Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Syracuse is the best team in the Big East

In a strong Big East (despite preseason thoughts that it would be down), to me it looks like Syracuse is the class of the conference.

I know, they sit half a game behind Villanova entering day, with a 7-1 mark compared to Villanova's 7-0, but I think they are the better team. They routed Georgetown 73-56 last night to improve on this mark, and are undefeated on the season save for a lone loss against overachieving Pittsburgh.

Everyone thought this would be a down year for the Orange (myself included), after the loss of Johnny Flynn, Paul Harris, and Eric Devendorf, but this looks like Jim Boeheim's best team since the one that featured Carmelo Anthony. They have been efficient shooting the basketball, and are outscoring opponents by about 19 PPG.

The star has been Wesley Johnson, one of the most athletic players in the country. He averages 17 points and 9 rebounds per game for the Orange, leading their very balanced attack. They have 5 players that average in double figures, and 8 that average at least 6.5 PPG. They have a lot of different ways to hurt you.

But the biggest difference this season is how active and athletic their zone has been. Instead of sitting back in the 2-3, they can get out and challenge shooters and ballhandlers. This aspect was sometimes missing over the past few years. It is a big factor in why I think Syracuse is the best team in the Big East and one of the best teams in the country, with a good chance to win the national title.