Syracuse Basketball: What Big East Teams Should Syracuse Schedule in the Future?

USA TODAY Sports

A series with St. John's has already been announced, and there have been implications that Syracuse will continue the rivalries with Georgetown and UConn eventually. What other soon-to-be-former Big East rivals should Syracuse hoop with going forward?

I doubt many were surprised when it was made official that Syracuse and St. John's would continue their basketball series going forward, after Syracuse and their old Big East friends go their separate ways. The Johnnies aren't Syracuse's biggest, or second biggest, or even third biggest rival in all likelihood (at least on our end; they don't seem to like us too much), but they are a solid rising program that happens to play in one of our program's favorite buildings - Madison Square Garden. That last fact is reason enough for Dr. Gross to get this one set up right away.

Since the St. John's announcement, a lot of talk has started surrounding the Georgetown and Connecticut series. People can debate which one is more important/the bigger rivalry (it's Georgetown), but they are clearly numbers one and two in the discussion no matter who is behind them. I would love for both of these series to continue, as well as a few others from our current conference slate, but odds are not all of these rivalries will continue every year just due to scheduling constraints, and some of the series will fall by the wayside forever.

So who should we keep on playing on a regular basis?

Georgetown:

The Hoyas are Syracuse's historic rival, they always give us a good game, there is a ton of animosity between the two fanbases, and they are in Washington D.C. which is home to a very large Syracuse alumni base. It would be a travesty if these two couldn't work something out. My only caveat? I would tell the Hoyas to shove it if they don't give up the ticketing BS. Syracuse is a huge draw for Georgetown at the Verizon Center, so our fans should at least get a somewhat fair shot at tickets to the game. Either way, I'm fairly sure they will figure something out.

Likelihood: High

Connecticut:

Obviously, there is also a ton of history with UConn, especially over the last few decades. Trips to either Hartford or Storrs are easy enough for fans from Syracuse, Boston, or New York, although as HoyaSuxa noted in this week's TNIAAM Podcast, the XL Center really sucks. The Huskies are also a big draw up at the Dome. There may be a bit of reluctance to give the Huskies games for a few years as they tread water in the "Big East", and there does seem to be some hurt feelings after Syracuse reportedly lobbied for Louisville in the race for the most recent ACC addition.

Likelihood: Medium

Marquette:

I'd rather not, if we're being honest. Marquette is a really solid program, but not one we have much history with before they joined the Big East. Their style of play gives us fits, even when we beat them, and they aren't in a huge area for Syracuse alums. I wouldn't bet on seeing much of Buzz Williams 'round these parts after this year.

Likelihood: Low

Villanova:

We've been playing the Wildcats for a while, the series has been very competitive, the rivalry was at its peak recently around 2009-2010, and Villanova is right near a city with a big Syracuse presence in Philadelphia. Despite the loss, I really enjoyed my trip to the Wells Fargo Center a few weeks ago, and I would hate to lose that trip.

Likelihood: High

Cincinnati:

Very similar to Marquette. There isn't the history of a St. John's or a Villanova, nor is Cincinnati a city that is as important to Syracuse's footprint. The Bearcats are a solid program, so they might be fun to play every once in a while, but I don't ever see it becoming a regular thing, unless they successfully court the ACC.

Likelihood: Low

Providence:

Well, we know Boeheim likes the food. Providence is a nice New England trip for Syracuse, and almost always a very winnable game. We could use a few trips like this that will help take away from the annoying "Syracuse never leaves New York state rabble rabble rabble" buzz that we always get, without a huge risk of dropping a game. Plus, it is way better than Newark.

Likelihood: Medium

Rutgers:

Rutgers is an easy trip for the fans and the team, but I don't get the sense that they really appreciate our fans taking over their arena or our point guards embarrassing their star players to where they end up transferring schools. The Knights will have their hands full in the Big Ten, so I doubt they really want to put us on the schedule to make things worse.

Likelihood: Low

DePaul:

What's DePaul? Is that a school that plays basketball?

Likelihood: Low

Seton Hall:

I could see us making the trip down to play the Pirates every so often, although I wish they didn't play in Newark. The Rock is a cool arena, it's right near New York which is always big for us, and hell...there's a Dinosaur BBQ a stone's throw away from any games there. Still though...Newark...yuck.

Likelihood: Medium

South Florida:

I think they get a lot more out of our games with them than we do, at least in terms of ticket sales. While playing games in Florida is fun, we'll have plenty of those in the ACC. As a total aside, what happened to them? I thought the Bulls would be decent this year after their nice run last season. What a trainwreck.

Likelihood: Low

West Virginia:

They went out of their way to burn every bridge (and couch) they could on their way out of the Big East, their fans spend most of their time on twitter spreading whatever they can in an effort to weaken the ACC after being denied entry, and last time we went there, 'Neers fans threw things at our players on the court. It'd be fun for football, but for basketball I'm gonna say no.

Likelihood: Low

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