With the Syracuse Orange moving into the ACC this year, it’s easy to wonder how they will adjust to their new conference with new teams, new coaches and new arenas. But at the risk of sounding arrogant, it’s the ACC that will have to adjust to Syracuse, and not the other way around.
Syracuse is a national power and a perennial contender that’s coming off a trip to the Final Four. They were one untimely injury and one academic suspension away from going to three Final Fours in the past four seasons, making them one of the top programs in college basketball over the past half decade.
The conference they play in might be changing, but nothing else about the Orange will. Syracuse is going to keep doing the things that made them the best team in the Big East over the last five seasons, and it’ll be up to the rest of the ACC to adjust.
There are some great venues in the ACC, but outside of the few ACC teams that have played Syracuse on the road in the last 10 years, they haven’t seen a road environment like the Carrier Dome. They haven’t played a road game in a dome capable of holding a crowd of well over 30,000 fans, and that has earned its nickname “the loud house” over the years. Playing in such a loud and hostile environment is one of the biggest adjustments the ACC is going to have to make now that Syracuse is in the league.
The ACC has some good defenses, but no team in the league has seen anything like Jim Boeheim’s patented 2-3 zone. The size, length and athleticism that Syracuse has is unmatched by any other zone defense in the country, and is compounded by their expertise at playing it and Boeheim’s ability to tweak it for different opponents and during games.
Even Big East teams accustomed to seeing the zone year after year have trouble attacking it, and figuring out how to play against it will be the biggest adjustment teams in the ACC will have to make to Syracuse’s presence in the league.
While it may seem obvious to think that Syracuse will have to adjust to its new home in the ACC, the truth is that the teams in the ACC will have far more adjusting to the fact that there’s one more powerhouse program in the conference in Syracuse.