The teams first met back in the days when Louie and Bouie were leading Syracuse in the Eastern College Athletic Conference, and the turn of the 1970s into the 1980s featured fairly regular matchups between Old Dominion and the Orange.
Old Dominion finished 15-3 in Conference USA, a league they joined in 2013-14, under head coach Jeff Jones. The Monarchs ranked seventh in the nation in points allowed in 2017-18, at 62.8 per game while holding opponents to 45 percent shooting from the field.
Their trio of double-figure scorers return in Ahmad Caver, B.J. Stith and Trey Porter as seniors. They topped the conference in three-point shooting at 38 percent and only graduate Brandon Stith among their top five producers on offense.
Last year they topped Louisiana Tech, then lost to Western Kentucky in the C-USA Tournament. ODU finished 64th in KenPom and 77th in the RPI. So obviously is trying to get the same sort of boost from the non-conference schedule this year that Buffalo and St. Bonaventure provided in 2017-18.
Back in 1977, before the Big East Conference was formed, the two teams faced off in in the ECAC Tournament right after Syracuse defeated St. Bonaventure. The Orangemen slid by the Monarchs 67-64, a low-scoring game that still couldn’t reach the muddiness of Syracuse’s 2018 NCAA Tournament games.
Under rookie head coach Jim Boeheim, the team reached sixth in the AP poll and burst into the NCAA Tournament through the Southern Region. Boeheim and company topped Tennessee in their first of many March Madness games through four decades, while Old Dominion fizzled out in the first round of the NIT.
In 1980 the two teams linked up in the non-conference schedule, with Old Dominion winning 68-67 by holding Orr and Bouie to 29 points combined. Danny Schayes led Syracuse to a blowout win at home, 71-58, in ‘81 as part of his 14 point per game senior year. 2018 will mark their first meeting since that one 37 years ago.
The ACC announced its conference schedule, including an SU home-and-home with Duke, last month. With Old Dominion added to the non-conference slate, we now know much of that portion of 2018-19, too.
The Orange will conclude its four-game series with Georgetown at the Carrier Dome. Then they will face two of Connecticut, Oregon and Iowa in the 2K Classic on November 15 and 16. For the Carrier Dome portion of the classic, SU will see two of Eastern Washington, Green Bay, Morehead State and Missouri-Kansas City. Cornell and Colgate, although unannounced, figure to be involved as part of longstanding tradition -- lifting the Orange up to nine games with an unknown Big Ten opponent.
That leaves four to go on top of all that scheduling jumble through New Year’s Day 2019. Along with adding another scholarship player, that leaves only slightly less guessing left to do in regards to what we’ll see from the Orange in the fall.