Show Me My Opponent, 2023 Maui Invitational: Syracuse
Large orange versus group of orange men
After a two-week prologue to the season, the Greatest Preseason Tournament in Basketball History™ is finally going to commence. It begins with two orange teams that rarely tangle with one another (last time 2002) but have plenty of shared history in other sports, such as Tennessee kicking off the 1998 football title campaign by winning in the Carrier Dome.
Syracuse is in Year One of a full-on rebuild/rescaling after eternal coach Jim Boeheim finally stepped down after last season, allowing assistant Adrian Autry to step into the lead role. So far, the results are…kinda more of the same. Syracuse still looks pretty frisky on offense and pretty terrible on defense. I think that Syracuse does have real room left on the runway because they have a pretty insane amount of talent on that roster but at the same time:
No disrespect, of course, but when Torvik rates you 77th on offense/202nd on defense after 89th/205th last year, it is what it is. We’ll see if Toothpick Mode is enough to meaningfully change Syracuse basketball this year, while they slowly shift out of the 2-3 zone and to more of a man-to-man style that Boeheim used to despise. A toothpick could, indeed, change everything. Just perhaps not in this game unless they shoot the lights out or Tennessee shoots their own lights out.
BELOW THE LINE ($): Finally, a full analysis of whether UNC Asheville got screwed by the refs in the 2012 Round of 64 game!
Stats By Will is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.