10. Syracuse (6-3, 0-1)
The retirement of Jim Boeheim ushered in a brand new era of Syracuse basketball for the first time in nearly half a century. Syracuse hasn’t exactly been a top contender in the ACC in recent years, though Boeheim is still undeniably a legend, leaving Adrian Autry with massive shoes to fill. He’s leaning heavily on a young lineup playing a different kind of defense and it remains to be seen what exactly this Syracuse team is capable of this season.
They’ve won at home, including that massive comeback against Colgate and a shellacking of LSU just over a week ago. Their performance at the Maui Invitational was underwhelming, though they don’t really compare to opponents Tennessee and Gonzaga, who won both games handily. There’s potential for Syracuse to win some games in conference play, though a 22-point loss at Virginia in game one was certainly underwhelming, albeit not totally shocking.
The combination of Judah Mintz and J. J. Starling is exciting and they aren’t the only formidable pieces on this Syracuse roster. Pairing a rookie head coach with a young lineup still figuring things out usually isn’t a recipe for success in a league like the ACC, but there could be better days ahead in Syracuse. For now, it looks like this Syracuse squad has just enough to win against solid teams at home and may struggle against much better opponents.