Yup, national runner up Wisconsin will head to the Dome on December 2nd. No, Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker won’t be coming, but the team still has Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig, two key contributors to a Final Four team.
But really what this game means is that the Syracuse non-conference schedule is once again a very formidable slate. After years of complaints, right or wrong, that Jim Boeheim and Syracuse don’t play difficult non-conference schedules, it is difficult to say that now. This upcoming season, Syracuse will play Georgetown in DC, Wisconsin, and a trip to the Bahamas for a tournament that includes UCONN, Michigan, Gonzaga, and Texas.
Of course, you will still get your Colgates and Cornells, maybe a directional Michigan, but this version of a non-conference schedule is much more interesting and challenging than many previous schedules.
This can be a huge factor for SU. With the depth of the ACC, the struggles the Orange had last year, and the muddy future due to NCAA sanctions, the non-conference schedule is more important for the Orange now than it has been in the past. Is Syracuse can pick up a win or two against some legitimate opponents out of conference play, that could be the difference between making and missing the NCAA Tournament.
Of course, the Wisconsin game isn’t a game that Syracuse schedules, but it is one of the perks of moving to the ACC. The move has increased the non-conference schedule through the ACC-Big Ten challenge, but also through the desire to continue series with St. John’s, Villanova, and Georgetown. Add in a preseason tournament, and all of a sudden the non-conference schedule looks respectable. And that is exactly what Syracuse has done in the last three years.
Posted By: Seth Goldberg