The dust has barely settled on 2019-20 for Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team, yet we’re already looking ahead to 2020-21.
Source: Syracuse will host Mercer as part of its 20-21 non-conference schedule.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 19, 2020
Syracuse has never faced Mercer before, making for the rare new addition to the Orange’s lengthy list of all-time opponents. The Bears went 17-15 this past season (11-7 in Southern Conference play). You may recall their last NCAA Tournament trip, when they upset Duke in the first round in 2014, then lost to Tennessee in the second.
Last year’s Mercer squad was a decent enough mid-major, coming in just inside the top 200 in KenPom rankings. Djordje Dimitrijevic was a bit of a one-man wrecking crew, scoring 16.8 points per game to lead the team, while adding 4.1 boards and 3.7 assists (the latter also being tops on the squad). The Bears also shot nearly 36% from three on the season, with the top five players by average minutes all hitting at least 35% of shots from beyond the arc.
Not that we’re sweating Mercer, but you’d potentially be encouraged to know that the top two scorers, Dimitrijevic and Ethan Stair, were seniors in 2019-20, so unless something dramatic happens on the NCAA eligibility front, they won’t be back.
Still plenty more teams to add to next year’s schedule. Mercer is the third so far, joining the Georgetown Hoyas, who were already on the books for a Dome game this coming year, and LSU Tigers, As Blogging the Bracket’s Chris Dobbertean noted below, Mercer is the on-campus lead-in game to the Orange and LSU facing off in the Gotham Classic at Madison Square Garden. You can probably bet on Colgate and Cornell being added to the schedule as well down the road.