Newshouse Sports

The world of sports from a few Syracuse students

Looking ahead

Posted by Matt Gelb on December 6, 2008

How long can Jonny Flynn and the Orange stay undefeated? (Associated Press)

How long can Jonny Flynn and the Orange stay undefeated? (Associated Press)

It’s a fun game everyone plays: Schedule watching.

What do I mean? Well, Syracuse is 8-0 and now people are wondering, “What if?”

What if Syracuse is undefeated headed into Memphis?

What if Syracuse beats Memphis on the road and is undefeated going into Big East play?

What if Syracuse is 17-0 going into the Georgetown game?

It’s not as unreasonable to think that as it was a few weeks ago. Syracuse is off for a week for finals, but after that, the real fun starts.

Memphis is the major road block in the next nine games. Cleveland State is a fine mid-major, but just that. The Orange was dealt a favor with the soft start to its Big East slate: Seton Hall, at South Florida, DePaul and at Rutgers. And while anything can happen in any Big East game, those four teams already have a combined six losses.

So, how good is this Syracuse team?

It’s the best start for the Orange since 2001-02. Four players are averaging over 12 points per game.

Jonny Flynn has taken the lead, like everyone expected. Paul Harris is almost averaging a double-double and could be playing the best basketball of his career. Arinze Onuaku continues to be a consistent force in the middle. Kris Joseph is a pleasant surprise. And Syracuse has won without a consistent Eric Devendorf, who is still finding his shot.

Boeheim’s aggressive early schedule paid off. He wanted to test his players, fully knowing the amount of experience his team returned. That showed in the many comeback wins SU has already captured.

Memphis and Syracuse match up well. Both teams will want to run and both are full of veteran players (even if Memphis lost most of its top players from last year’s national runner-up squad). A good barometer of how tough the Tigers may be will come this Saturday, when Memphis goes to Washington D.C. to play Georgetown.

Is 17-0 out of the question? Most likely. But it’s fun to wonder, right?

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