Syracuse men’s basketball 2021-22 season preview
2021-22 men's basketball season preview
The Syracuse men’s basketball 2021-22 season begins tonight at home against Lafayette at 7 p.m. The Orange played well in preseason exhibition play. However, the competition will only get fiercer as the 2021-22 season progresses.
SU won the two preseason matchups against Pace and Le Moyne. The well-expected wins left fans excited for what’s to come this season.
Through the two games at the Dome, fans got an up-close look at some of Syracuse’s new faces this season, none bigger than Villanova transfer Cole Swider. Originally from Portsmouth, Rhode Island, Swider played three full seasons under Wildcats head coach Jay Wright. The forward brings experience from playing in three Big East Championships and two trips to March Madness.
Another name to watch for is freshman forward Benny Williams. Williams played his high school basketball at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. 247 Sports rated him as a four-star prospect and the No. 31 overall player in the 2021 recruiting class. Williams, who won the preseason tip-off dunk contest before preseason play started, chose the Orange over schools like Florida, Clemson and Georgetown.
Syracuse men’s basketball, like their fans, has a lot to look forward to. They also have a lot to work on.
Each abysmal performance from the line echoes boos from the deserving Syracuse fans. Struggling from the charity stripe tends and failing to secure key rebounds tends to cut SU’s season short each year. Against Pace, the Orange shot 8 of 21 from the line. Against Le Moyne, the Orange shot 13 of 19 from the line. These missed opportunities tend to hold significant weight later in the season when each game is win or go home.
The Syracuse bigs outrebounded Pace 38 to 35. The disparity in heights between the two teams was evident, as Pace has only two players over 6’8. Also, the Orange outrebounded Le Moyne 40 to 32. The thin bigs of the Orange don’t give off a bruiser style of big man and struggled to definitively out rebound those Division II teams.
Although the Orange did not find a rhythm at the line or grabbing boards, the team has been consistent in their shooting from three. A key addition to the ongoing success of the Orange this year will be Swider.
Swider scored 21 against Pace, draining five of seven three-point attempts. As well as scoring 18 points against Le Moyne, raining four of eight from three. He’s already made a mark as a player that can score from anywhere on the court. His ability to run in transition, stop and pop, and finish on contact has already made the Orange tough to deal with this season.
But Swider and Williams are not the only newcomers that have made a significant impact for Syracuse. Jimmy Boeheim, Buddy’s brother and Jim’s son, now plays for the team he grew up watching. Boeheim transferred in from Cornell University where he averaged 16.7 points per game in the 2019-2020 season. His senior season was canceled due to COVID-19. Now, Boeheim has the opportunity to not only make up for a missed season but to play with his family.
“Being at Cornell, we played three or four of those high major big games every year and I’ve always circled those and looked forward to those,” Boeheim said.
This season Boeheim gets to play a bunch of those big games he once circled. All of that starts tonight when the Orange tip-off against the Leopards.