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College Basketball Preview: 14. Syracuse Orange

14. Syracuse Orange 34-3 in 2011 (17-1 Big East)

Another NBA wave has struck in Syracuse but that never seems to affect the Orange. Dion Waiters, Scoop Jardine, Kris Joseph and Fab Melo all are gone but the most important person in Syracuse returns (Jim Boeheim) and the 'Cuse still have loads of talent. Last year's dream 34-3 season and with just one loss in the stacked Big East wasn't just the four I mentioned. A national title may be out of the question, but the Orange should still be contenders whether that means an Elite Eight or an earlier exit.

Brandon Triche
Brandon Triche

Backcourt: Jardine was never a consistent threat but his loss should still be a big issue in the backcourt. Senior Brandon Triche looks to be the biggest talent now, as he can score and takes care of the ball. He is also a fantastic defender and provides a big issue for the Orange now in experience. Sophomore Michael Carter-Williams is high risk-high reward type player. He only averaged 2.7 points per game in very little minutes but has the talent to increase that to double digits. The sure plus with him is that he won't turn the ball over very much. Redshirt freshman Trevor Cooney is one of the few backcourt reserves. He can play at point and shooting guard and will contribute at both as a consistent threat.

C.J. Fair
C.J. Fair
Frontcourt: Fab Melo is a huge loss. He won't put up tons of points a game but he rebounds like a god and plays dominant defense. He also provided a huge intimidating presence that made opponents scared to enter the paint. Junior Baye Keita now will be the top rebounder and plays hard which should help the Orange compete. Another junior, C.J. Fair is a vet that should finally get the oppurtunity to shine with more minutes. He can play on the wing but does more damage inside as he can rebound and play annoying defense. Sophomore Rakeem Christmas is the Carter-Williams of the frontcourt as he could be domiant or could stuggle. He has the tools as he has the size, athleticism and smarts to be an All-Big East player. Senior James Southerland is a versatile threat that works hard and plays great defense. Freshmen Dajuan Coleman and Jerami Grant have bright futures but their are questions about whether they will do much this season.

Top NBA Prospect: Rakeem Christmas
Big East Rank: 2nd
PG Brandon Triche- Senior
SG Michael Carter-Williams- Sophomore
SF C.J. Fair- Junior
PF Baye Keita- Junior
C Rakeem Christmas- Sophomore
Sixth James Southerland- Senior

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