Orange Watch: The renewal of Syracuse basketball facing Georgetown fits perfectly in non-conference schedule

Jan 12, 2019; Syracuse, NY, USA; Syracuse Orange guard Buddy Boeheim (35) drives while being defended by Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets forward Michael Devoe (0) during the second half of the Yellow Jackets' 73-59 win over Syracuse at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Photo Credit: Kicia Sears, The Juice Online.

Item: April’s announcement that Syracuse and Georgetown will continue to play annually over the next four seasons is good news.  It brings the best of both worlds to Orange basketball and its followers with frequent appearances in the fertile Washington, D.C. recruiting region, before conference games get underway in full swing come the first of the year. Georgetown was the best all-time SU rivalry from its Big East days, and to still have the Hoyas on the slate each year while also regularly playing the likes of Duke, North Carolina, and Virginia, provides exactly the out of conference strength of schedule that helps Jim Boeheim prepare his team for what will now be a grueling 20 game league marathon.

It simply cannot be underestimated how huge the ACC Network is going to be in the evolution of the conference into the 2020s and beyond when it debuts on August 22, 2019 (10 weeks away).

Why just this week the league media relations folks sent out a release touting the “unprecedented coverage” of women’s sports beginning this fall, among the some 1,350 overall ACC events, including the basketball season opener for the ‘Cuse when defending national champion Virginia invades the Dome on Nov. 6.

The intentional withholding of key programming to further showcase the value of the TV network co-owned by ESPN, and with impressive national/regional carriage deals (DirecTV, Verizon, Google) already on the table, also means radically changing the scheduling philosophy of most coaches who prefer to ease into the season.

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Throw in the fact that not only is Virginia the Orange opener, but with Georgetown set for Dec. 14 in D.C., a home game with Iowa Dec. 3 in the ACC-Big Ten event, neutral court games in Brooklyn Thanksgiving Week against the likes of power conference schools Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, and Penn State, and a previously announced game with Cornell (Nov. 20) means there are still six non-league games to schedule in the Dome.

It’s also shaping up as a season in which the ACC schedule figures to be top-heavy with Dome games, like Virginia in Nov., and also features Duke and North Carolina headed to campus before the athletic department vacates the building for roof renovations on March 1, 2020.

The new 20 game ACC schedule expands Syracuse’s home-and-home games to six opponents, the annual meetings with Boston College and Pittsburgh, joined in 2019-2020 by aforementioned Virginia, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, and Notre Dame.

Even with all of that high-end ACC talent, there’s still always a place for Georgetown among the 11 non-league games each year.

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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.