Syracuse basketball ‘has real upside’ to make run in Big Dance, per expert

Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) /
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A national writer, in a recent article, assesses the chances of Syracuse basketball and other teams with first-year head coaches to make the NCAA Tournament at the end of the 2023-24 season.

Isaac Trotter of 247Sports looked at 12 high-major programs with new head coaches, including the Orange, and broke them down into contenders, dark horses and long shots as it relates to their 2024 Big Dance hopes.

The ‘Cuse begins its 2023-24 campaign, with head coach Adrian Autry having taken the reins from Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim, on Monday, Nov. 6, as Syracuse basketball will face New Hampshire at the JMA Wireless Dome.

Trotter labels the Orange as a “dark horse” to earn an invite to the 2024 NCAA Tournament, following a two-year absence from March Madness for the ‘Cuse, although he does have some positive things to say about Autry and his roster for the upcoming stanza.

A national expert weighs in on Syracuse basketball and next spring’s Big Dance.

In his article, Trotter touches on various topics as it pertains to the Orange, and those topics are familiar to Syracuse basketball fans.

One is how Autry is going to change up the team’s playing styles from what Boeheim was often known for, and this includes utilizing a man-to-man defense, having multiple play-making guards/wings on the floor at the same time, pushing the ball out in transition, and playing at an up-tempo pace.

Trotter talks about how the ‘Cuse backcourt has loads of talent, led by sophomore point guard Judah Mintz and sophomore guard J.J. Starling, the Central New York native who spent his freshman term at Notre Dame.

Autry and his assistants brought back junior forward Benny Williams, as well as all six of the squad’s 2022 signees. While the Orange did lose several guys to the transfer portal, namely center Jesse Edwards to West Virginia and guard Joe Girard III to Clemson, the ‘Cuse brought in four transfers of its own in Starling, junior center Naheem McLeod from Florida State, sophomore guard Chance Westry from Auburn, and redshirt sophomore guard Kyle Cuffe Jr. from Kansas.

While Westry is out indefinitely due to a lower-body injury, Syracuse basketball still possesses strong depth in the backcourt and also at other position groups, as Trotter notes.

"I like what the 247Sports national writer said here. “If Kansas transfer Kyle Cuffe pops and Auburn defector Chance Westry can get healthy, Syracuse has real upside to be far more than just a NCAA Tournament team. … The ACC is begging for another team to join Duke, North Carolina, Miami, Clemson and Virginia. There’s no excuse for Syracuse to not fight its way into the mix.”"

I wholeheartedly agree with Trotter’s last statement.

Next. Syracuse Basketball: Judah Mintz is angry, ready to shut up the naysayers. dark