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Which two teams could Syracuse basketball schedule to finish non-conference?

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Someone ask Kip Wellman.

Big East Championship: UCONN v Syracuse Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Two opponents were revealed last week as part of the 2019-20 Syracuse Orange basketball non-conference schedule. North Florida and Colgate will take trips to the Carrier Dome for the upcoming basketball season and with that, the Orange now just have two slots remaining for non-conference adversaries.

For those that might have let it slip from memory, the ACC is going to 20 league games this season and with the official launch of the ACC Network this fall, Syracuse will unconventionally open the year against a conference foe in the Virginia Cavaliers. Usually Syracuse would have 13 non-conference games in a given season, which means that with two more ACC games that number will get pushed down to 11.

Here’s a look at the non-conference schedule as it stands now:

November TBD: Bucknell Bison

November 13: Colgate Raiders

November 20: Cornell Big Red

November 27: One of Ole Miss Rebels / Penn State Nittany Lions / Oklahoma State Cowboysin NIT Season Tip-Off (Brooklyn)

November 29: One of Ole Miss Rebels / Penn State Nittany Lions / Oklahoma State Cowboys in NIT Season Tip-Off (Brooklyn)

December 3: Iowa Hawkeyes

December 14: at Georgetown Hoyas

December 18: Oakland Golden Grizzlies

December 21: North Florida Ospreys

Georgetown v Syracuse Getty/USA Today

The current gaps in between games could leave Saturday games on November 23 and December 7 or a Tuesday/Wednesday game on December 10 or 11. With presumably two more non-conference opponents, who could Syracuse schedule in those open slots?

Jim Boeheim (through the help of Kip Wellman) typically likes to schedule New York teams when possible. The Orange have scheduled Buffalo in recent years and it’s possible that the Nate Oats-less Bulls could return to the dome in 2019-20, but a new head coach and significant roster turnover wouldn’t make UB the most desirable opponent.

Syracuse has also played UConn in each of the past four seasons (Unintentionally in the 2015 Battle 4 Atlantis), but that game likely gets scratched — at least for this year — with Syracuse going to 20 league games. SU has usually scheduled games against UConn in NYC, but the Orange will play in New York in the Preseason NIT Tipoff event.

Any other P5 school (or even Big East, for that matter) in a non-tournament event would likely want to schedule a home-and-home series, so scratch Washington or any other major conference opponent off the list for now.

In my opinion, here are a few likely candidates:

Eastern Michigan - The Orange didn’t schedule this game last year, but did pencil in Rob Murphy’s team the two seasons prior. It’s always nice to be able to schedule a game for one of your former assistants (to help fund their athletic department, and for the feels).

St. Bonaventure - Bona has played at the dome in three out of the last four years. The Bonnies finished No. 118 in the NET last year, so an opponent of this caliber offers a likely win without hurting Syracuse’s NET ranking or non-con SOS. That, and Syracuse doesn’t have an A10 opponent on the schedule yet.

Detroit - How about a return game for former Syracuse guard and strength coach, Eric Devendorf? After running the Fund My Athletic Department Tour (H/T: Kevin Wall) for so many years at Texas Southern, Mike Davis took over at Detroit last season is poised to make a jump this year. His son, Antione Davis, is back after being the third leading scorer in all of college hoops a year ago, along with a strong nucleus of freshmen returnees. Davis, the younger, is eating a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches this summer, for whatever that’s worth.

A game like this could push the inexperienced Syracuse backcourt against a tough guard. While the Orange already have a Horizon League foe scheduled in the Oakland Grizzlies, SU has previously scheduled multiples teams from the same conference in the same season before (MAC, 2017-18). Detroit is also a safer Horizon League opponent than Cleveland State... (Cedric Jackson was Elijah Hughes before Elijah Hughes).

Iona - All Iona ever seems to do is make the NCAA Tournament every year out of the MAAC. That usually means a boost to the non-con SOS. The Gaels have made the big dance four years running and while I’m hopeful my Marist Red Foxes can have something to say about that and develop a basketball identity beyond anything other than Rik Smits, I’m not holding my breathe.

Anyway, the Gaels technically check the in-state box and should be the frontrunner out of the MAAC once more. Iona should also finish higher than No. 202 in the NET this season, but Syracuse’s strength of the non-conference schedule could balance that out either way.

If JellyFam Dimes is approved of his hardship waiver, this game could be fun.

Alabama A&M v Minnesota Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Who might we have missed and what opponent(s) would you like to see pop up on Syracuse’s non-conference schedule? Drop a comment below.


Which one of the four non-con opponents would you prefer for Syracuse

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    Eastern Michigan
    (33 votes)
  • 45%
    St. Bonaventure
    (135 votes)
  • 19%
    (57 votes)
  • 24%
    (72 votes)
297 votes total Vote Now

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