My 2022-3 SU Basketball Preview - Non-Conference Games | Syracusefan.com

My 2022-3 SU Basketball Preview - Non-Conference Games

SWC75

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Here is a link to the SU basketball schedule: 2022-23 Men's Basketball Schedule - Syracuse University Athletics
I’ll just refer you to that rather than putting dates and times here, as I have in the past, because they are subject to change. I’ll just talk about the teams, dividing it into three groups: the non-conference games, the conference teams we play twice and the conference teams we play once.

Exhibitions:

INDIANA (PA) is a DII powerhouse. They went 33-3 last year and lost in the Elite 8 of the DII tournament. They opened that season by losing at Illinois 79-94 and played DII teams the rest of the way, including LeMoyne, who they blew out 106-67. We beat them 83-65 in 2016 and that was a 28-4 team. Coach Joe Lombardi last had a losing record in 2007-08. Since then, he’s 349-69 and won a national title in 2010. But they are rebuilding. The sole returning starter, 6-8 220 Ethan Porterfield, averaged 16.8p 7.2r. They lack size, Porterfield being the biggest guy on the roster who played any substantial minutes.

Update: We beat IUP 86-68 after trailing 32-33 at the half. The first half it was a group of talented players playing their first competitive game against a very good D2 team that played an excellent match-up zone but had trouble adjusting their shot to the Dome before they started hitting them just before the half. The Red Hawks built up a 47-54 lead when suddenly it all started to make sense for our young players and SU went on a 16 point run to take control of the game. Our defense and rebounding improved. Judah Mintz got hot and Benny Williams really hit the boards. We started to find Jesse Edwards and no one player on IUP could guard him.

As to the new guys, Mintz was talented but undisciplined and didn’t look for his teammates enough. He scored 14 points but had only 1 assist and 3 turnovers in 32 minutes. Copeland was a facilitator who could get the ball to people in ways the defense never imagined. He had 5 points, 1 rebound and 2 assists in 17 minutes but kept the ball moving. Taylor was a hard worker who can shoot. He scored 7 points, pulled down 3 rebounds and had an assist, a steal and a block in 17 minutes. Chris (Bunch) Bell was terrible, missing 8 of 9 shots. Maliq Brown played only 8 minutes but had 4 points and 4 rebounds and played strong defense. Peter Carey also played 8 minutes and his only stat was a foul.

SOUTHERN NEW HAMPSHIRE was 13-11 last year and lost to LeMoyne 72-77. They didn’t play anyone in DI. Their historical record is up-and-down. They have not won 20 games or made the DII tournament since 2017. They have even less size than IUP, nobody over 6-7. They have two starters back: 6-3 Matt Becht (14.9p 4.5r) and 6-1 Noah Kamba (10.0p 3.5r 2.5a).

Update: St. John's beat these guys 82-41. We seemed on our way to do that when it was 36-14 with 7:45 left in the first half. The rest of the game was 36-44 - to a mediocre division II team. I'll give SNHU some credit: they played a very aggressive man-to-man and kept in our guys faces and collapsed on any drivers in the paint to choke off their drive. But if they can do that, anybody we play can do that to us.

Jesse Edwards dunked with 3:26 left in the first half. Symir Torrence hit a trey with 13:50 left in the second half. During the 9 minutes and 36 seconds in between those shots we were in full 0-31 mode, not scoring a basket and getting outscored by 9-16, including an 0-9 run from 2:38 left in the first half to 17:18 left in the second, a scoreless streak of 5 minutes and 20 seconds against SFNHU! (you can figure it out).

Our offense seems to consist of jacked up treys by non-shooters and one-on-5 drives to the basket. We got out-hustled for rebounds and loose balls. The 'Penmen' were hitting TJ Sorrentine shots. Our players had no sense of urgency. We scraped together enough late baskets to avoid disaster but, really that just plastered over this disaster of a performance. ('The Plaster of Disaster')


Games that count in their record:

LEHIGH was 11-19 last year. They lost to Rutgers 70-73, Virginia 43-61 and Maryland 55-76. They were supposed to play us but it was canceled by Covid. They were a young team, (two members of the league all-rookie team), and made the conference tourney semis. They beat Colgate 85-81 but later lost to them 62-78 and 61-81 in the tournament. They have three returning starters: 6-6 Evan Taylor (13.0p 5.8r), 6-4 Keith Higgins (9.0p), 6-2 Tyler Whitney-Sydney (6.1p). 6-8 230 Dominic Parlin (4.3p, 3.9r) is their biggest returnee but they have brought in 6-8 230 Emanuel ‘Bube’ Monah and 6-9 240 Henri Adiassa.

COLGATE was 23-12 last year and whipped our whiney butts, 85-100 for the first time since Kennedy was President. They’ve been to three of the last four NCAA tournaments and are 54-12 in the Patriot League over that time. They return three starters with real size: 6-5 210 Tucker Richardson (12.7p 5.7r), 6-10 250 Keegan Records (9.9p 6.2r, 54 blocks) and 6-6 220 Ryan Moffatt (9.8p 4.8r). 6-11 270 Jeff Woodward (6.4p, 4.1r) and 6-9 220 Sam Thomson (2.7p 2.0r) come off the bench. They could do it again if we haven’t found our ‘A’ game yet.

NORTHEASTERN was 9-22 last year. They lost to Colgate 58-65 but also beat them 74-69. They beat Mounir Hima’s terrible Duquesne team, 71-55. They were 6-5 when Covid hit. After that they lost 17 of 20. They return their entire front line, all of whom are 6-7: 220 pound Jahmyl Telfort (12.6p 2.9r), 240 pound Chris Dougherty (11.8p 8.9r), and 220 pound Coleman Stuke.

RICHMOND was 24-13 last year and beat Iowa in a 12-5 game in the NCAA tourney. (We have a history with the Itsy Bitsy Spiders, too.) They return two starters, including 6-7 215 Tyler Burton (16.1p7.7r). The other is 6-5 Andre Gustavson (just 4.5p 2.5r). 7-0 250 Neal Quinn (14.7p, 7.4r) transferred in from Lafayette. He “played in a similar system” there, per Lindy’s “and excelled in a lot of the things Coach Chris Mooney asks of his big men: passing, decision-making, starting the offense, etc.” 6-7 200 Isaiah Bigelow (8.3p 5.5r) transferred from Wofford after playing well against Richmond last year. He’s athletic and an excellent rebounder”. 6-5 Jason Roche (13.2p 4.0rb), who transferred from the Citadel, has “anywhere in the gym range” and “is one of the nation’s top shooters”.

ST. JOHN’S was 17-15 last year. Coach Mike Anderson “has recruited the city pretty well and has brought with him a tough, quick, physical style of play that seems to befit a program located in Jamaica, NY”. Two-time All Big East guard Posh (Port Out, Starboard Home) Alexander, (13.8p 5.5a, 2.3s). The Johnnies averaged 18.8 assists per game, tops in the nation. Alexander was also co-defensive player of the year in the conference. He will be a challenge for whoever we have playing the point. Still, Anderson brought in Illinois’ point guard, 6-1 Andre Curbelo, a former Top 50 recruit, (7.5p 3.1r 3.2a). Star big man Julian Champagne, jumped to the pros but DePaul’s David Jones, (6-6 195 14.5p 7.4r) transferred in. 6-11 250 Joel Soriano, (6.4p, 5.5r) mans the middle. It’s a tough, defensive-oriented team and just the sort of old Big East rival that has given us trouble over the years.

TEMPLE was 17-12 last year and finished 4th in the American Conference. They have a “big time backcourt” in Damian Dunn (14.9p, 4.2r) and Khalif Battle (21.4p 3.9r in seven games before being injured), both 6-5. 6-7 Zach Hicks “is a three-point weapon” (8.3p 4.1r). Their questions are on the inside. 6-8 220 Nick Jourdain (6.6p, 5.3r) might be their best hope there.

BRYANT was 22-10 last year and had the nation’s leading scorer, Peter Kiss (25.2p), who has graduated with two other starters. They still have 6-4 guard Charles Pride, (17.7p, 8.6r). A guard who gets 8.6 rebounds a game certainly has a lot of pride. Coach Jared Grasso is building a team around him with – you guessed it – transfers. 6-2 Doug Edert (9.5p) came in from St. Peters. 5-8 Chauncey Hawkins (16.0p, 4.4a), from St. Francis might be a challenge to keep up with for our big guards. You might recall we had no end of trouble subduing the Bulldogs two years back.

ILLINOIS was 23-10 last year. “With 7 foot behemoth Kofi Cockburn manning the post for the last three years, the Illini won five more conference games than any other Big Ten team.” But he’s gone now. “His low-post prowess locked the Illini into a specific style of play that didn’t work as well in the NCAA tournament as it did in the Big Ten.” Coach Brad Underwood lost his top five scorers and 10 scholarship players and thus “finds himself with an opportunity to reinvent Illinois.” That means transfers such as 6-9 225 Matthew Mayer, (not Moyer) from Baylor (9.8p 5.0r), 6-6 215 Terrence Shannon from Texas Tech, (11.0p, 3.8r). They brought in four top 100 recruits as well: 6-3 Sky Clark, (per 247 #33, #6 point guard) 6-6 Ty Rodgers, (#53, #6 power forward), 6-2 Jayden Epps, (#72, #11 combo guard), and 6-4 Sencire Harris, (#109, #14 shooting guard). [How can we lose when we’re so Sencire?] “We looked to go get those guys in the 6-3 to 6-10 range who can do multiple things. We’re very skilled at ball handling and driving it and shooting it – and I like that”. It sounds like a description of Syracuse.

OAKLAND was 20-12 last year. They are a decent mid-major but we’ve beaten them all four times we’ve played them by a combined 88 points. They might get closer this time, with “three returning starters and an impressive group of transfers.” The returnees are 6-6 222 Trey Townsend (13.3p 5.6r), 5-11 170 Jalen Moore (15.5p 4.3r, 7.2a, 4.3to) and 6-9 226 Chris Conway (1.7p 1.3r) [Why does Lindy’s list Conway as a ‘returning starter? Because Coach Greg Kampe started him in 24 games, even though he only averaged 7.3 minutes. He may have hoped Chris, a freshman, would develop into a reliable player if given confidence. He at least gives them some size. JB’s done that a couple of times. He may be their Benny Williams.) The transfers include two from Power Five programs: 6-2 185 Rocket Watts from Michigan State and then Mississippi State (he must be fast but his scoring has gone from 9.0 to 7.7 to 4.4); 6-2 180 Lorne Bowman from Wisconsin (3.0p) and 6-7 197 Keaton Hervey (3.4p)

GEORGETOWN beat us last year 79-75 to move to 5 wins and 4 losses. They won their next game against Howard U and then, incredibly, lost 21 games in a row to finish 6-25, making our loss to them and the Colgate loss the two most embarrassing defeats in an embarrassing season. Georgetown had come full circle: the year before John Thompson was hired, back in 1971-72, they went 3-23. Now they were 6-25 – 0-19 in the Big East. At any time of day, the Hoyas sucked – except when they played us!

But Patrick Ewing hasn’t been fired, maybe because he’s Patrick Ewing. He’s been mining both the high schools and the transfer portal to try to turn things around. He’s lost four starters. Yeah, they started for a bad team but they averaged 47.4 points per game among them. 6-0 175 Dante Harris (11.9p), “who needs to shoot better” is the sole returnee. 6-3 175 Jay Heath (10.3p) has played for both Boston College and Arizona State and shot 43% from three for the Sun Devils last season. He’s scored 1,000 career points. Our Mounir Hima will remember 6-3 185 Amir “Primo” Spears from Duquesne (12.7p 3.0a), a scoring dynamo with good length and plenty of moxie”. 6-5 220 Brandon Murray (10.0p 3.0r) had come over from LSU. 6-2 170 Denver Anglin was rated #87 and the #13 combo guard by 247. Former SU target 6-11 240 Qudus Wahab transferred BACK to Georgetown from Maryland, where he averaged 7.7p and 5.6r. I wish he’d make up his mind! The Hoyas still have 7-2 255 Ryan Mutumbo, Dikembe’s son, who is “a work in progress” (5.1p 3.0r) and 7-0 205 Ryan Wilson, so the Hoyas will at least have some guys who can look their coach in the eye – if their play allows them to. They also got 6-9 200 Akok Akok, the Connecticut transfer we once wanted (3.4p 3.2r), “a true rim protector”. I think we need to assume that what happened to Georgetown last year is kind of irrelevant to what they might be capable of this year. Whether Ewing can mold this bunch into a legitimately good team is another question.

MONMOUTH was 21-13 last year but that doesn’t mean much as no starters return from that team. Their top returning players are 6-7 230 Myles Foster, (5.3p 3.0r), 6-0 150 Myles Ruth (3.1p, 1.4r) and 6-9 225 Jarvis Vaughn (2.8p, 2.4r). They’d go myles and myles to beat us but they won’t.

CORNELL was 15-11 last year. With the Colgate loss, the Big Red are now the school we’ve defeated the most times in a row. We last lost to them 81-93, 12/4/68 in Ithaca, (I remember listening to that one on the radio – we had an 18 point second half run and still lost by 12). We’ve beaten them 40 times in a row. It’s the only streak we’ve got left! It probably won’t be broken this year. The Big Red lost three starters and no one returning scored in double figures. 6-5 195 Chris Manon (9.9p, 3.7r) and 6-3 175 Gary Dolan (6.2p 3.1r) are the returning starters. But watch out for sixth man 6-7 190 Keller Boothby (8.3p, 3.7r), who hit 49% of his threes.

Summary: In the old days, SU could storm through a much-criticized non-conference schedule at 13-0 or close to it, break even in the conference and extend the streak of winning seasons and make it to the Big Dance with ease. But the NCAA has increasingly emphasized non-conference games as a means of evaluating conferences and the conference has extended its schedule to a grueling 20 games, cutting the non-conference schedule to 11 games, so it isn’t the buffer for a winning season and NCAA bid it used to be. Last year’s non-conference schedule was like eating rocks. This one should be much more digestible. But that means we can’t afford to have 3-4 losses against these teams. We need to win 9-10 of these games to set us up for a good comeback season.

In recent years we’d have a “wake-up call” game early on that showed that our team wasn’t what we hoped it would be: The California game of 2014 (59-73); losses at Georgetown (72-79) and St. John’s (72-84) in 2015, the South Carolina game of 2016 (50-64), a one-sided loss to Kansas (60-76) in 2017, Connecticut (76-83) and Oregon (65-80) in 2018, to Oklahoma State (72-86) and Penn State (64-85) in 2019, to Rutgers (69-79) in 2020, Colgate (85-100), followed by the trip to the Bahamas where we lost to Virginia Commonwealth (53-67) and Auburn (68-89). Most of those reality checks occurred in New York where we had had a tradition of playing very well. If we could gain revenge on Colgate and win at the Barclay’s center that would be a very good sign and the trip to Illinois will be revealing, as well.
 

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