In the ACC, Quentin Hillsman and the Orange are guaranteed to face a few elite teams every year. But this season, Syracuse will take on several ranked teams even before the conference slate begins.
On Friday, SU Athletics released Syracuse's 13-game non-conference schedule. It includes three teams from last season's final AP Poll -- No. 5 Baylor, No. 14 Penn State and No. 20 Michigan State. Depending on the first round of the Junkanoo Jam, Syracuse could also play No. 8 South Carolina Gamecocks on Nov. 28.
"I think this non-conference schedule is really well balanced," Hillsman said. "It provides us with some tough tests against other top teams from major conferences that will prepare us for ACC and postseason play."
The ACC announced Syracuse's conference matchups back in May, but have yet to release the dates and times of those games.
The full non-conference schedule can be found here:
Syracuse Women's Basketball Schedule
Sunday, November 16: Fordham at Syracuse
Wednesday, November 19: Syracuse at Duquesne
Saturday, November 22: Syracuse at Jacksonville
Thursday, November 27: Junkanoo Jam, Syracuse vs. East Carolina (Bahamas)
Friday, November 28: Junkanoo Jam, Syracuse vs. South Carolina/Wisconsin (Bahamas)
Monday, December 1: Vermont at Syracuse
Thursday, December 4: ACC/B1G Challenge, Penn State at Syracuse
Sunday, December 14: N.C. Central at Syracuse
Tuesday, December 16: Canisius at Syracuse
Friday, December 19: Florida Sunshine Tournament, Syracuse vs. Baylor (Orlando, Fla.)
Sunday, December 21: Florida Sunshine Tournament, Syracuse vs. Michigan State (Orlando, Fla.)
Sunday, December 28: Cornell at Syracuse
Tuesday, December 30: Central Connecticut State at Syracuse
A few observations and notes...
- It's one of the hardest non-conference schedules during Hillsman's tenure. There are a few easy home opponents, but that's no longer the majority of the schedule.
- Stop the #narrative that Syracuse doesn't travel. Six of 13 non-conference games are on the road. There are trips to the Bahamas, Orlando, Jacksonville and Pittsburgh.
- A sign of recent Syracuse success -- drawing powerhouse Penn State in the ACC/B1G Challenge.
- If Brittney Sykes (knee) returns in time to face the Nittany Lions, it will be her first game against the school she originally committed to.
- Vermont, if you think we've forgotten about 2005, think again.
- Syracuse officially added 6-6 center Michelle Van Dyke to its roster last week. She has three years of eligibility after originally committing to SU for volleyball. In high school, Van Dyke was a two-sport athlete for Eastern Christian in North Haledon, N.J. Colleges such as Bucknell Loyola, and Navy recruited her for basketball.