Last season the Syracuse Orange were able to sneak into the NCAA Tournament as the last team in the field in part thanks to its challenging non-conference schedule, which included an important quadrant one win against Buffalo.
This season, Syracuse has another challenging schedule before conference play. Serving as the director of basketball operations (DOBO for short) is Kip Wellman. Among other duties, Kip is responsible for scheduling opponents in the non-conference, which was recently finalized. With that in mind, we reached out to him for a Q&A which you can read below.
James Szuba: So how has your summer been?
Kip Wellman: We had a great summer. My wife and I have a son on the way at the end of September, so maybe my summer has been better than hers!
JS: Be honest, do you read Nunes? Perhaps you’re familiar with John’s running list of complaints with football scheduling?
KW: I get most of my Nunes fix from Twitter. I am familiar but I try to stay over on the basketball side as much as possible.
JS: Okay, so the non-conference schedule was a big reason why Syracuse got the last at-large bid in the tournament last year. How much credit are you willing to take?
KW: Haha. 0%!! At the end of the day, coach Boeheim does the schedule and should get 100% of the credit. I just try to give him the best options as I see them and let him make the decisions. He has a good feel for what we need.
JS: So moving into this season’s non-conference schedule, what were some challenges with potential teams and dates?
KW: The biggest challenge is always making the dates fit. Sometimes it’s like doing a puzzle without any of the border pieces.
JS: Were there any teams you would have liked to get on the schedule but couldn’t?
KW: Not really, we are fortunate that teams want to come play us, they want to play in the Carrier Dome and play against Syracuse.
JS: How do you factor in preseason tournaments and balance the remaining portion of the schedule?
KW: I definitely factor it in, but for the most part, we are playing high quality teams in those tournaments, so they help when you’re trying to put together the best resume you can.
JS: Good to see Buffalo and St. Bonaventure back on the schedule again this year, was it hard to get those games?
KW: Not at all, both schools have been great to work with regarding scheduling. When those teams are as good as they have been recently, it benefits us because we want to play “local” teams. I think our fan base appreciates seeing those teams come to the Dome.
JS: There are some new names on the schedule this year, viz., Old Dominion, Arkansas State. How did that come about?
KW: Both teams fit what we were trying to do with our schedule this year, and both teams were able to make the dates work, that’s a huge part.
JS: Do you see continuity with the old Big East rivalry games going forward beyond this season (UConn, Georgetown)?
KW: We definitely talk about it as an option. Again I think it’s something our fan base wants to see and appreciates. Plus you are getting a quality opponent so I think it makes sense.
JS: Has there been any talk of trying to get a game with Washington on the schedule, perhaps a homecoming of sorts for Hop?
KW: Not a lot at this point. It’s tough to schedule too many “Home and Homes” because of the new 20 game ACC schedule. I will leave those conversations to Hop and Coach Boeheim!
JS: Lastly for fun, who’s your favorite Syracuse basketball player of all-time?
KW: Man that’s tough. I am biased to the guys I was able to coach and work with when I was a GA. Guys like Gerry, Eric, Demetris Nichols, Jonny Flynn, etc. But we have been fortunate here to have so many guys that you get excited to see on a day to day basis.
Big thanks to Kip for taking the time to do this, and congrats to the junior on the way!
Looking forward to another challenging non-conference slate before heading into ACC play. While we’re still waiting on official dates for conference games (ACC, anyone there?), home and away games have been announced.
What do you think of the schedule this year? Would you still like to see Syracuse play Georgeotwn and UConn moving forward? Leave your thoughts in the comment section and see full non-conference schedule listed below.
- November 6: Eastern Washington Eagles (2K Classic)
- November 10: Morehead State Eagles (2K Classic)
- November 15: UConn Huskies (at MSG)
- November 16: Oregon Ducks/Iowa Hawkeyes (at MSG)
- November 21: Colgate Raiders
- November 28: at Ohio State Buckeyes (ACC/B1G Challenge)
- December 1: Cornell Big Red
- December 4: Northeastern Huskies
- December 8: Georgetown Hoyas
- December 15: Old Dominion Monarchs
- December 18: Buffalo Bulls
- December 22: Arkansas State Red Wolves
- December 29: St. Bonaventure Bonnies