Syracuse Basketball: In 346-team field, the top-20 foes for Orange to face

ACC coaches are proposing that all squads get invited to the Big Dance next spring, and we have the ultimate Syracuse basketball bracket.

When word broke on Wednesday that Atlantic Coast Conference coaches, including Syracuse basketball boss Jim Boeheim, are proposing that every team receive a bid to the 2021 NCAA Tournament, I did a double-take.

Really? On the one hand, I get it. Amid the novel coronavirus pandemic and uncertainty over the 2020-21 campaign, have a level playing-field and invite everyone to dance. Plus, the Orange is guaranteed to compete in March Madness!

However, how feasible is an NCAA tourney that features 346 Division I crews? ESPN resident bracketologist Joe Lunardi, for one, noted on Twitter, “Hate to be that guy, but… ACC proposal for a 346-team NCAA college basketball tournament won’t work.”

By the way, a shout-out to CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein and Stadium’s Jeff Goodman, who proved among the first to report on this fascinating possibility.

To that end, and in all honesty we’re really just having some fun with this column, but should a 346-group field transpire, what follows is a list of the top-20 opponents that we’d want Syracuse basketball to potentially tee off against, and of course conquer, on the way to the national title.

I don’t think that this needs further explanation.

Boeheim versus Mike Hopkins. Yes, please.

Yeah, 1991 still stings.

That 2013 Final Four loss, which I watched live in Atlanta, really irritated me.

Hello, 2010 Sweet 16. Yuck.

A rematch of the 2003 NCAA Tournament final. Ahhh, good times.

Orange jerseys galore.

Let’s avenge that round of 64 defeat in 2019. Plus, the Bears are going to prove stellar this coming stanza.

The Cavaliers have had a lot of success against the ‘Cuse in the ACC, but there’s always the 2016 Elite Eight for which to delight.

Um, the Boeheim bowl!

West Virginia
Bob Huggins, otherwise known as “Huggy Bear,” is the best.

An old-time Big East Conference rival. The Wildcats have claimed two NCAA championships in recent years and will significantly contend for a Final Four berth in 2020-21.

North Carolina
The Tar Heels have owned Syracuse basketball of late, including a 2016 Final Four besting of the ‘Cuse. Although the Orange did manage to crush UNC this past spring in the abbreviated ACC Tournament.

2005. Gross.

The Wildcats got the better of Syracuse basketball in the 1996 Big Dance final. Nothing would make me happier than for the ‘Cuse to beat John Calipari.

Seven overtimes this go-round.

Texas A&M
That 2006 upset was the worst, and knocking off Buzz Williams would prove lovely.

I have a lot of respect for Mark Few, and his Bulldogs are often a legit Final Four contender. The same will hold true in 2020-21.

Oh, 1987. On this occasion, Syracuse basketball hits the game-winner in the waning seconds.

You didn’t really think that I would omit the Blue Devils, did you?

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