As the 2018-2019 college basketball season approaches, Syracuse basketball fans are going into the season with some of the highest expectations they have had, in the past couple decades. The Orange are returning all five starters from last years Sweet 16 run including Tyus Battle, Oshae Brissett, Frank Howard, Marek Dolezaj, and Paschal Chukwu.
The tallest team in D1 basketball last year, is looking to dominate its opponents defensively once again in 2018-2019. The Orange were ranked #9 in the nation last year in blocks with 198, and they held their opponents to an average of 63.8 ppg, which was the tenth best defensive efficiency in the nation.
Will Syracuse beat their previous national attendance record of 35,446 for a single on-campus game? The record was set back in 2014, when Syracuse hosted Duke for the first time since moving into the ACC conference. Syracuse ended up beating Duke in a crazy 91-89 overtime win.
Syracuse will host Duke this season on February 23, 2019. Many experts are predicting that both Syracuse and Duke will be ranked in the AP Top 25 for majority, if not all season long. The game is listed to either be played at 6 p.m. or 8 p.m., which is significant because, it could be the host of ESPN’s College GameDay. The last time Syracuse played host to GameDay was back in 2014 when Duke visited the Dome.
Many fans are hoping to catch another magical moment in the Syracuse/Duke rivalry this year. It is hard to forget John Gillon’s magical shot back in 2017, when he drained a miracle three-point shot to upset #10 Duke in the Carrier Dome.
Syracuse’s head coach Jim Boeheim is known for showing little to no emotion on the bench while he coaches his Orange. However, the Krzyzewski vs. Boeheim rivalry games have provided some of the best Jim Boeheim reactions known to date. How could you ever forget the infamous jacket toss from Boeheim, as CJ Fair was called for a controversial charge against Duke’s Rodney Hood? Boeheim was ejected after his reaction, and a rivalry was born.
Tyus Battle and Oshae Brissett are the two Orange players who are receiving recognition in some of the pre-season college basketball awards. Tyus Battle was named as one of the candidates for the Jerry West Award, which is awarded to the top shooting guard at the end of the season. Oshae Brissett was named to the list of candidates for the Julius Erving Award, which is given to the nations top small forward.
The bottom line is that Syracuse basketball has the chance to have one of the best teams it has had in the past decade. The Orange snuck into the NCAA tournament last year, as the 68th team. If you weren’t aware, that is the absolute last team to make the tournament. The Orange silenced the haters like they always do in March, by defeating TCU and Michigan State.
The Orange made it all the way to the Sweet 16 last year and they lost to the one team that always seems to haunt them (Duke). Syracuse lost 69-65, however they played a very well game against arguably one of the best college teams last year.
The Orange’s season this year begins on November 6th, as the start of non conference play begins. ACC conference play will start up on January 5th, as the Orange will play the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at the Joyce Center. Syracuse was ranked #13 in the most recent ESPN Preseason College Basketball Power Rankings. As the season starts to begin, we will have a good sense as to where the Orange rank among the national powerhouses.