goes on one of his famous tangents where he gets three fouls in 11 seconds. We've all seen it happen. It happened in the exhibition game. It's going to happen again. Watkins can also get in trouble quick too if he's not careful.
The Gerry Can't Play Point Guard Tonight Lineup: Wright, McNamara, NicCroskey, Roberts, and Watkins.
McNamara had to play point the entire season last year because Billygate prevented Wright from developing. So one in every two or three games Gerry wouldn't look like himself. He would force passes. He would take too many shots. A lot of those games were when he had to play Saturday-Monday games with only a day of rest in between. He was tired. This year Gerry doesn't have to do that.
He needs to be on the floor, but he doesn't have
to always play point guard because Josh Wright is ready to play. Wright's quick
and for the most part makes good decisions, although his bad ones could stop the
pacemakers of some of the old guys in the Booster Club. Overall though, he
should be able to contribute. Offensively this improves
Defensively, it makes
The We Need Some Offense Right Away Lineup: Devendorf, McNamara, NicCroskey, Roberts, Watkins
This is what Eric Devendorf does. He brings a
change of pace off the bench. The kid can score on the move or drop an open
shot. Most importantly he creates. It's something the team will need when it
plays teams with a solid guard to shutdown McNamara. Don't get me wrong, Gerry
is awesome. I like him as much as any
Now that Hakim Warrick has graduated, you can
count on virtually every team
The Gorma-Riffic Soon To Be Nichols Playing Power Forward Lineup: Gorman to start the season then Nichols, McNamara, McCroskey, Devendorf or Wright, and Watkins.
Here's the thing about Matt Gorman. I like the
kid. I really do, and I feel bad for him. He just doesn't have the athleticism
or the game to get significant time at a place like
Anyway, I figure he will start the year off
as the guy Boeheim puts in when Roberts gets in foul trouble. I'm not sure, but
I get the feeling Boeheim thinks he owes Gorman at least a chance for all the
work he put in over his year off. Slowly, however, Boeheim will weed him out of
the lineup because he is ineffective. This is the guy who scored no points
against St. Rose in an exhibition. Do you really think he can do anything
against a team like
Instead, Boeheim will go with a smaller lineup featuring Nichols at power forward, McCroskey at the three, and one of the younger guys in the backcourt with Gerry. It could hurt him as he gets into the Big East to have to rely on a lineup this small. Knowing Roberts tendency to get into foul trouble, this is a scary thought during the Big East schedule.
The Arinze I Can't Say Your Last Name Correctly lineup: Onuaku, Roberts, Nichols, McCroskey, and McNamara.
When you see Watkins get in foul trouble, or even
playing poorly, Onuaku will come in. He is a good defensive presence, and can
finish an open dunk. You don't need much more from your center in
Onuaku also bears a striking resemblance to Otis Hill. He's not the tallest guy on the court, but he is thick. The guy is just a huge human being. Look for him to have a similar career to Hill. By the way, I may start calling him Baby Otis just for fun.
Each of these lineups has some weak and strong
points, but fortunately