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Orange You Glad For A Bench?

Well Tyus Battle might be. If he had one.

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Boston College v Syracuse
SYRACUSE, NY - JANUARY 24: Tyus Battle #25 of the Syracuse Orange talks with head coach Jim Boeheim during the second half against the Boston College Eagles at the Carrier Dome on January 24, 2018 in Syracuse, New York. Syracuse defeated Boston College 81-63.
Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images

For the second straight season a Syracuse player, in this case Tyus Battle, paces the ACC in floor time.

Syracuse has been in the conference for five years. At least one of its players has ranked annually among the ACC’s top two in minutes played per game in each of those seasons.

The Orange contended immediately for a spot in the upper echelon upon entering the league, finishing second in 2014. Mostly, though, despite their Hall of Fame coach and their tradition, they’ve been mediocre at best since joining the ACC. The ‘Cuse finished 8th in the league in 2015, tied for 9th in 2016, tied for 7th with two other teams last season. Right now, coming off a win at Louisville, Syracuse is 10th at 5-6.

In other words, not particularly noteworthy other than a surprise Final Four trip in 2016.

To be sure, there are plenty of explanations for the dip in fortunes, from injuries to recruiting misses, early departures to an NCAA probation to bad breaks. One might wonder, however, if pushing key performers to their physical limits game after game is a factor.

In four of five ACC seasons the Orange have had at least a pair of performers among the leaders in minutes played per game. This year they have three.

Right now guard Tyus Battle is atop the ACC with 38.6 minutes logged per contest. He played all 40 minutes in the win against the Cardinals the other night, as did teammate Frank Howard, third in the league in minutes played. If Battle’s average stands through season’s end, it will be the most usage for any league player since Virginia guard Curtis Staples accumulated 39.1 minutes per outing in 30 games in 1998.

Syracuse Players Among ACC Leaders in Minutes Played Per Game
(Since School Joined League, Through Games of Feb. 5, 2018)
Year Rank Player Mins. Gs Total Mins.
2018 1 Tyus Battle 38.6 24 926
2 Oshae Brissett 37.96 24 911
3 Frank Howard 37.92 24 910
2017 1 Andrew White III 37.2 34 1266
2 Tyler Lydon 36.1 34 1227
2016 2 Michael Gbinije 37.9 37 1403
4 Trevor Cooney 36.4 37 1347
2015 2 Trevor Cooney 37.3 31 1156
2014 2 C.J. Fair 37.8 34 1284
5 Tyler Ennis 35.7 34 1215

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