Syracuse earns No. 2 spot in ACC preseason media poll

first_img Published on October 17, 2013 at 2:21 am Contact David: [email protected] | @DBWilson2 CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The days of grind-it-out, ultra-physical games with scoring in the 40s and 50s are over. The Big East and Atlantic Coast Conferences are two different worlds on the hardwood.The former is first to 60. Ferocious defense and a slow tempo were hallmarks of the old Big East and made it, at times, the best conference in America. The latter is home to track meets. Up and down the floor players run, trying to outscore their opponent with defense falling by the wayside. That made the ACC the best conference in America, too.As Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame move from the Big East to the ACC, things will change for those programs.“The ACC is run-and-gun,” SU center Baye Moussa Keita said. “The Big East is like street play, street games.”The Orange took its first real step into the ACC on Wednesday at the conference’s basketball media day at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Charlotte, N.C. A move to the ACC — which now doubles as the best collection of basketball teams in the country, most players say — means new opponents and new venues, but most of all a new style of play for the Orange, which was ranked No. 2 in the ACC coaches’ preseason poll behind only Duke.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe physicality of the old Big East went hand in hand with its defensive reputation — a status that Syracuse and its vaunted 2-3 zone helped contribute to.“The difference is, I think, the refs,” Pitt forward Talib Zanna said. “Our refs don’t call fouls, but the ACC — I watch a lot of ACC games — they call a lot of fouls.”During the NCAA Tournament, an Orange team that underachieved throughout the regular season rallied with the help of its stalwart defense to make a run to the Final Four. It won ugly, but so did everyone else in its old conference.The ACC, on the other hand, did it pretty. In highlight-reel fashion, with a barrage of fast breaks and 3-point shooting.When SU’s slug-it-out zone makes its ACC debut in January, the contrast will never be greater and Miami (Fla.) — Syracuse’s first conference opponent — will be in for a brand-new test.“That zone—” Notre Dame guard Jerian Grant said before shaking his head to gather himself. “I feel like it’s really going to run through the ACC a little bit. If you’re not used to that, it’s really tough.”But two years ago, the zone was more of an afterthought. It’s always the staple of the Orange’s typically elite defense, but in 2011-12 SU boasted a high-flying offense. Defense — specifically Fab Melo shot blocks — kick-started transition and a potent offense.So the ACC will be a test for SU, too, and a melding of the styles it has found itself able to play.“It’s definitely going to be different a little bit,” Keita said, “so we’ll have to get used to it.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img


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