Orange Watch: Two teams that have faced Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim the most

Jim Boeheim
Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim speaks to a referee. Mandatory Photo Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Item: With Thursday’s announcement of Cornell being added to the 2018-19 Syracuse basketball schedule, along with previously released dates naming Old Dominion as a Dome foe and the list of potential opponents for the 2K Classic games on campus (Eastern Washington, Green Bay, Morehead State, UMKC) and at Madison Square Garden (Connecticut (what, again?), Iowa, and Oregon), it got us thinking which team has the most seniority (seasons played) when it comes to being down the opposite bench meeting one of Jim Boeheim’s teams over his five decade career?  

Now that Syracuse has built five years of ACC equity playing each conference team at least once on an annual basis, while building a non-conference schedule that has been refined and tweaked over the last decade to produce the best possible chances of winning, or at minimum establishing enough of a potent strength of schedule to merit serious NCAA consideration.

The scheduling formula produced the amazing Final Four runs in 2013 and ’16, and this past season’s stunning three win ride to the Sweet 16, and it confirms moving forward there will only be a certain handful of teams the Orange can schedule on an annual basis to fill out its usual 31 games.

Throw in the fact that the ACC is going to a 20 game regular season schedule in 2019-20 to coincide with the launch of the new linear ACC Network, and that’s two less non-conference opponents to figure into the annual strength of schedule discussions, and will put a spotlight on the annual home/away rotations which pits SU against Duke and Clemson (in addition to permanent partners Boston College and Pittsburgh) for the upcoming season.

» Related: Syracuse announcement of Dome renovations comes minus a name

While it may seem like Cornell or Colgate are the opponents that Jim Boeheim has faced in more seasons than any other because each upstate New York school seemingly appears on the schedule each year, they are not.  The teams that Boeheim has faced in more of his 42 seasons than any other are…Pittsburgh and St. John’s, followed closely by Connecticut and Georgetown.

Here is the top four list with the number in parentheses the number of seasons the teams did NOT meet between 1976-77 and 2017-18.:

  • Pittsburgh – (2) 1980-81, 1981-82
  • St. John’s – (2) 2001-02, 2017-18
  • Georgetown – (3) 1976-77, 1977-78, 2013-14
  • Connecticut – (3) 1976-77, 2001-02, 2013-14
  • Both Colgate and Cornell have not been on the schedule in 11 of Boeheim’s 42 seasons.

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Brad Bierman
About Brad Bierman 505 Articles
Now in his fifth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.