Conference realignment definitely threw some wrenches in Syracuse fans’ plans to watch classic rivalry games year-in and year-out. SU has put together series with old rivals St. John’s and Villanova and finally has a home game next season against hated foe Georgetown. Yet, there was always one team missing from the old Big East get togethers.
UConn and Syracuse have agreed to play a neutral site game in Madison Square Garden that will be filled with rabid alumni, students, and general fans who yearn to see the Huskies and Orange battle it out like old times. Sure, next season’s game probably will not live up to the hype of past games between the two, but UConn/Syracuse at MSG will certainly bring back the old memories of six overtimes and battles down to the wire (and for Atlantis).
Set to occur on December 5, the Orange and Huskies are also planning to play in the same preseason tournament the following year at the Garden again, this time as part of the Jimmy V Classic. The two programs met this season as part of the Battle 4 Atlantis, where the underdog Orange beat the Huskies 79-76 in the semifinal. SU would go on to beat Texas A&M in the finals of the tournament to claim the title. While seeing the two teams face off again was nostalgic, something about Madison Square Garden completely changes the game.
Syracuse and Connecticut have played 92 times before, with the Orange holding a 55-37 advantage. The Orange has won four of the last five meetings between the two, as well as seven of the last nine since the dramatic six overtime finish. UConn won the final Big East matchup between the two, while coaches Jim Boeheim and Kevin Ollie have split the two head-to-head meetings since Ollie took over for Jim Calhoun.
SU is starting to fill out its non-conference schedule next season, with games already planned against Holy Cross (November 15), Monmouth (November 18), South Carolina (November 26), Connecticut (December 5), St. John’s (December 21), and Georgetown, although a date has not been announced yet. SU will also face a Big Ten team as part of ESPN’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge.