3 Syracuse men’s basketball storylines to watch for at Orange Madness

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Syracuse is coming off a 23-14 (9-9 Atlantic Coast) season that saw the Orange get bounced in its first game of the ACC tournament and nearly miss the NCAA Tournament. SU earned a No. 10 seed but made it all the way to the Final Four before falling to North Carolina, 83-66.SU lost its top three scorers from last year, but has three new highly anticipated players set to debut for the Orange this year.Orange Madness in the Carrier Dome at 7 p.m. will provide a first look at this year’s team. Here are three storylines to watch for.How big is Paschal Chukwu really?Outside the fanfare of a 3-point competition and dunk contest, the biggest spectacle on the Carrier Dome floor Friday night is likely to be Syracuse’s newly eligible 7-foot-2 center. Chukwu transferred from Providence last year but redshirted due to NCAA transfer rules.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHe spent the year practicing, polishing himself into the rim protector SU believes he can be. Chukwu’s expected to contribute in Syracuse’s 2-3 zone by now, and Friday offers him the chance to show the fans, if nothing else, he can defend from the interior of Jim Boeheim’s system.It’s a problem the Orange faced at times last year. A problem that one of the tallest players in program history should be able to help alleviate, not to mention Dajuan Coleman is still returning as the expected starting center. Chukwu’s still got five inches on him, though.Finding the next big 3-point weaponEntering this season, SU is without its only three players that attempted more than 200 3s last year. Trevor Cooney made a career out of shooting from 3-point land, cementing that reputation with a team-leading 260 shots behind the arc last season. He’s now gone, along with Malachi Richardson and Michael Gbinije, who rounded out the Orange’s top trio of 3-point shooters.That leaves a fair amount of intrigue surrounding the 3-point competition. Tyler Lydon is easily the team’s best remaining 3-point option from last season. He actually led Syracuse with a 40.5 shooting percentage behind the arc. Senior transfers Andrew White and John Gillon are likely to give Lydon the most competition.White converted 41 percent of his 211 3-point attempts at Nebraska last season. At Colorado State last year, Gillon converted 33 percent of his 180 shots behind the arc. Those numbers might not hold up in SU’s offense this season, but it’ll suffice for Friday’s contest.Meet the freshmenSimilar to last year’s introduction of Lydon, Richardson and Frank Howard, Syracuse is rolling out three more highly-touted first-year players. Orange Madness will offer the public its first look at Tyus Battle, Taurean Thompson and Matthew Moyer.Battle is the likeliest of the trio to get significant minutes this season. He’s a 6-foot-6 guard, and Boeheim has already compared his ability to that of Richardson, who passed up three years of remaining eligibility to begin his NBA career. Thompson and Moyer are likely to play less of a role this year, but that doesn’t matter come Friday’s exhibition.They’ll all be out there, playing their first game in front of fans in the Carrier Dome. Comments Published on October 19, 2016 at 10:01 pm Contact Connor: [email protected] | @connorgrossmanlast_img read more