My 2023-24 SU Basketball Preview - Part 8 | Syracusefan.com

My 2023-24 SU Basketball Preview - Part 8

SWC75

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Tuesday 1/2/23 9PM in Durham Duke the ESPN family
Blue Devils don’t growl but they can consign you to a hot place. The transition from Coach K to Jon Scheyer seems to have gone smoothly and Duke is as good as ever. Last year they were 27-9 and 14-6 in the conference. Oh, and they won the ACC tournament. They have four starters back from that team and still another top recruiting class. This is one school not currently working the transfer portal. 7-0 230 Kyle Filipowski (15.1p 9.0r) will contend for player of the year honors and not just in the conference. Fellow sophomore 6-6 220 Mark Mitchell (9.1p 4.5r) is “tough to handle inside and hit the occasional three pointer”. 6-10 235 Ryan Young (6.4p 5.5r) is “a reliable interior weapon on offense and a fine rebounder, particularly on the offensive end. Freshmen T.J. Power (6-9 216) is “a versatile forward who can hit the three and create for teammates”. (Will he play ‘power’ forward?) Freshman Sean Stewart (6-9 227) is a “powerful inside player who runs the floor well and has good explosion”. (Caution: his highlights might be disturbing to our viewers.)

A good guard can be very irritating to the other team and the well-named Jeremy Roach (6-1 175) certainly is. He averaged 13.6p 2.5r 3.1a and, (surprisingly), 0.9s with 34% three-point shooting, (still better than our guys). He’ll “score consistently and run the team”. Tyrese Proctor (6-5 175 9.4p 3.5a), “can set up his teammates and take care of the ball. The next step is to become a more reliable shooter.” Freshman Jared McClain (6-3 197), is “an excellent shooter who understands floor spacing. Fellow freshman Caleb Flower (6-5 197), “will be a problem for defenses all over the floor He can score off the dribble, in the mid-range and from deep”. Duke is Duke is Duke is Duke. We only play them once this year.

Wednesday 1/10/23 9PM in the Dome Boston College ACCN
Boston College, on the other hand, has been a bottom feeder in the ACC for years, the closest thing we’ve had to a reliable victory. You knew that wasn’t going to last forever. Last year, the Eagles went 16-17 overall and 9-11 in the conference. They beat Virginia by 15 points! It was enough to get Coach Earl Grant an extension.

They got good news when well-named center Quinton Post (7-0 240, 15.1p 5.0r) decided he was coming back for another year. He was the league’s most improved player last year. “He’s a strong interior scorer who often stepped away from the hoop and punished rivals.” 6-7 220 Devin McGlockton (6.1p 3.9r) “showed last year he could score close to the hoop and it’s time for him to become more productive on the boards” 6-2 200 Jaeden Zackery (10.7p 2.7a) “showed last year he could run the team and defend at an ACC level”. He and the whole team need to shoot better (32.3 for him, 31.3 for the team from the arc). Charleston Southern transfer Claudell Harris (6-3 190, 17.9p 3.9r) twice scored 30 points in games last year and could help, (he shot 33.3% from three). Can we still play zone?


Saturday 1/13/23 1PM in Chapel Hill North Carolina ESPN
The Triangle’s other colossus had a disappointing season last year, starting out being voted #1 after nearly winning the national title the previous year in Hubert Davis’ first season and not even making the NCAA tournament in his second. The Tar Heels finished 20-13 and 11-9 in the conference. They lost star guard Caleb Love, 6-10 forward Pete Nance and defensive specialist Leaky Black from that team but still have double-double machine Andre Bacot (6-10 240, 15.9p 10.4r) and their other high-scoring guard, RJ Davis (6-0 160, 16.1p 5.1r), who decided to put off the NBA for a while, (and get the NIL). “Davis’ return is big, since he can score from all over, run the team and set up his teammates. Davis’ next challenge is to become a more accomplished defender.” Coach Davis brought in 5 star guard Elliott Cadeau (6-2 175), to be player Davis’ partner “He is an excellent distributor who can score (and) bring outstanding passing ability to a team that ranked 300th nationally in assist rate last season”. Notre Dame transfer Cormac Ryan (6-5 195, 12.3p 4.0r, 344.4 from three), “can hit the three or score off the dribble.”

Bacot “should be clear of the ankle problems that dogged him” last year. He “scorers effectively inside and hammers the boards at both ends”. Stanford transfer Harrison Ingram (6-8 230, 10.5p 5.8r) “can play inside and out”. Freshman Zayden High, (another great name – for a 6-9 235 ‘stretch four’), is a good outside shooter. He can stretch to fill in at the center spot and he can stretch a defense. 6-8 230 Jae’Lyn Withers got sick of the mess at Louisville. “He can handle work inside and on the wing.”

Tuesday 1/16/23 7PM in Pittsburgh Pittsburgh the ESPN family
(See 12/30/23)

Saturday 1/20/23 TBA in the Dome U of Miami the ESPN family
The Canes made their first ever Final Four appearance last year, finishing 29-8 after tying for first place in the conference at 15-5. 73 year old Jim Boeheim look-alike Jimmy Larranaga has led his team to the Elite 8 and the Final Four in consecutive seasons, accumulating 7 NCAA wins, compared to 8 in the school’s history prior to that.

Jimmy lost two genuine stars in Jordan Miller and Isaiah Wong. Back from that team is Nigel Pack (6-0 180, 13.6p 2.7r, 2.1a), “an elite point guard”. Another fabulous name, Wooga Poplar, is a 6-5 195 “monster”, per Larranaga. This monster only averaged 8.4p 3.3r last year but JL sees him as the next Isaiah Wong, (16.2p 4.3r last year). Norchad Omier (6-7 230, 13.1p 10.0r) is “one of the national’s top big men”. Matthew Cleveland (6-7 200, 13.8p 7.4r) came over from rival Florida State, is a “dynamic, stat-stuffing wing” who with Pack and Omier, “gives Miami one of the top trios in college basketball”.


Tuesday 1/23/23 7PM in the Dome Florida State ACCN
The Seminoles collapsed like a balloon with a hole in it last year, falling to 9-23 and 7-13 in this unforgiving conference. Their top three scorers are gone. Matthew Cleveland jumped ship to Miami, Caleb Mills, (13.0p) moved to Memphis and we got Naheem McCloud. 75 year old Leonard Hamilton is tasked with rebuilding from the disaster. His strategy: transfers!

Primo Spears, a veteran of the messes at Duquesne and Georgetown, has arrived in Tallahassee. He’s 6-3 185 and has “blazing speed”. He averaged 16.0p and 5.3a last season. Josh Nickleberry, (6-5 180, 10.9p 2.7a) was A10 sixth man of the year for LaSalle. Darin Green Jr. (6-4 180, 13.4p 2.9r) is the team’s leading returning scorer. 6-9 200 Jaylan Gainey (9.3p 6.9r) was the Ivy League defensive player of the year for Brown. Cam’Ron Fletcher (6-6 215, 10.8p 7.5r) played just ten games last year due to an injury. Both are coming off ACL surgery: Gainey in 10/22, Fletcher in 12/22. Baba Miller (6-11 204, 4.3p 3.7) “has guard skills and a 7-2 wingspan.” Jamir Watkins (6-7 210, 9.5p 4.4r) came from Virginia Commonwealth. He’s “had 26 double figure games and “is a skilled passer”.


Saturday 1/27/23 7PM in the Dome North Carolina State the ESPN family
The Wolfpack bounded back from an 11-21 season to go 23-11(12-8) and return to the Big Dance. Unfortunately, only three players who averaged 10 minutes a game return and just one starter. The answer? Transfers!

6-9 260 DJ Burns (12.5p 4.8r), is the returning starter. He’s “a strong interior scorer…Hell need to rebound more this year.” Two 6-10 transfers, Ben Middlebrooks, (225, 3.1p, 2.7r) from Clemson and Mohamed Diarra (215, 3.2p 3.3r) from Missouri. They “will provide help inside but it is unreasonable to expect either to be a big scorer. Diarra is a sold shot blocker while Middlebrooks will be sturdy on the boards.” 6-9 190 Ernest Rowe (3.5p 2.5r) “is a solid interior scorer and a good rim protector”. Freshman Dennis Parker (6-6 175)” can score off the dribble and hit the jumper” and “is a willing defender.” These big men seem a big skinny, both on their weights and their statistics. Syracuse skinny.

Casey Morsell (6-3 196, 11.8p 4.4r) is “a strong long-range shooter” (41.4%). Stanford transfer Michael O’Connell (6-2 180, 5.2p 3.1a) is “a stronger passer”. 6-2 205 LJ Thomas (2.4p, 2.1r 0.5a) and 6-1 175 DJ Horne from Arizona State (12.5p 3.4r 1.1a) “will get a chance to run the team”. Jayden Taylor (6-4 190, 12.9p 3.8r) arrived from Butler. He is a “penetrator with the ability to hit from outside”. Kam Woods scored 17.3p for North Carolina A&T. “He is an excellent floor spacer.” MJ Rice, (6-5 215, 2.2p)“ didn’t pile up the points at Kansas but is an explosive wing player.” How about a three-guard line up DJ, MJ and LJ with DJ Burns in the middle?

I think the Pack may have a hard time duplicating last year’s success.

Tuesday 1/30/23 7PM in Chestnut Hill Boston College the ESPN family
(see 1/10/23)
 

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