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Cardiac Hill ACC Preview: #6 Syracuse Orange

Syracuse is our sixth ranked team in our ACC preview countdown.

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Coach - Jim Boeheim (38 Seasons at Syracuse, 948-319 record, 1 National Championship)

Arena - Carrier Dome (35,446 capacity)

2013-14 Record - 28-6 (14-4 ACC) Lost to Dayton 55-53 in NCAA Third Round

Games with Pitt - @ Pitt Saturday, February 7 4:00 // @ Syracuse Saturday February 21  12:00

Top Returning Players (Italics = projected starter)

-- Trevor Cooney 6'4" JR SG   12.1 PPG  1.9 SPG

-- Rakeem Christmas 6'9" SR PF  5.8 PPG  5.1 RPG

-- DaJuan Coleman 6'8" JR C   4.3 PPG  4.2 RPG

-- Michael Gbinije 6'7" JR SF   3.4 PPG

Impact Newcomers

-- Chris McCullough 6'10" FR PF #19 Overall Recruit on Rivals

-- Kaleb Jospeh 6'2" FR PG #46 Overall Recruit on Rivals

The Scoop - Syracuse loses three of their top four scorers off a team that was not very deep in the first place. The Orange will plug the holes with some talented freshmen, but they will likely not go very deep off the bench again this season. Syracuse has put together some very good teams in the regular season recently, only for them to run out of gas later in the year. The hope for Syracuse would be to not hit their stride too early and peak at the right time.

The departure of Tyler Ennis is a huge one, but true freshman Kaleb Joseph will assume his role, and will be asked to do a lot of the same things. It remains to be seen if he can compare to Ennis, but Boeheim is trusting a newcomer for a second straight year. Trevor Cooney is a good outside shooter, and will be one of their first scoring options this season after being a complementary one in years past.

The post game will mostly be handled by Rakeem Christmas and Chris McCullough. Christmas is a veteran that needs to take a jump this season, and McCullough is among the higher rated freshmen in the country. DaJuan Coleman and Tyler Roberson should be able to provide depth. The big question will be who handles the scoring on the wing spot left open by CJ Fair.  Michael Gbinije should get the first look, but sophomore B.J. Johnson could factor in, too.

Final Outlook - A lot of this season hinges on the impact of the two freshmen. Losing Ennis, Fair, and Jerami Grant is a tough blow, but Jim Boeheim goes through those kind of departures all the time. He seemingly always finds a way to remain in contention for a conference championship.  I think Syracuse has some question marks, but the talent should answer them in time. In most leagues, they may be ranked higher than this, but it shows the depth of the ACC this year.

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