Dec. 21, 2004
This figures to be a big season for Jim Boeheim and the Syracuse Orange. That's right, the team's nickname is Orange, not Orangemen anymore, baby!
Syracuse is 10-1 and ranked in the top 10, and the Orange are heading for a dynamite year. Boeheim is closing in on career win No. 700 (he has 680-plus and counting). That could become a reality this season. He belongs in the Hall of Fame, and hopefully that will happen in the near future.
In breaking down Syracuse, it's pretty simple. This team has depth, talent and confidence. The Orange are on a mission, and they believe they can accomplish a lot. Can they win another national championship?
|Coach Jim Boeheim led Syracuse to the 2003 national championship.|
There are several veterans from the 2003 national-title team, guys like Hakim Warrick, Gerry McNamara, Craig Forth and Josh Pace. They know how to get it done and have succeeded under the pressure of a Final Four already.
Warrick and McNamara are among the nation's premier inside-outside tandems.
Warrick showed his ability to go up and down the court at the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, taking home the MVP trophy. McNamara could be the mayor of Syracuse because he's so popular. He's the team's hard-nosed, feisty sparkplug.
Forth showed a lot in the big win over Mississippi State. He showed he's a valuable contributor who can do the little things, like passing the ball and taking up space in the lane.
The key could be the sophomores. Demetris Nichols will be a solid player, with his ability to shoot on the wing. Louie McCroskey can also contribute from long range. Darryl Watkins has to provide valuable minutes inside. Terrence Roberts is also capable of helping out.
It will be exciting to see Syracuse battle Connecticut, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame for supremacy in the Big East. Throw in schools like Providence, Boston College, Villanova and West Virginia, and the Big East will be fun to watch this season.
The Orange should expect big things during the 2004-05 campaign, baby!
Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in December 1979. Send him a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.