10. Syracuse Orange
Joe Lunardi's projected NCAA tourney seed: 2
Returning minutes: 52 percent
What you know: Coach Jim Boeheim enters his first season in the ACC without a proven PG after losing Michael Carter-Williams to the NBA (76ers).
What you should know: Syracuse's chemistry will be better without Carter-Williams, whose leadership style didn't sit well with everyone. The Orange won't miss a beat offensively with 6'2" freshman Tyler Ennis (No. 20, ESPN 100) running the show and F C.J. Fair (14.5 ppg) as the focus. But their D, which ranked eighth in efficiency last season, will suffer without Carter-Williams' disruptive length atop the 2-3.
Around the basket: One of the biggest reasons I'm so high on the Orange? Fair's ability to beat any D when he posts up off the lane and makes a move toward the bucket. He's such a tough kid to game-plan for. Boeheim will run a quick two-man screen game, freeing up Fair and fellow F Jerami Grant (3.9 ppg as a frosh) to attack the hoop from the midpost.
Three-pointers: The surefire way to keep Fair from being doubled: Hit open shots from the outside. The Orange got plenty of them last year and couldn't convert (195th in three-point shooting), which really shrunk the court. If redshirt sophomore G Trevor Cooney and Duke transfer Michael Gbinije consistently hit threes, defenses won't be able to pack the paint.