Syracuse was not picked to finish in the top half of the ACC in the preseason poll, but after winning the Battle 4 Atlantis the Orange are looking less like a middle-of-the-pack ACC team and more like one of the 25 best teams in the country.
Friday’s 74-67 win against Texas A&M marked the first time Syracuse has taken down ranked teams in back-to-back games since 2013 after the Orange knocked off UConn on Thursday in the tournament semifinals.
Syracuse, at 6-0, should be ranked when the new polls come out Monday, but more encouraging than early-season rankings is the fact that this team can hang with anyone in the country when shots are falling from long range. The Orange knocked down 34 threes across three games in the Bahamas at a 46.6 percent clip. Hitting nearly 50 percent from downtown might not
Jim Boeheim’s team isn’t very deep, but the core is as solid as you’ll find in the ACC. Michael Gbinije, Trevor Cooney, Malachi Richardson and Tyler Lydon powered Friday’s win, combining for 64 of Syracuse’s 74 points and accounting for all 11 of the team’s three-point field goals.
|Syracuse Big Four vs. Texas A&M|
As the old adage goes, good shooting can mask a ton of mistakes. Texas A&M is a good passing team and was able to work the ball through Syracuse’s zone pretty easily. Jalen Jones (23 points on 10-of-17 shooting) was able to operate at will for most of the game and if those threes weren’t falling this was a game that the Aggies could have easily won.
Syracuse’s undefeated start and good shooting will be put to the test in the next week, with a game against Wisconsin in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge and the renewal of of the Georgetown rivalry next Saturday.