How Syracuse Has Made Us Forget Le Moyne

Does anyone even remember when this happened? It seems like a long road from falling to Division II Le Moyne to this scene Thursday night as the Orange moved to 9-0 with a win over Florida: ↵
↵
↵ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵ ↵
↵
↵But looking back, the signs were there after the Le Moyne loss: ↵
↵⇥All is not lost for Syracuse this season. Andy Rautins is a great shooter. Arinze Onuaku is a budding inside force. If the game against Le Moyne was any sort of preview, junior Wesley Johnson appears more than capable of scoring much of the scoring lost from last season. (He dropped 34 against Le Moyne.) ↵
↵

↵The third point, which I ventured pretty conservatively back in November, has turned out to be a total understatement. Wesley Johnson isn't just capable of making up for lost scoring. Johnson is something of a Swiss Army Knife for Jim Boeheim. Johnson leads the team in points and rebounding. He's second in steals and tied for first in blocks. His athleticism and length makes that Syracuse zone as active as it has been since Hakim Warrick was at Syracuse, swatting Michael Lee's fateful shot out of bounds in the national title game. ↵

↵

↵One name that didn't quite register on the radar back in early November was guard Brandon Triche, a freshman who has stepped into fill some of that void left by last year's early departures. He's averaging double figures and, like Johnson, adds some punch to the defense. Combine Triche's arrival on the scene (along with backcourt mate Scoop Jardine) and the continued steady play of Andy Rautins and Arinze Onuaku, and it's not hard to figure out this year's success. ↵

↵

↵The resume of Syracuse -- with wins over Cal, North Carolina and Florida is incredibly strong. And for once, they can even say they've got a significant nonconference win away from the state of New York thanks to topping the Gators on Thursday. ↵

↵

↵It's too early to start handing out any sort of hardware, but a great deal of credit is due to Boeheim for transforming his program's roster and personality in such a short period of time and giving us all a case of short-term amnesia when it comes to that ugly preseason loss to Le Moyne. ↵

↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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