Each year in the non-conference portion of the schedule, the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team participates in the annual ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Usually teams swap road and home games each year. That has worked out nicely for Syracuse’s non-conference schedule as Syracuse’s home and home series with Georgetown assures the Orange a true road game each year in either November or December.
Earlier this week, Mike Waters of Syracuse.com took a dive into potential matchups for the Orange in the event. That got us thinking who we would like to see Syracuse play. As Syracuse hosted Iowa last season, the Orange will likely be on the road for the challenge this year.
Big Ten teams that will likely play on the road (and thus be unlikely to host Syracuse) include Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan State, Minnesota, Penn State and Purdue. Of those potential road matchups, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan State and Purdue would be the most interesting. Again, this is unlikely so perhaps it’s a fruitless exercise, but we’ll go through it just in case.
Illinois would be compelling but mostly due to a return game for Alan Griffin, if he’s given a waiver, that is. Indiana and Syracuse have history and SU has never played at Assembly Hall. Both teams have met six times, five of which were on neutral floors. Syracuse is 5-1 all-time against the Hoosiers.
Maryland finished last season ranked No. 12, but will lose a lot from last year’s squad. A trip to College Park for the first time since Syracuse joined the league in 2013-14 would be interesting. Syracuse is 4-5 all-time against Maryland, losing its first five games against the Terps before winning the last four. This would also mean a ton of marketing for the 2002 and 2003 National Championship teams.
A matchup with Michigan State speaks for itself, but unlikely as MSU is likely a top 5 team and Syracuse, well, isn’t. Still, Syracuse has won its last five games against Michigan State. Jim Boeheim is 6-1 all-time against Sparty.
Purdue would be a bit underrated of a matchup. These teams haven’t met since 1981 and I really want to see what those bathrooms are about at Mackey Arena. The bathrooms there do not include troughs and could potentially serve as inspiration for the new
Carrier Dome Stadium.
Any of these matchups would be preferable due to history of the programs and the fact that SU hasn’t played Michigan State or Purdue in the event.
Now that we’ve wasted all your time going over teams that Syracuse is unlikely to play, let’s focus on teams that SU might actually face. They include Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Rutgers and Wisconsin. Syracuse has played at Michigan already in this event as well as Ohio State. Those matchups seem less likely than the others in this group, same with Wisconsin. SU played the Badgers twice already in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
Iowa would be interesting although SU did host the Hawkeyes in the event last season. Syracuse is 1-3 all-time against Iowa and has never played at Carver Hawkeye Arena.
Northwestern wouldn’t be fun outside the battle of the J schools and Nebraska would not be fun on any level unless you were watching the game with Andrew White.
Rutgers seems to make the most sense, as Waters has pointed out, given geographic proximity and the fact that these two former Big East schools haven’t met since conference realignment. That doesn’t make it the most desirable matchup, but Rutgers is coming off a 20-11 season so a meeting at the RAC could be worthwhile.
‘Cuse is 39-9 all-time against Rutgers and hasn’t lost to SUNJ since 2003.
Who would you like to see Syracuse play in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge?
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What do you think? Who would you like to see Syracuse square off against in the 2020 ACC-Big Ten Challenge? Vote in the poll above and join in on the conversation below.