An oft-debated topic around these TNIAAM parts is scheduling — perhaps you’ve read the site before? And while usually it’s John pleading his case for football to schedule a bit more rationally, I figured I’d take this over to the basketball front and tell you why I think Syracuse got a favorable draw on the portion of its schedule that it doesn’t have much control over.
Last week the ACC schedule was released which means the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball schedule for 2017-2018 is now complete. While there’s some malaise over a weak home schedule in-conference and poor television exposure, I think Syracuse got a very favorable draw. I’m not talking through the lens of attendance or visibility, I’m looking at this solely through the lens of winnability. See Syracuse’s full ACC schedule below.
First, in terms of the repeat games, Syracuse plays Wake, Virginia, Pitt and BC. The latter two figure to finish near last place in the ACC. Wake is going to be young and also figures to finish near the bottom half of the conference. Virginia’s situation is a bit more opaque, so trying to peg its finish in conference is a bit difficult but the Hoos figure to be a middle-tier ACC team this year. So that’s four extra games Syracuse gets with middle- to bottom-tier foes in the conference and that should help the win column.
Secondly, Syracuse has a nice gap in between conference games which will give the guys time to recover and the coaching staff more time to prep. The Louisville road game on February 5 will be a tough turnaround after hosting Virginia on February 3, but that’s the only period where Syracuse will have to play a game with only one day in between. I’ll be waiting with bated breath for Jim to express his displeasure in the post game presser, having six days off after having played two games in three days following the Louisville game.
Nearly all Syracuse’s marquee games are on the road and while attendance will suffer, I actually think this will do more good than harm. Syracuse faces Louisville, Miami and Duke all away from home. The Orange are likely to lose those games irrespective of where they’re played anyway. It’s more honorable to lose on the road in the ACC and on the other side of the coin, the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee is placing more weight on high quality road wins this year. Opportunity knocks...
On top of that, Syracuse’s road schedule will be slightly assuaged by the fact that it won’t play more than two road games in a row at any point. This is something the ACC has done a good job of.
Syracuse also has a very winnable slate of home games and a young team might be able to benefit. In the end, Syracuse still has to play 18 games in the ACC which figures to be softer in the middle when bench-marked to last season. There are a plethora of unknowns about the team at this juncture but I think the schedule should help ever so slightly.
Agree? Disagree? Leave your long-winded qualms and frustrations below.