Item: Monday’s announcement that Syracuse will host Indiana November 30 in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, continues to firm up the 2021-22 Orange basketball schedule. Likely games against longtime upstate rivals Colgate and Cornell, will complete the previously announced nine other non-conference matchups to add to the 20 ACC games. The week prior to meeting the Hoosiers (Thanksgiving Week), SU will have finished its three games in the 10th rendition of the Battle 4 Atlantis on beautiful Paradise Island in the Bahamas, against programs it knows well.
It’s viewed as one of the most challenging early-season tournaments in college hoops; 12 games played over three days in the intimate atmosphere of the converted Imperial Ballroom inside the Atlantis resort’s humongous Royal Towers.
The ‘Cuse has met all seven other 2021 contestants in previous games, with four of those prior contests occurring in the NCAA Tournament.
Here’s a look back (in alphabetical order) at Syracuse’s most recent games against each of the other 2021 Battle for Atlantis participants (year played in parentheses):
- Arizona State (2018)-For the first time in its rich NCAA Tournament history, Syracuse, the last team selected to the field, had to play in the First Four in Dayton, drawing the Pac 12’s Sun Devils. SU rallied from seven down with 7:00 to play to post a 60-56 upset led by Oshae Brissett’s 23-point, 12-rebound performance.
- Auburn (2003)-Who can ever forget the closest margin of victory in the six wins on route to the national title was the 79-78 squeaker over the Tigers in the Sweet 16 at Albany? The final margin came after an Auburn three-pointer with 0:02 left in regulation cut the lead to one. Eventual tournament MOP Carmelo Anthony had 18-points, and Josh Pace had 14-points off the bench.
- Baylor (2019)-If SU meets Baylor and Connecticut (see below) in the Bahamas, the Orange will amazingly dual the last eight national champions (and 11-of-13) on this year’s schedule. Think about that agenda. The now defending national titlist Bears hammered the SU zone with 16 3-pointers on route to a 78-69 win in Salt Lake City, in an 8/9 game in the NCAA tournament.
- Connecticut (2018)-The former Big East rivals have played 95 times, but the last meeting still stings. SU was ranked 15th going into the 2K Classic game at Madison Square Garden early in the 2018-19 season, but poor shooting (SU missed 40 of its 66 shots), including going just 6-for-22 from beyond the arc, did in the Orange 83-76. Tyus Battle led Syracuse with 16-points.
- Loyola-Chicago (1986)-In the season-opener in the Dome on route to a magical campaign that would end with the haunting loss to Indiana in the ‘87 NCAA championship game, the Orangemen dominated the second half beating the Ramblers 87-66. Interestingly, Derek Brower started at center instead of Rony Seikaly for the first three games of that season.
- Michigan State (2018)-Does Jim Boeheim “own” fellow Hall of Famer Tom Izzo in their coaching matchups? Since MSU’s second half comeback (down 10) in Auburn Hills, Mich. in the 2000 NCAA Sweet 16, Boeheim and SU have won the last five meetings, none bigger than the tantalizing 55-53 ‘Cuse surprise in the NCAA Round of 32 in Detroit. Remember Braedon Bayer?
- Virginia Commonwealth (1992)-Flanked by the fellow starters Red Autry, Mike Hopkins, John Wallace, and Lawrence Moten, manning the middle of the zone in the third game of the season in the Dome against the Rams, was none other than Dave Siock. While Conrad McRae would soon become the starter, Siock contributed 4-points in 10 minutes as SU beat VCU 94-81.