Item: In a final review, the ACC did Syracuse basketball no great favors in its first-year schedule.
Now maybe we know why last spring the ACC was so generous in gifting Syracuse conference (and ACC-Big Ten Challenge) home games with several big name, national championship programs in its first campaign, the flip side when the complete schedule was released Aug. 22 showed just one home game in the final two weeks of the season, a stretch that includes three straight road games.
It was great to hear in April-May that Duke, North Carolina, N.C. State, and Indiana would be Dome visitors this season, but finishing up at Duke (and a first visit to crazy Cameron Indoor Stadium) in the completion of the home-and-home pairing on a Sat. night, Feb. 22, playing two days later on Big Monday at Maryland and then five days later at Virginia, is as unbalanced as the three straight home games the Orange have in hosting Duke Feb. 1, Notre Dame two nights later on Big Monday, then Clemson the following Sunday Feb. 9.
After the ‘Cuse three game road stretch, the final home game is a Tuesday(?) night against Georgia Tech, then the regular season finale on the last Sunday of the season at Florida State, making four out of the final five games on the road, and finishing three days before the start of the ACC Tournament.
And, as in the Big East days, if SU finishes in the top four, it is off until Friday’s quarterfinals in Greensboro, five days between games against an opponent who’s had a victory (or two) under its belt.
Sure, ESPN dictates the dates and times of all conference games as the primary rights holder, but four out of five on the road at the end of what will no doubt be a competitive ACC is a little tilted.