Syracuse took care of business Tuesday night, throttling Le Moyne 91-48 in its exhibition finale. I’m as ready as the next guy for the games to start counting on Friday, but the Orange’s performance did leave us with a few things worth pointing out:
1. A scorching 11-16 shooting performance from behind the arc. That’s downright gaudy; even if SU went D-II for the year with its current roster, 11-16 wouldn’t be sustainable. The notable parts of that stat, rather, are that six different players made threes for SU, and all six figure to be factors (to varying degrees) in the rotation. In my season preview, I noted that there may not be a bona fide sharpshooter a la Andy Rautins or Gerry McNamara night in and night out, but a collective effort would do just as well, so this performance may lend some credence to that notion.
2. Continuing from last week’s game, the Orange chipped together another impressive night from the line, hitting 14 of 17 free throws. You can’t qualify a successful free throw performance in an exhibition by pointing out the level of competition as you can with other stat lines, so it will be interesting to see how the free throw consistency in the preseason correlates to the regular season.
3. Continuing from #1, how about Kris Joseph knocking down a pair of treys? I don’t want to get too excited too early, but if the work he’s put in on refining his jumper and outside game pays off, it’s going to be insanely difficult for opponents to defend him.
4. I’m not concerned about Rick Jackson’s 1-7 shooting night. Not only is Rick the most experienced member of SU’s rotation, he’s also a hallmark of consistency, even if it comes without a lot of flashiness.
The real thing starts Friday against Northern Iowa, a contender in the very competitive Missouri Valley Conference. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to retiring the phrase “it’s only exhibition, but… (fill in the blank).”