SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) Jim Boeheim goes into his 39th year as head coach at Syracuse with lots of new faces and the usual firm resolve to make something happen when it counts most.
"I think our biggest challenge is that we lost our three leading scorers two years in a row now, and we lost our best defensive player coming off the bench," said Boeheim, who has 948 career victories and turns 70 in November. "Huge losses, the most that we've had in a while. But we have a couple starters back, we have experience at guard, we have experience inside, and we've got a lot of young guys who are going to get an opportunity to prove themselves."
Last season began with 31 straight wins - six in the preseason and a school-record 25 to open the regular season - that vaulted the Orange to No. 1 in the nation. Hope for a second straight trip to the Final Four ended with a thud, though, in the third round of the NCAA tournament when the Orange offense stalled against Dayton in a 55-53 loss, their sixth setback in nine games. The untimely swoon left them at 28-6.