'Cuse's Bench Key To March

        Kris Joseph is the closest thing the Orange have to a star and he very well may be one, but the key to Syracuse living up to their top five ranking is their bench production. Jim Boeheim's squad is littered with former high school All-Americans or future stars and not all of them can see the court. The result? Boeheim has a rotation that routinely goes 10 deep; starting with Joseph (15 points, 6 rebounds), the starting guards are a tandem of talented point guards in duo Brandon Triche (11 points, 3.5 assists) and Scoop Jardine (7 points, 4 assists), while the frontcourt has potential, and that's the big word with them. Fab Melo (6 points, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks) and Rakeem Christmas (4 points, 4 rebounds) have plenty of room to grow.

        But, again, the bench is the integral part to the team's success. Keeping the guards atop the 2-3 zone fresh. Keeping Melo and Christmas out of foul trouble. Dion Waiters (12.5 points, 3.5 assists, 2 steals) is second on the team in scoring and third in total minutes despite coming off the bench. C.J. Fair (9 points, 6 rebounds) is the team's leading rebounder at this point. And then some part-time starters from a year ago- Baye Moussa Keita (3.5 points, 3 rebounds) and James Southerland (9 points, 3 rebounds) can make quite the impact defensively on the glass or imitating all of those who enter the paint.

By President Corey Ruff - 12 - 5 11