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Miami Basketball ACC Opponent Preview: Syracuse

In an effort to bring UM Hoops fans up to speed on their ACC opposition we will preview each and every team in the conference. We will also look at how the 'Canes match up with each squad and what to expect from each team in 2014-15. Today, with an assist from Sean Keely of TNIAAM, we look at the Syracuse Orange.

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Last season Syracuse appeared to be living a charmed life.

They pulled out close game after close game en route to a 25-0 start with the help of one of the premier clutch players in the country in freshman PG Tyler Ennis.

The magic would run out  though, as they would struggle down the stretch, and lose in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tourney.

Jim Boeheim's squad will be with out Ennis this year, who bolted to the NBA. They will also be with out a few other key performers.

But a pair of exceptionally talented freshman are in the fold.   Will they be enough to keep the Cuse in contention in a hotly contested ACC?

Roster Overview:

We got a special assist from Syracuse Blogger Sean Keely of Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician for this addition. Enjoy!

So for Syracuse basketball, this might be the dreaded rebuilding year we've been trying to avoid. We're losing Tyler Ennis, Jerami Grant, C.J. Fair and Baye Keita, three of our top four scorers and our best hustle guy. We're also probably going to be without DaJuan Coleman, who is still dealing with knee surgery issues. That leaves Trevor Cooney & Rakeem Christmas to be the upperclassman leader of the team (slightly frightening) and puts a whole lot of pressure on freshman Kaleb Joseph (to live up to his two PG predecessors) and freshman Chris McCullough (one-and-done potential).

The big question...where is all the scoring going to come from? Cooney is unpredictable, Christmas isn't a dependable scorer and there are ton of unknowns otherwise. Michael Gbinije will shoulder more load as a guard. Tyler Roberson, B.J. Johnson and Ron Patterson may or may not break out.

Basically, this is a year when we honestly have no idea what to expect. The saving grace for us is that the years we're expected to be nothing are usually the years when good things happen. So let's just go with that...

Key Performers:

F Chris McCullough - 6'10 225 Fr.

G Caleb Joseph - 6'3 165 Fr.

G Trevor Cooney - 6'4 195 Jr.

F/C Rakeem Christmas - 6'9 250 Sr.

What to Expect in 2014-15:

While Sean is expecting less from the Orange this season, and he would know better then I, I am still wary of any Boeheim coached team. I think he gets the best of his two freshmen stars, the Cuse continue to frustrate shooters everywhere with their match-up zone, and Cooney bounces back enough to give them better production on the outside. I still think this is a top 5 team in the conference.

How they match-up with the 'Canes:

An out-manned Miami team gave Syracuse all they could handle last season in two close losses. This year Miami should have much better talent. Nonetheless, unless UM can make more clutch plays down the stretch, their one match-up (1/24) could be another close loss.  Even with the 'Canes added firepower, I never feel good facing that zone.




Stay tuned for more ACC Team previews as we count down to Tip Off