Syracuse Basketball: Orange ACC Introduction Surrounded By Excitement

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

There was one theme that surrounded Syracuse's introduction to the ACC basketball world Wednesday -- excitement.

ACC media members were going gaga over the color Orange Wednesday at the league's preaseason media day in Charlotte, N.C.

Represented by head coach Jim Boeheim and seniors C.J. Fair and Baye Moussa Keita, the Syracuse Orange basketball squad's introduction to its new conference was one of the, if not the, main topic.

"That's the first basketball question I have been asked in what seven hours now?" Boeheim joked with a smile when asked about his inexperienced back court at his 2 p.m. press conference.

That's pretty much how it went for Boeheim, who earlier in the week compared going through media day to going to the dentist without Novocaine. However, behind his snarkiness the 68-year-old coach did express some excitement about starting a new chapter.

"I don't think I've seen our fans this excited for basketball in years," Boeheim said, who was surprised to hear Syracuse's home game against Duke, Feb. 1, had already sold out after having tickets go on sale Tuesday morning. "It is nice to see that they have embraced this league."

"You hear a lot of talk about Duke and North Carolina, Tobacco Road, stuff like that," Fair said during his morning session interview. "I'm excited to be facing new teams. That's really what I'm excited about. "

Not only were Syracuse players asked about the ACC, but nearly every single opposing player and head coach were asked about the league's newcomers.

"It's kind of weird looking around the room and not knowing most of the players," Virginia's Akil Mitchell said about the Syracuse, Notre Dam and Pitt players.

"Never been to New York, so excited to go there and play Syracuse," Miami's Rion Brown said.

"Syracuse has been a powerhouse in the country," said Boston College's Ryan Andreson. "They're always pulling out NBA guys. They always have a great team, led by a great coach. Any time you bring a team like, that you get to play against them, it's an honor, great chance to get a win against a great team. I think it's a great challenge. Everybody likes competing against the best teams. When you bring one of the best, it makes it better."

Clemson's Jordan Roper and K.J. McDainels said they can't wait to visit Syracuse over Notre Dame and Pitt.

"I think it would be cool to go to Syracuse, the Carrier Dome. History with Carmelo Anthony," said Roper.

Duke's Tyler Thorton called the future meeting between Syracuse and Duke a historical moment.

"Definitely looking forward to playing the newcomers into the ACC, to have a fresh feeling. But you would have never thought that we would have a home and away with Syracuse in a million years. For it to happen is going to be amazing."

Thorton's teammate Rodney Hood mentioned the possibility of a solid rivalry between the two programs building.

"Like I said, it's going to be fun just from a competitive standpoint. Syracuse, UConn are rivals, them coming here, we want to create the same type of game, legendary games. Hopefully we going to win. It's going to be fun playing against those guys. It's going to be a challenge for both teams, for all teams coming into the ACC, and teams that have already been here."

The theme was all the same: This is exciting. Can't wait to get started. A tune which is much different from last year's Big East media day in New York City when it was very sentimental and everyone sort of wanted to stop time.

Though, Syracuse is entering new territory, oddly, the main questions about the 2-3 zone were the same. Thankfully, nobody asked the retirement question.

Boeheim did take a few shots at the media, including mentioning one national expert, not by name -- (cough, cough) Seth Davis -- picked the Orange to lose to Montana in the second round of last year's NCAA Tournament.

However, other than that Boeheim was pretty cool and calm. You could possibly blame the lack of a Jim Calhoun or Rick Pitino for that. Yet, give Boeheim a few seasons with Mike Krzyzewski and Roy Williams and that could change.

All-in-all, Wednesday was a bit odd but a kind of odd that you're not used to, however, really excited about learning more about.

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