Syracuse opened up their 2012-13 campaign with a resounding 99-63 win over Pace, a division II school. There’s plenty to take out of it.
1) Trevor Cooney did not play as he recovers from getting his tonsils out. Coach Jim Boeheim said that he thinks Cooney will practice tomorrow after having done a little shooting. He may be able to get out there on Sunday for exhibition game #2. Depending on the minutes he gets there, hopefully he’ll be ready to fully attack San Diego State. The Freshman is going to be the shooter this team has lacked in the past. His presence will help open up the lane and give an option for those who may get trapped down there as well.
2) They out-rebounded their opponent 55-24 which was to be expected considering the Setters have no one over 6-6 on their roster. Still, it’s hard to think that allowing 11 offensive rebounds made Coach happy. It’s going to be very important for DaJuan Coleman and Rakeem Christmas to stay out of foul trouble and to box out when battling on the boards. Rebounding was an issue for the team last season and it could be a problem again.
3) Depth is going to be good for this team. Traditionally the Orange have not gone deep on their bench, but most of that was not being able to trust those players. Eight guys saw at least 17 minutes of action and most, if not all of them, were effective in their own way. One can already see the roles being defined on this squad. Michael Carter-Williams and Brandon Triche will be the slasher starting types with CJ Fair playing all over the court. If the lefty could develop a solid reliable jump-shot, he will become so much more dangerous. Christmas and Baye Keita will be the bigs inside who clean up the scraps and give hustle. James Southerland and Cooney are the sharpshooters off the bench while Jerami Grant is the athleticism and energy when the team needs a spark. The one player I’m still trying to figure out is Coleman. I feel like he can get his own shot when he wants to, but also doesn’t mind getting dirty underneath the basket.
Verdict: The win looks nice, but there are modest concerns already. As mentioned above, I’m hoping for a better rebounding effort defending the offensive glass. I also worry about the offense. Sure they had no problems scoring on a division II school, but who is going to take the big shot when needed. Triche will be that guy early, but how successful will he be.