With the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball Italian tour less than a month away, folks have began to ask questions on how they can stay updated on the team during that stretch. Every scholarship player is currently on campus with the exception of Marek Dolezaj, who injured his finger and will no longer play for the Slovakian national team this summer.
Workouts have already taken place at Melo and Syracuse will be allowed 10 practices prior to the trip. That’s led to questions about noted food critic Jim Boeheim and his impending culinary experience while in Italy, how fans can tune in as well as where the team will eventually finish in the ACC in 2019-20.
That and more below on this week’s version of Szuba’s Mentions.
Will you be writing an article reviewing Coach Boeheim's culinary experience in Italy this summer? I will hang up and listen.— GMac (@CuseFan247) July 10, 2019
Yes. Full details on each and every one of his 10 straight chicken parmesan orders. Next question.
How can I watch the games in Italy?— James Gleason (@Duke63) July 10, 2019
This a popular question lately amongst Syracuse fans. I’ve also been asked how folks can buy tickets to attend those games in person and whether or not the games will be broadcast, so I reached out to SU Athletics last week to find out but I’ve yet to get a response.
First, I’d be surprised if the games in Italy will be aired. There are probably too many travel challenges and costs associated with this sort of thing. In 2013 when Syracuse had four exhibition games in Canada, Time Warner picked up coverage and streaming was available for those without a cable subscription (for a price) on cuse.com. But that was just north of the border. I wouldn’t expect that to be that case in Italy, but I’ll gladly swallow my words if I’m wrong.
What I can say is that there will be at least one Syracuse media member there in person to cover the games in Italy, so hopefully those gyms are equipped with WiFi capabilities and if we’re lucky, maybe we even get a live stream via social. At the very least, fans will have coverage in some capacity, so there’s the silver lining.
Do you think we will finish top 8 in acc or better if so how will we?— Aidan Owens (@aowens78) July 10, 2019
This is a tough question to answer for myriad reasons. For starters, nobody knows for sure what each team will bring to the table in 2019-20. But the ACC is moving to 20 league games, a ton of players — especially underclassmen — departed from the league and it’s hard to gauge what some of top programs’ incoming freshmen will bring to the table. That, and I think there really won’t be much separation between the fifth and tenth place teams in the league this year in terms of on-court product.
If you’re going to make me choose, however, I do think Syracuse will finish within the top eight spots of the league this year.
The ACC figures to be top heavy and I think the conference is generally weaker than it was a season ago. Syracuse also stands to benefit from a softer league schedule as it plays Boston College, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Virginia and Virginia Tech twice. Virginia is the toughest of that group, but the Cavaliers lost its top three players and there were questions about Kihei Clark and Mamadi Diakite’s offensive abilities a season ago.
Georgia Tech beat the Orange at home last season, so that could be a tricky matchup with that defense, but those are two winnable games nonetheless. Pittsburgh and Notre Dame should be better, but Syracuse handled those teams last year while Boston College and Virginia Tech will be worse, and much much worse, respectively (read: basement dwellers).
Of the remaining games, Duke and North Carolina both come to the Carrier Dome this season (as do NC State and Wake Forest). Syracuse has winnable road games at Clemson, Florida State and NC State. Louisville will be the toughest road game of the year for Syracuse but overall that’s a favorable conference slate. That should result in enough W’s for the Orange to remain in the top half of the league in 2019-20 despite having a young squad.
A solid showing in the non-conference should be enough for a 2020 NCAA Tournament berth, too.
If you guys have a Syracuse basketball question that you’d like answered in a post, just tweet me @JamesSzuba. For those who don’t use twitter, you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What do you guys think though? Will youth prove costly and keep Syracuse out of the top half of league this season? Drop a comment below (looking at you, syracusedotcomguy).