Syracuse remains undefeated as frosh Tyler Ennis emerges

Tyler Ennis had 21 points to guide Syracuse to a win in MSG on Sunday.  (USATSI)
Tyler Ennis had 21 points to guide Syracuse to a win in MSG on Sunday.(USATSI)

The Orange are still undefeated after winning the only game they'll play in Madison Square Garden this regular season, and the victory is bringing good news for SU's future.

Syracuse is now 10-0 after beating St. John's 68-63, and you could make the argument this team wouldn't be nearly as heralded were it not for the play of Tyler Ennis, frosh point guard from Canada.

Ennis has now become the latest freshman name to earn way into the national conversation of impact first-year players. Ennis, who played on the same AAU team as Andrew Wiggins, went for 21 points, three assists and three boards in the W. On the season he's averaging 12 points, just under five assists -- and impressively committed just 11 turnovers.

He's not as flashy, athletic or freaky as guys like Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Julius Randle, but we're approaching the point -- if we're not already there -- where the case can be made he's as valuable to his team as any of the freshman phenoms.

Also remarkable? His responsible play has allowed Syracuse fans to not worry about losing Michael Carter-Williams, the sophomore point guard who left last year for the NBA. Hard to imagine Syracuse could've made this kind of transition without Carter-Williams, along with seniors Brandon Triche and James Southerland. Yet here we are.

Yet they're arguably as good as last year because of Ennis and senior C.J. Fair, who also had 21 on Sunday. Fair is playing at an All-American level. The second-ranked Orange will remain at that spot in the AP poll come Monday because No. 1 Arizona won at Michigan on Saturday, but to anyone that wants to declare SU the best team in the country, there's a debate to be had. Remember, this team won the Maui Invitational last month, beating Cal and Baylor on the way to the title.

Last week, SU defeated a decent Indiana team as well.

And now it's got four home games ahead before it'll play on the road, meaning we could get to New Year's with an undefeated Syracuse program. This kind of early season success is the norm for the Orange. The 10-0 start marks the fifth consecutive campaign that Boeheim's ball club has won its first 10 games.

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Norlander is a national award-winning writer who has been with CBS Sports since 2010. He's in his seventh season covering college basketball for CBS, and also covers the NBA Draft, the Olympics and... Full Bio

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