Syracuse Basketball: ‘Zero games’ on slate; foes we want, besides Hoyas

Syracuse basketball (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Syracuse basketball (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Syracuse basketball, following the move by NCAA officials to start the season on Nov. 25, has a totally blank schedule, Jim Boeheim says.

The decision by NCAA leaders to push back the commencement of the 2020-21 campaign from Nov. 10 to Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving, is a logical determination amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, but it also means that the Syracuse basketball calendar has gotten wiped completely clean.

That’s according to Orange head coach Jim Boeheim, who told Mike Waters of in an article, “Right now we have zero games. The schedule was all done. It’s been done since March or April. Now, we have to re-schedule everything and figure out who plays when.”

Interestingly enough, Boeheim said to Waters that it would have proven just as manageable as it relates to the pandemic to kick off the 2020-21 term on the original date of Tuesday, Nov. 10, when the ‘Cuse planned to host UMBC from the Carrier Dome.

"“All of our practices are with students here and the games aren’t going to be attended, so what’s the difference?” Boeheim said. “The players and students will have been here for three months, so what difference does two weeks make?”"

Here’s got a valid point there. In any event, official practices are set to start on Oct. 14. Beginning on Sept. 21, coaches can hold on-court drills for eight hours a week, an increase from the present limit of four hours every week.

Additionally, the 2020-21 docket for Syracuse basketball and its peers around the country will entail 27 games, as opposed to the usual 31, if a squad like the Orange is suiting up in a multi-team event such as the Gotham Classic, where the ‘Cuse was expected to square off with LSU. If a multi-team event isn’t in the cards, a group can play up to 25 affairs.

Battles with Green Bay, Jacksonville State and Mercer, all previously announced by the Syracuse athletics department, are also part of the Gotham Classic, yet Boeheim said, “I think it’s unlikely we can play in (the Gotham Classic) as it stands right now.”

The plan is to continue, similar to 2019-20, with 20 Atlantic Coast Conference clashes, some of which would transpire before the calendar year turns, and the rest of the docket would comprise non-conference duels.

“There’s a very strong possibility that you might have to play schools that are close and New York state schools that can bus here and aren’t on quarantine,” Boeheim said.

Syracuse basketball is starting from scratch with its 2020-21 schedule.

Hmmm. Does that mean no Georgetown, because a bout with the Hoyas really needs to happen? And what about the annual ACC-Big Ten Challenge?

If Syracuse basketball must face non-conference opponents in strategic proximity, then Rutgers certainly makes sense for the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Plus, the Scarlet Knights are primed for a high-level finish in the 2020-21 league race within the Big Ten Conference.

Should Georgetown not prove realistic due to geographic disparity, it’s probably not altogether feasible, but what about trying to land a game versus another former Big East Conference foe, like Connecticut, Providence, Seton Hall or St. John’s?

As far as schools in the Empire State, perhaps the ‘Cuse can consider Rick Pitino-led Iona, Buffalo, Greg Paulus-led Niagara, St. Bonaventure or Colgate? Cornell seems unlikely, as we’ve previously documented.

We’ll of course keep a watchful eye on this topic as Syracuse basketball attempts to fill up its blank canvas of a 2020-21 schedule.

Next. Syracuse Basketball: Jim Boeheim really likes his team, and he should. dark