It has hardly been an ideal start to the basketball season for a team with such high expectations. The Orange stumbled to two solid, now ranked teams, sending some fans into a panic. The remainder of Syracuse fans were sent into a tizzy after Syracuse lost to lowly UConn at Madison Square Garden on Monday. Now, every fan is left wondering what has gone wrong and what do the Orange need to do to turn this mess of a season around.
Well, in short, they probably have to win the rest of the non-conference games on the schedule. The toughest game facing the Orange between now and 2017 is when Georgetown comes to town December 17. Syracuse has also has games against the likes of Boston University, St. John’s, Eastern Michigan and Cornell. There is no longer any room for error.
However, it is very important to keep perspective. The Orange lost some ugly non-conference games last season. Syracuse lost to Wisconsin at home and dropped games to old Big East foes Georgetown and St. John’s. I don’t know how many people remember, but things turned out alright for the Orange, despite the poor non-conference showing last season.
What Syracuse probably can’t afford to do is start 0-3 in the conference again. Syracuse does not have a clear cut excuse like they did last year, as Jim Boeheim will be on the bench for every game this season. Syracuse opens the ACC schedule with a road trip to Boston College and then home games against Miami and Pitt. The Orange, realistically have to win the rest of their non-conference games and take two of their first three in the ACC.
Contrary to what seems to be the popular opinion, this season is not over. There is a ton of talent on this team and it was always going to take time for them to gel. However, whatever leeway the Orange had entering the season is now gone. The margin of error is now pretty much zero.