Syracuse’s non-conference basketball schedule for the next campaign may ultimately turn out to be one of the most difficult roles the Orange have endured in recent seasons.
As we’ve detailed, Syracuse basketball plans to fight former Big East Conference rival Villanova in the 2021 Jimmy V Classic at New York’s famed Madison Square Garden, according to basketball insider Jon Rothstein of the. CBS Sports College.
The Wildcats are expected to enter the 2021-2022 tenure as the top five preseason groups. The ‘Cuse will travel to Washington, DC, to take on another former Big East nemesis in Georgetown, who last March captured his league’s postseason tournament to receive an invite to the Big Dance.
The Orange is expected to host a match at the Carrier Dome as part of the annual ACC-Big Ten challenge. The Big Ten Conference has proven to be a heavyweight in recent years.
It’s been three non-conference battles. Next, I believe Syracuse basketball will play three games in the 2021 Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis, an event whose field includes Arizona State, Auburn, Loyola Chicago, Michigan State, Connecticut, VCU and Baylor, the 2021 NCAA Champion.
That brings us to six contests. Assuming the ‘Cuse will play longtime Empire State rivals Colgate and Cornell, and that’s eight. Assuming that in 2021-2022 the Orange have the full assortment of 11 non-conference opponents, there are three games left to play.
Other teams we want on the Syracuse non-conference basketball schedule.
Since the novel coronavirus pandemic is still here, maybe the Orange will want to schedule matches against groups that aren’t too far away, geographically speaking.
If so, I have a few options in mind for the last three places.
One is Saint-Bonaventure, who participated in the Atlantic 10 conference. The Bonnies, screened as a top-25 preseason team by many national commentators, should prove to be an excellent unit in 2021-22.
Next up is Iona from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Rick Pitino, former assistant to Orange head coach Jim Boeheim many years ago, took the Gaels to the NCAA tournament in his first stanza at the head of Iona. Boeheim vs. Pitino is always a must-see TV.
I’d be it all for back-to-back seasons in which Syracuse basketball throws itself with Northeastern Conference member Bryant. In Game 1 of 2020-21, the Cuse was barely mowed down by the Bulldogs on the Hill, and Bryant performed quite well during the recently concluded tenure.
Last but not least, UMBC was supposed to play the Orange one campaign ago, but the pandemic has resulted in a complete overhaul of the schedules. I think it would be fun for the Retrievers to take a trip to central New York.
UMBC, outside of the America East conference, put forth a strong brand and 2020-21, and we all know how the Retrievers made history in the March 2018 Madness by becoming the # 16 first seed. to overtake a No.1 seed (Virginia) in the round of 16 of the Big Dance.