Orange Watch: Syracuse basketball non-conference schedule close to finished

With all but one game (unofficially) left to be announced, the SU basketball non-ACC schedule features several early tests
With all but one game (unofficially) left to be announced, the SU basketball non-ACC schedule features several early tests

Item: With this week’s announcement that Syracuse will host Maryland Monday, November 27th as part of the previously released 2017 ACC-Big Ten Challenge matchups, it will set up a “mini-NCAA style” week for the Orange just about midway through the non-league portion of the schedule with a game against Kansas following five days later on a neutral court at Miami (an AmericanAirlines Arena doubleheader with Miami versus Princeton also on the bill). Presently, 11 of the 13 non-ACC ‘Cuse games have officially been announced, with Iona reportedly the 12th game, leaving a seemingly open window on Sat. Dec. 9, plus two exhibition games left to nail down.

As is the case with the future Syracuse football schedules, an ideal mix of one Power Five conference opponent or Notre Dame, along with a couple of games against teams from the Group of Five non-College Football Playoff automatic qualifying conferences, and a game against a FCS level team, the basketball team’s annual non-ACC portion of the schedule has evolved into a similar mix over the seven weeks from the start of the season until the first league games right around New Year’s Day.

With the 12 (we’ll include Iona) opponents known so far, SU opens Nov. 10 with an Ivy League team in Cornell coming off an 8-21 season, followed four days later by Iona (Metro Atlantic), a 22-13 record and NCAA team last year.

The next three games come as the benefit of playing in the Miami Hoophill Invitational; three consecutive home games to boost the season total to the maximum 31 regular season games, a 13/18, non-league/ACC split.

Texas Southern (SWAC) a 23-12 and NCAA team last season, followed by Oakland (Horizon) 25-9 to the NIT last year, and Toledo (MAC) 17-17 last year and to the CBI, make up the Hoophill trio of games which are followed by the Maryland (ACC) and Kansas (Big 12) games over that five day span.

From Miami to Madison Square Garden on Dec. 5 the Orange faces Connecticut (American) 17-19 last season, for the third straight year on a neutral court and a shot at a preseason non-Dome victory.

» Related: Syracuse basketball has rich history of first round NBA Draft selections

The next announced game is at Georgetown (Big East) Dec. 19, with the Hoyas coming off a 14-18 season and Jim Boeheim facing a first-time coaching opponent Patrick Ewing, while trying to beat GU for the first time in three games since joining the ACC.

Upstate schools Buffalo (MAC) and old rival Saint Bonaventure (Atlantic 10), coming off 17-15 and 20-12 seasons, respectively, plus old friend Rob Murphy and Eastern Michigan (MAC) 16-17 last year, round out the non-ACC games prior to New Year’s Day, and balance out the strength of schedule to provide the best opportunity for a young team to bolster its overall resume for the eventual dissection of the entire season by the NCAA Tournament selection committee.

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About Brad Bierman 848 Articles
Now in his sixth 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.