Through six games, the Orange are sitting as pretty as possible with a 6-0 record, but the biggest test of the non-conference schedule looms with a matchup against number two Kansas on Saturday. Even with that daunting task ahead of them, Syracuse fans should be feeling pretty good about how the non-conference schedule could go. After playing Kansas in the Miami Invitational, it is very possible that the Orange will be favored in each of their remaining non-conference games. After Saturday, only two of the Orange’s remaining non-conference games is outside the friendly confines of the Carrier Dome, a December 5 matchup with the UConn Huskies and a trip down to Washington D.C. to play Georgetown.
This year’s start will feel particularly comforting to Syracuse fans given the way that the past two seasons went sideways during non-conference play. If the Orange can get a split of their next two games, they will be 7-1 and very well may be favored in each of their remaining games before ACC play gets under way. They will return to the Dome for a game against Colgate before playing Georgetown. The non-conference schedule concludes with home games against Buffalo, St. Bonaventure and Eastern Michigan.
If the past two seasons have taught us anything, it is that the Orange are capable of beating or losing to anyone. None of these games should be taken for granted but it is hard to not think about the possibly of the Orange entering play with ten or, dare I say, eleven wins. This Saturday’s game could go a long way to telling us exactly what this Orange team actually is. If the Orange can at least give Kansas a bit of a run for their money, that could do wonders for the team’s confidence going into Madison Square Garden on Tuesday. No Syracuse fan needs reminding of the atrocity disguised as a basketball game the last time Syracuse and UConn met at the Mecca.
Also, this may all be premature given Syracuse’s recent record against former Big East foes, but it is hard to not look ahead and think about what might be. Only time will tell but getting to conference play with ten or eleven wins could go a long way come March.