Syracuse faces First Tough Test in a Championship Season

By Greg Douglas
Rich Barnes – USATODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange have what it takes to win a championship this season, but will this be the year the program finds its way back to glory? Syracuse is led by one of the all time greats in Jim Boeheim and a roster of veteran playmakers, but will that propel the Orange to the team’s first championship in over a decade? The Orange proved up for the challenge in Sunday’s 68-63 victory over the St. John’s Red Storm, but this will be just the first test of many in the long journey to a championship.

Veteran leader C.J. Fair accounted for 21 points in the game and sealed the win late with his clutch shooting. Freshman point guard Tyler Ennis also contributed in the contest with 21 points and six assists, but his 100 percent shooting performance from the free throw line might be the bigger story in the long run. The Orange proved the team is resilient and are capable of winning a multitude of ways, but is this team really championship material?

Syracuse’s will and grit got the team a victory in the contest, but a late run by the Red Storm illustrated Syracuse’s vulnerability in transition. Syracuse is seemingly impermeable when set in Boeheim’s patented zone defense, but the Orange look shaky and slow against an uptempo offense. Transition defense will be the key to success for Syracuse this season, but if the Orange do not improve in that aspect of the game the team will face an early round exit in the NCAA tournament. Syracuse is the team you always pick to go far in the tournament, but the Orange always seem to let you down. Will Syracuse win it all this year by flying under the radar?

While everyone is focusing on the young phenoms around the country, this veteran laden squad of the Orange is the team to watch out for. This season is the culmination of hard work put in by the veterans and coach Boeheim, so look for the Syracuse Orange to make some serious noise in the tournament.

Greg Douglas is a college basketball writer for Follow him on twitter @thegpd93 or add him to your Google network.

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