Cardiac Hill Big East Basketball Previews: Syracuse Orange

Michael Ivins-US PRESSWIRE

Returnees: Despite losing four instrumental players from a 34-3 squad, the Orange look primed to be a top ten team yet again. The success from the 2012 team was built on depth, and some of those role players will now be starters. Brandon Triche is perhaps the most important returning player for the Orange. He is a senior guard that has played in plenty of big games, and will be asked to do a lot for a relatively younger team. Michael Carter-Williams will join him in the backcourt. Carter-Williams was a touted prospect, but was low on the depth chart for a deep Syracuse team. He will have a chance to show off his ability on this team.

The Orange like to use size and length to bolster their signature 2-3 zone defense, and they have plenty of it on this year's team. C.J, Fair is a 6-8 small forward that plays tough defense, and could end up leading the team in scoring. Rakeem Christmas is another highly recruited sophomore ready to make an impact this season, and should hold down the power forward spot. James Southerland will be an excellent 6th man because his 6-8 frame allows him to do a little bit of everything.

Newcomers: Jim Boeheim can always recruit high end talent, and this year is no different. Dajuan Coleman is a 6-9 post player that has drawn some comparisons to Jared Sullinger and DeJuan Blair. He is expected to make a huge impact and be the man in the middle of the zone. Jerami Grant is a 6-7 wing that was a high school teammate of Pitt's James Robinson at DeMatha High School. Grant was highly sought after, and could catch some minutes this season. Trevor Cooney redshirted last season, but should add depth to the guard position.

Final Outlook: Syracuse appears to be a consensus top ten team everywhere you look. They have experienced players and terrific young talent to form a solid all around team. This should be a pretty good farewell tour in the Big East from one of its charter members. Syracuse has the talent to compete at the top of the league and make a deep run in March.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics.

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