It has been more than three decades—nearly 38 years, to be exact—since the last time Syracuse Basketball and Old Dominion basketball have played each other. But the wait to see the Orange and the Monarchs take the same court at the same time once again is about to be over.
Syracuse University athletics announced Thursday that SU will host Old Dominion on December 15 of this year, adding an old friend back onto its schedule.
— Syracuse Basketball (@Cuse_MBB) May 10, 2018
The matchup of these two teams dates back to March of 1977, when the Orangemen (Syracuse’s nickname at the time, accompanied by the Saltine Warrior mascot) defeated the Monarchs 67-64 to claim the 1977 ECAC Upstate-Southern Championship. It was also Old Dominion’s first season as a Division I team.
The teams met again three years later in January 1980, where Syracuse (this time with no official mascot) fell to the Monarchs 68-67 at ODU. It was one of just two regular season losses for SU that year (the other was a 52-50 loss to Georgetown at home).
Just over one year later in 1981, SU (still with no official mascot) defeated Old Dominion 71-58 in the Carrier Dome. It was the first season Syracuse played in the new venue.
Now, the Orange (with a nickname change and new official mascot—Otto the Orange—since the last meeting of the teams) has signed up to play an Old Dominion team that went 25-7 overall last season and 15-3 in Conference USA. ODU lost to Western Kentucky in the Conference USA semifinal. The Monarchs did not name the NCAA Tournament and did not receive an invitation from the NIT.
Meanwhile, Syracuse is coming off a season that ended with an unexpected run to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.
Is this supposed to be an easy non-conference win added to the SU schedule? Not necessarily. Old Dominion won’t be the scariest team on the Orange’s schedule, but it will be an interesting matchup.
If anything, it’s a chance to reunite with an old friend in a new era for both teams.
Published: David Edelstein