Last week Syracuse announced its final non-conference game of the 2022 season, with Northeastern playing in the JMA Wireless Dome on Nov. 19.
Syracuse went 7-5 in non conference last season after a historical home loss to Colgate in the beginning of the year. With a younger roster, Orange head coach Jim Boeheim appears to want to ease his team into the season as compared to 2021. As we approach 100 days until college hoops is back, here is a preview of Syracuse’s non-conference schedule.
Confident Wins: Lehigh, Oakland, Cornell, Northeastern
All three of these mid-major programs struggled last season while not making much noise in the offseason.
- Lehigh: The Mountain Hawks went 13-19 last season and has a very similar roster following the disappointing season.
- Cornell: The Big Red finished 15-11 but lost in the Dome last season by just 12.
- Oakland: Oakland went 20-12, and could make the argument they shouldn’t be in the “confident win” category. But they also struggled late in the season last year, and a young roster in 2022 should result in a win for Syracuse.
- Northeastern: The Huskies were 9-22 a year ago, and SU owns an 8-0 all-time series advantage against them.
Contest-Makers: Colgate, Monmouth, Georgetown, Bryant
Most teams within this category have had recent history with Syracuse causing reason to believe in a close contest.
- Colgate: Infamously, Colgate defeated the Orange last season in the Dome for the first time in 60+ and went on to have a historical season that led to an NCAA Tournament appearance. With much of that roster returning, the Red Raiders will once again challenge SU this year in the Dome.
- Georgetown: Despite going 6-25 and 0-19 in conference, Georgetown still managed to beat Syracuse in 2021 during non-conference play. The Hoyas behind coach Patrick Ewing have a lot of work to do this offseason. But it is still an intense rivalry game, and the Hoyas should never be counted out.
- Bryant: Bryant in 2020 to open the season came to Syracuse and fought until the buzzer, losing 85-84. Playing strong non-conference opponents such as Clemson and Houston last season, Bryant gained experience while making it to the 2022 First Four. They will be coming into the Dome looking to get the job done this time even with their national leading scorer guard Peter Kiss departing.
- Monmouth: As for Monmouth, a 21-13 season ended in the MAAC Championship with a loss to Saint Peters who would go on to make an NCAA Tournament Elite Eight run. With a similarly constructed roster this season, Monmouth will play well when visiting the Orange.
Nail-Biting Grind: Illinois, 2k Empire Classic
- Illinois: Despite getting upset in the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments last season, the Fighting Illini still pose as the biggest threat for Syracuse in non-conference play. At 23-10 in a top basketball conference in the Big 10, Illinois in recent years has been an elite program under Brad Underwood. Adding fifth year transfer Matthew Mayer of Baylor and Top 50 four star recruits Skyy Clark and Ty Rodgers, Illinois will be a battle for the Orange in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
- 2k Empire Classic: This season, the tournament features Syracuse, St. John’s, Temple, and Richmond. Richmond as a 12-seed upset Iowa in the NCAA Tournament in 2022 and look to improve their mid-major reputation as it grows. St. John’s finished over .500 while playing in the Big East and add two Top 100 recruits in forwards A.J. Storr and Brandon Gardner. Meanwhile, Temple finished the season 17–12 (10–7 AAC), and did not appear in a postseason tournament.