Orange Watch: 2019-2020 Syracuse basketball game-by-game predictions

Feb 20, 2019; Syracuse, NY, USA; Syracuse Orange forward Elijah Hughes (33) drives against the Louisville Cardinals during the Orange's 69-49 win at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Photo Credit: Kicia Sears, The Juice Online.

Item: It all begins Wednesday night (9:00 p.m. ET / ACCN) against defending national champion Virginia, a different Cavaliers team the one that cut down the nets in Minneapolis last spring, but obviously as formidable a home season opener as the Orange have faced since falling to Charlotte in 2003. While questions remain about this squad’s play inside, how it executes the zone defense and rebounds, and the ability to minimize self-forced errors, the 44th version of a Jim Boeheim-coached team will feature young players growing by the game, a lot of three-point shots, and will be fun to watch. Hope you’re not shut out of getting the ACC Network.

It’s a hard to gaze into the 31 games crystal ball through early March 2020, just as the Dome roof gets ready for its retro-fit, but here goes:

  1. Virginia–W: Elijah Hughes makes it a night to remember with the game-winning three-point basket.
  2. Colgate–W: The 54th straight victory over the Raiders, although tougher than expected.
  3. Seattle-W: The Redhawks were picked third in the WAC behind N.M. State and Grand Canyon.
  4. Cornell-W: In Jim vs. Jimmy III, and Jimmy vs. Buddy II, it’s Orange over Red for the 40th consecutive win.
  5. Bucknell-W: The Bison were picked second behind Colgate in the Patriot League preseason poll.
  6. Oklahoma State-L: A late lead slips away, it stings to lose at Barclays Center, the season’s first defeat.
  7. Penn State-W: The bounce back in Brooklyn two days later is impressive against a tough opponent.
  8. Iowa-L: A 10-point second half lead vanishes at the regulation buzzer, and the stunned Orange fall in OT.
  9. Georgia Tech-W: The first true road game is a nail-biter until a dose of three pointers in the final 5:00.
  10. Georgetown-L: Patrick Ewing has his team focused and the Orange are upset on a late basket.
  11. Oakland-W: The Golden Grizzles will make the ‘Cuse work hard before late free throws ice matters.
  12. North Florida-W: Making their professor coach happy, SU rolls the Ospreys into the Holiday break.
  13. Niagara-W: We wish nothing but the best for former Orange QB Greg Paulus, he has paid his coaching dues this decade.
  14. Notre Dame-L: A big wake-up call that conference play and a new decade are here.
  15. Virginia Tech-W: It will take the Hokies time to jell with new coach Mike Young.
  16. Virginia-L: The improved Cavaliers are not hospitable in the wrap-up of the home-and-home series.
  17. Boston College-W: Plenty of scoring makes this a fun game at the Dome.
  18. Virginia Tech-W: It’s closer this time around in Blacksburg, but the young Orange players savor the road.
  19. Notre Dame-L: This is one of Mike Brey’s best teams in his 20 years at South Bend.
  20. Pittsburgh-W: It’s good, bad, and some ugly, but Guerrier, Goodine and Girard standout. “Gee-Whiz.”
  21. Clemson-W: Welcome Home, Robert Earl Braswell IV.
  22. Duke-L: Please, Jim Boeheim, wear orange jerseys to make this a true “Orange Out” in front of 35,000.
  23. Wake Forest-W: The frosh put on a show that elicits a smile or two from the Hall of Famer on his court.
  24. North Carolina State-W: This will end up as one of the best victories of the season.
  25. Florida State-L: This will end up as one of the worst defeats of the season.
  26. Louisville-L: This will end up as one of the worst defeats of the season-Part II.
  27. Georgia Tech-W: The perfect opponent at the perfect time on the schedule.
  28. Pittsburgh-W: What’s New? Another 20-win season for Coach Boeheim. His 36th.
  29. North Carolina-L: We’re excited as well to see what kind of season frosh Cole Anthony has for UNC.
  30. Boston College-W: Hughes helps take the Orange on his shoulders to hold off a BC second-half rally.
  31. Miami-W: Ready for postseason; a balanced offense and tight zone spark a road upset of the ‘Canes.
  32. Miami-W: Guess who SU sees four days later in Greensboro? This time it’s the Orange by eight over UM.
  33. Louisville-L: The Cardinals begin a Final Four run by advancing to the ACC semifinals.
  34. Georgia-W: As the Number-7 seed in the south region at Tampa, SU gets by the No. 10 seed Bulldogs.
  35. Florida-L: A virtual home game for the No 2 seed Gators, 130 miles from Gainesville, they end the ‘Cuse season with a big second half.

» Related: 2018-19 Syracuse basketball review and 2019-20 first look

  • Final Regular Season Record: 21-10, 13-7 ACC
  • ACC Tournament: 1-1
  • NCAA Tournament No. 7 seed
  • South Region: 1-1-Round of 32.

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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.