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Who will Syracuse Basketball face to open the 2019-20 ACC season?

The options are probably small but let’s discuss

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Midwest Regional-Syracuse vs Duke Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

A few years ago the ACC decided to play some conference football games during the first week of the season and now with the launch of the ACC Network (and move to 20 conference games next year) men’s basketball is going to follow suit in 2019.

This isn’t a huge shocker because last summer David Teel reported that the ACC was looking to do this as a way of launching the ACC Network with some interesting content. Commissioner John Swofford doesn’t want to hear your concerns that teams won’t be ready to play a conference game right away because it’s really all about the bottom line fans.

“It would be exciting in terms of a new network,” Swofford said, “and would bring people to the network right at the beginning of the season. … I think fans would be into it both from a network standpoint as well as from a competition standpoint.

“If we could arrange it where almost every school played, that would be a heck of a way to start the basketball season. It would have a tremendous pop to it.”

Since it’s likely that the Syracuse Orange are going to be one of those teams playing right away which opponent are we likely to see? I don’t think it’s going to be that hard to narrow down that list. Every opening week match-up should be between teams scheduled to play twice a season. I think the ACC is going to try and go the rivals route and for Syracuse it means we’re probably seeing the Pittsburgh Panthers or Boston College Eagles.

NCAA Basketball: Boston College at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Why one of these teams? Well you’ll get the “old Big East rivals” label and the fact that these teams are going to play a second time later in the year means that the loser gets the opportunity to even up the series. You also give the coaches a little less to complain about when you schedule them against a school they’ve been playing twice per year and should have more familiarity with than other conference foes. While neither game seems overly exciting to Orange fans, it’s certainly a bit more appealing to casual college basketball fans than a Syracuse-Colgate opener. As the ACC looks to close the revenue gap with the other P5 leagues it’s clear that Swofford believes the opening week games can help jump start the new network venture.

Immediate reaction yesterday was negative and certainly fans can worry about jumping right into conference play, but we’ve seen a growing number of teams facing off in closed-door scrimmages against other P5 squads. When you also add in the two exhibition games teams typically play there are opportunities to shake off some rust before the opener. As it is with most radical changes like this, next year will be tougher for fans to adjust to then the teams. If the change leads to increased revenue for the ACC schools it will be certainly be worthwhile.

Do you expect to see BC or Pitt in next year’s opener or do you think it will be someone else? Let us know in the comments.