Syracuse Basketball: Non-Conference Schedule Breakdown

By chrismolicki

The Syracuse Orange are Big East (and often national) contenders every year. That’s just how it works. This school has survived losing star players as well as scandal (Bernie Fine) to be the model of consistency. They generally tend to blow through their non-conference schedule year after year. However, is this the year it gets more complicated for the Orange? Let’s take a look.

  • On the Syracuse University website, there are currently only seven non-conference games and I found an additional one. The Orange opens their season in the Battle on the Midway in San Diego against San Diego St. While the Aztecs have Jamaal Franklin and are extremely talented, I expect seniors Brandon Triche and James Southerland to step up and get the ‘Cuse past this early season test.
  • The Orange follow that up with games against Wagner and Princeton. While both are some of the better small schools out there, Syracuse should have no problem. The Seahawks and Tigers will contend in their respective conferences, but not in these games.
  • Quick blurb on their next contest against Colgate: The Orange will win big. Let’s leave it at that.
  • The Big East/SEC challenge will feature Syracuse up against Arkansas. B. J. Young should make this one competitive for the Razorbacks, but I expect the Orange to pull away late.
  • Syracuse vs. Eastern Michigan. See Colgate above.
  • An early December matchup with Long Beach St. will be an interesting one to watch. It will be televised on ESPN2 and feature a very well coached 49er team that always plays tough games in their non-conference schedule. James Ennis is the main returning player from last year’s squad, and even though he won’t lead his team to a W, they will be a nice test for the Orange.
  • Finally, Syracuse takes on Temple in the Gotham Classic in New York City. The Owls are another mid-major who could give the ‘Cuse fits, but once again, expect Jim Boheim‘s team to prevail.
That gives the Orange a non-conference record of 8-0. What a surprise! Truth is, this is what should happen, but it may not be what will happen. The games against San Diego St., Arkansas, Long Beach St., and Temple will all be big games. If Syracuse can win those four, they’ll be on the right track. As usual.
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