With Thursday’s release of the 2019-20 ACC men’s basketball schedule, the Syracuse Orange’s slate is now complete. And with that, we get our first full view of both who SU will be up against this coming season, and when those games will take place.
Bobby captured the initial information last night, so do head over there if you’re looking for the full schedule. This article touches on that, but more specifically, it finds the high points worth mentioning in further detail.
The opener vs. Virginia has a chance to do a lot of things
We’ve known for awhile now that Syracuse will open its season at the Dome with the defending champion Hoos. Though UVA loses plenty from last year’s title squad, they’re a talented bunch and should still contend at the top of the ACC. A loss here wouldn’t necessarily surprise, though try telling that to season ticket holders. If you think getting blown out by Maryland deflated fans quickly, getting potentially run off the floor by Virginia could have a similar effect, despite tempered expectations for the Orange.
On the other hand, beating Virginia could be a fantastic tone-setter for SU that quickly launches them back into the top 25 and the national conversation. TBD if that would be a good thing for a young squad like this. But starting 1-0 in the ACC with a win over the Hoos under their belt could certainly boost confidence right off the bat.
Late November through early December is sneaky
Syracuse faces Oklahoma State, either Penn State or Ole Miss and Iowa, before two road games at Georgia Tech and Georgetown. On paper, the Orange should be better than at least half of those teams, if not more. But there’s trip-up potential here, and the two road games — especially Georgia Tech — scream of a possible trap. An SU team that’s gelled by that point gets out of this part of the schedule at 4-1 or 5-0. One that’s still finding itself winds up in 3-2/2-3 territory and panic likely ensues, even if it’s misguided so early.
January provides a shot at a hot start to 2020
Two games against Virginia Tech and one vs. Boston College, Clemson and Pitt, respectively provides a nice base against the bottom half of the league. Notre Dame may or may not be good, depending on who you ask. And if they’re not, add two more potential wins. UVA’s in there too, and there’s a chance all of these repeat opponents in the month breed a little too much familiarity. Still, there’s a great opportunity to finish January 6-2 or so, and potentially be 7-3 in league play heading into February.
Duke, NC State and North Carolina all come to the Dome. Plus Syracuse takes very tough road trips to Florida State and Louisville, plus who knows how pesky Pitt will be on the road. There’s a chance this month could erase all momentum from January, even if SU’s set to finish in the top half of the league.
Closing on the road
Two straight road games (Boston College, Miami) to end the season is a likely product of the Carrier Dome renovations (/shakes fist), which wouldn’t be as bad if not coupled with five of Syracuse’s final seven away from home. Considering that postseason play for the Orange would take them out of the Dome’s cozy confines as well, it’s not necessarily a recipe to be at their most comfortable late in the year. It could also mean yet another 2-4 finish. This would be number eight in a row...
What else jumped out at you here? Road slate’s obviously not THAT tough all things considered. It’s just pesky, plus two huge matchups. And not playing in North Carolina at all? Seems odd. Regardless, share your own thoughts below.