Syracuse Basketball: What we’re hoping for in 2021 for hoops, other sports

As it pertains to Syracuse basketball and other ‘Cuse sports, so long, 2020.

Syracuse basketball still has plenty of games remaining in its current campaign, but I think that I can speak for every Orange fan out there in saying 2020 was downright awful, and let’s hope for better things in the coming year.

More importantly than any ‘Cuse sport, the novel coronavirus pandemic has sadly claimed so many lives and upended so many families. My fingers are crossed that the vaccines help – and fast – but we’re not out of this pandemic yet. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

Now, in keeping the conversation from here on out in this column solely focused on Orange athletics, 2020 was, by and large, certainly one to forget.

Syracuse football, stung by injuries, opt-outs and really poor play, went an abysmal 1-10. The team has a solid 2021 recruiting class arriving on the Hill, and I’m hopeful that the ‘Cuse can land five or six victories in the next term.

The men’s lacrosse squad ended last spring, in a season cut short by the pandemic, ranked No. 1 in the country. Expectations are high in 2021, although reportedly there have been some not-so-positive rumblings within the program of late. We’ll have to see how this plays out.

I’m optimistic that numerous other Orange teams, including women’s basketball and women’s lacrosse, are primed for strong stanzas in 2021. While the Syracuse basketball women’s squad has suffered a loss and some game postponements, I remain a big believer that this team will make a ton of noise in March Madness.

How Syracuse basketball will fare in the new year is anybody’s guess.

This brings us to the men’s hoops squad. The Orange has just one blemish on its resume to date, and that was on the road to highly rated Rutgers minus two of its starters.

Syracuse basketball has barely escaped a handful of foes, like Bryant, Northeastern and Buffalo. The ‘Cuse drastically needs to fine-tune its defense in the 2-3 zone, as well as regain its mojo from beyond the arc.

The Orange, which has been on pause due to Covid-19 protocols twice since mid-November, is aiming to get back to practice soon, with its next scheduled contest at home on Wednesday, Jan. 6, versus a top-25 Florida State team.

Its most recent Atlantic Coast Conference affairs against Notre Dame, Wake Forest and North Carolina were all postponed. How Syracuse basketball will perform versus the Seminoles, and others, after having missed so many practices remains unclear.

But what I am hopeful for is that the ‘Cuse, following a sub-par 18-14 in 2019-20, will get on a roll starting in January and ultimately hear its name called on Selection Sunday a few months from now. Adios, 2020.