Jamie Shaw of On3, one of the best in t..."/> Jamie Shaw of On3, one of the best in t..."/> Jamie Shaw of On3, one of the best in t..."/>

Syracuse Basketball: Top expert predicts SU to finish in ACC’s bottom third

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

Top national analyst/scout Jamie Shaw of On3, one of the best in the business, recently published his preseason power rankings for the Atlantic Coast Conference ahead of the 2023-24 campaign, and Shaw places Syracuse basketball at No. 11 in the league’s pecking order.

I personally am higher on the ‘Cuse than Shaw, but then again, he’s a noted national expert, and I’m a proud SU alumnus who often has on Orange-colored glasses.

Still, I envision the ‘Cuse finishing around No. 6 in the ACC in the upcoming term, which officially begins in early November with Adrian Autry at the helm as the team’s first-year head coach.

Shaw and several other national pundits, of late, have forecast the Orange to hover in the bottom third of the conference standings in 2023-24.

Then again, other experts are much higher on the ‘Cuse with their preseason prognostications, cautioning us to not sleep on Syracuse basketball while projecting that the Orange is in for a bounce-back stanza after going a combined 33-32 over the last two seasons and missing the NCAA Tournament in each of those years.

Preseason projections for Syracuse basketball are all over the map.

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

To be fair, Shaw does note in his article that the ‘Cuse is among several ACC schools that have “intriguing rosters” and “could make runs at the NCAA Tournament.”

In his write-up on Syracuse basketball, Shaw discusses how the Orange’s backcourt, led by sophomore point guard Judah Mintz and sophomore combo guard J.J. Starling, is deep and versatile.

Plus, several of the team’s guards in 2023-24, including sophomores Chance Westry and Justin Taylor, can suit up at guard or at small forward out on the wing.

Shaw thinks – and I agree with him – that junior forward Benny Williams can do great things this coming season, while sophomore forward Chris Bell – another starter alongside Williams in 2022-23 – has a year in the Syracuse basketball system under his belt.

Sophomore power forward Maliq Brown, a physical player who shines on the boards, may also earn some minutes at the center spot in 2023-24. Shaw writes, “Brown should get plenty of time upfront, especially with his lengthy defensive presence.”

"The On3 national analyst/scout, in summation, says, “This team is still young, with eight sophomores in the rotation. How quickly can Autry find cohesion between his uber-talented backcourt pairing, and can the frontcourt continue moving toward their untapped potential?”"

That’s well said by Jamie. On paper, the Orange’s roster of 13 scholarship players looks really impressive, but there are numerous new faces, a ton of underclassmen, question marks at the center spot and perhaps also regarding perimeter shooting, a first-year head coach, new offensive and defensive playing styles under Autry, and a program that hasn’t made the Big Dance since 2021.

So while I personally believe that the ‘Cuse will be in the top six of the ACC in 2023-24, it’s understandable why some national experts are projecting Syracuse basketball to finish much lower.

Of course, once Orange players hit the court for official games in the coming weeks, none of these preseason predictions will mean a thing.

Next. Syracuse Basketball: ‘Cuse poised for bounce-back season, per Andy Katz. dark