Syracuse Basketball: SU gets unflattering ACC forecast from Jon Rothstein

Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) /

We’re fewer than four months from the start of the 2023-24 campaign for Syracuse basketball, and there is excitement in the air as first-year head coach Adrian Autry begins his tenure at the helm of the Orange.

Autry and his assistants, to me, have done a wonderful job this off-season. Sure, the ‘Cuse lost four players to the NCAA’s transfer portal, but the Orange also brought in four transfers and one 2023 three-star commit.

We won’t know how Syracuse basketball will fare on the court with Autry at the top spot, after replacing the Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim this past March, until the Orange commences its 2023-24 season by hosting New Hampshire on Monday, Nov. 6.

In the coming weeks and months, national and Atlantic Coast Conference pundits will be publishing their forecasts of the upcoming season, and one noted expert, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports, recently unveiled his ACC off-season breakdown, where he listed his predicted order of finish within the conference as well as handed out various superlatives.

Jon Rothstein is not super bullish on Syracuse basketball within the ACC in 2023-24.

Rothstein, at present, has projected the ‘Cuse to finish at No. 10 in the ACC. As a SU alumnus, I acknowledge that I often wear Orange-colored glasses, however, I also think that Rothstein may have Syracuse basketball a bit low in his ACC predictions.

Here is his full projected order of the ACC in 2023-24:
1. Duke
2. Miami
3. North Carolina
4. Virginia
5. Clemson
6. Virginia Tech
7. N.C. State
8. Florida State
9. Pittsburgh
10. Syracuse
11. Louisville
12. Wake Forest
13. Georgia Tech
14. Boston College
15. Notre Dame

For some context, the Orange in 2022-23 tied for No. 8 in the league standings with Wake Forest. The ‘Cuse was 7-4 in the non-conference, 10-10 in league play, and lost its first game in the ACC Tournament, finishing at 17-15 overall.

Miami and Virginia were co-champions of the league’s regular season, while Duke captured the ACC Tournament.

In the 2023 Big Dance, five ACC teams were selected, and they were Virginia (No. 4 seed), Duke (No. 5 seed), Miami (No. 5 seed), NC State (No. 11 seed) and Pittsburgh (No. 11 seed). Virginia lost in the round of 64, Duke lost in the round of 32, Miami fell in the Final Four, N.C. State fell in the round of 64 and Pittsburgh lost in the round of 32.

This coming term, Syracuse basketball has a lot of new faces, and no seniors on its roster, along with a new head coach. But I’d project the Orange in the No. 6 to No. 8 range within the ACC, not at No. 10.

Rothstein’s predicted starting rotation for the ‘Cuse is sophomore Judah Mintz at point guard, sophomore J.J. Starling at shooting guard, sophomore Chris Bell at small forward, junior Benny Williams at power forward and junior Naheem McLeod at center.

In mid-June, I put out my own projected starting five for the Orange, and I am in agreement with Rothstein here.

All of these sorts of preseason prognostications are purely speculative in nature, but they also provide fun debate topics. Do I think Syracuse basketball will finish higher than No. 10 in the ACC standings? I do. Does it matter that Rothstein isn’t as bullish? Not really.

As we know, what matters is how the ‘Cuse performs on the court, and Syracuse basketball players will have many chances to prove the doubters wrong in a few months.

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