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Beat writers predict Syracuse men’s basketball season record, MVP and X-Factor

first_img Published on November 4, 2018 at 8:14 pm Comments Last season, Syracuse received the final at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and rattled off three wins in five days to make the Sweet 16. This season, the expectations are higher from the start. The Orange are a consensus top-25 team across all major rankings and return all five starters, along with Elijah Hughes being eligible to play after sitting out last season.Here’s what our beat writers think the Orange will accomplish this season.Charlie DiSturcoReady for takeoffRecord: 24-7MVP: Tyus BattleX-Factor: OffenseA year removed from a Sweet 16 appearance, Syracuse returns all five of its starters — including star Tyus Battle, who’s been working on his shot all offseason. Tack on the fact that transfer Elijah Hughes and freshmen Jalen Carey and Buddy Boeheim will work into the rotation in 2018, and this SU team is ready to take that next step. It’s very rare to have a team both this experienced and deep in college basketball. While Syracuse was a very solid defensive team last year, it struggled offensively. That’s where the new additions will play a role. Hughes and Boeheim add another facet to the offense with their 3-ball — the Orange shot 31.8 percent from 3 as a whole — and Carey is a versatile point guard. There’s a lot to love about this Syracuse team, and if the SU offense can put it all together, they have the potential to make a lot of noise in the NCAA Tournament once again.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMatthew GutierrezFive-headed monsterRecord: 23-8MVP: Tyus BattleX-Factor: The BigsAll five starters back, quick guard off the bench, stellar 2-3 zone, finally some depth, blah, blah, blah. The last time SU was this hyped? Two years ago, and we all know how that season panned out. I look forward to seeing how Tyus Battle, Oshae Brissett and Frank Howard develop not so much in their ability to score — we saw them do that last season — but in how they engage their teammates. That’s the key, because we learned a year ago that three scorers aren’t enough to be consistent. Plus, can the bigs pose more of a threat in the paint? Can Syracuse generate more production off the pick-and-roll? Keep an eye there. Nonetheless, the Orange shouldn’t be overlooked with this much talent and depth. There’s a potential for a deep run come the Big Dance.Billy HeyenThe boys are backRecord: 25-6MVP: Tyus BattleX-Factor: Oshae BrissettFor a few spring months, the outlook of this season hung in the balance. Tyus Battle was involved in the NBA Draft process. But he came back. Battle should lead the Orange in scoring for the second-straight year, and Jim Boeheim expects increased depth to help SU play faster. But the difference between good and great will come down to Oshae Brissett. Does he settle in right around 15 points and nine rebounds a game, like last year? Or has he grown into a top-10 player in the ACC, someone who makes 35-plus percent of his 3-pointers and challenges to be an NBA lottery pick in June? Teams with one star — think Ben Simmons at LSU, or Markelle Fultz at Washington — rarely become memorable. Teams with two, like Carmelo Anthony and Hakim Warrick for the 2003 national champs, can be special. If Battle and Brissett both have grown, that’s exactly what this Syracuse team could be.center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more