2008 NIT Capsule: Syracuse

March 14th, 2008
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Syracuse Orange

Big East (19-13, 9-9)


Big Wins: 2/2 at Villanova (87-73), 2/16 Georgetown (77-70), 3/8 Marquette (87-72)

Bad Losses: 12/8 Rhode Island (89-91), 1/9 at Cincinnati (66-74), 2/13 at South Florida (78-89)

Coach: Jim Boeheim


Probable Starters:

Jonny Flynn, Freshman, Guard, 15.9 ppg, 5.2 apg

Paul Harris, Sophomore, Forward, 14.5 ppg, 3.3 apg, 8.1 rpg

Donte Greene, Freshman, Forward, 17.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg

Kris Ongenaet, Junior, Forward, 4.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg

Arinze Onuaku, Junior, Forward, 4.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg


Key Roleplayers:

Scoop Jardine, Freshman, Guard, 4.9 ppg, 2.3 apg

Rick Jackson, Freshman, Forward, 3.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg


Why They Can Surprise:

There is plenty of young talent at Syracuse and one thing they can do very well is score. Four players average over a dozen points per game and none have burst onto the scene more than Donte Greene. The 6-11 freshman can, and will, score from anywhere. He probably takes a few too many three’s, but he hits 2.5 per contest. Despite the youth and scoring prowess, Greene does not look past his rebounding duties and averages 7.3 boards per game.


Fellow freshman Jonny Flynn does a solid job running the point and using his quickness to get to the basket. Paul Harris is a superb athlete and one of the best slashers in the game. He also leads the team in rebounding on top of his 14.5 points per game. The true post presence for the Orange is Arinze Onuaku. The junior shoots over 64 percent from the floor and is an efficient scorer and rebounder. 


Why They Can Disappoint:

When Eric Devendorf went down with an injury it made the three-point shooting nearly disappear. It also led to a lack of experience and depth. Syracuse will only use seven players most of the time and five of them are first year players. Not surprisingly that lack of experience has led to a big turnover problem and a lot of those are mental freshmen mistakes. That is good news if the freshmen can start to play like sophomores in March, but it is bad news if you want Coach Jim Boeheim to not pull out his hair.


Who To Watch:

Five players average over 30 minutes per game and it seems like Flynn never leaves the floor. The other three rarely eclipse the 20 minute mark, but Syracuse still needs them to fill in during important stretches of the game. The most important might be part-time starter Kris Ongenaet. He will not score, but he is a solid rebounder and will do the dirty work in the paint. Rick Jackson, another freshman, is the only forward on the bench when Ongenaet starts and he will have to step up and replace the starters when foul trouble becomes an issue, which happens quite a bit to Onuaku and Greene.


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