Syracuse basketball, given weak non-conference, needs big ACC triumphs

Syracuse basketball (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Syracuse basketball (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

The Orange’s non-conference strength of schedule has done Syracuse basketball no favors, and that means the ‘Cuse will have to pick up some signature victories in Atlantic Coast Conference competition should the team hope to have any sort of shot at post-season consideration.

At this juncture in the 2022-23 campaign, Syracuse basketball (10-5, 3-1 in the ACC) isn’t a significant contender for a Big Dance berth this spring.

However, the Orange has won two straight, prevailed in seven of its last eight games, and already the ‘Cuse has picked up two ACC road wins.

Plus, this Saturday, Syracuse basketball will make a trip to Charlottesville, Va., to go toe to toe with No. 11 Virginia. That league encounter presents a massive opportunity for the Orange to bolster its resume, which is even more critical given that the ‘Cuse had a really weak non-conference slate, according to one recent media report.

Syracuse basketball has poor non-conference metrics in 2022-23.

Per ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, the Orange’s non-conference strength of schedule checked in at No. 310, which is among the worst across college basketball.

The ‘Cuse sported a 7-4 mark in the non-conference portion of the 2022-23 docket, and none of the squad’s seven victories were overly impressive.

Naturally, if some of the Orange’s non-conference opponents perform well throughout the course of the 2022-23 stanza, that could help improve the ‘Cuse non-conference strength of schedule.

Another important facet to monitor here as Syracuse basketball seeks to enter the 2023 NCAA Tournament conversation is that the ACC isn’t looking all that awesome these days.

In the latest Associated Press top-25 poll, three league squads were included – Virginia at No. 11, Miami at No. 12 and Duke at No. 16.

Each of these three teams lost their most recent game. The Cavaliers fell to Pittsburgh. The Hurricanes lost to Georgia Tech. And the Blue Devils got destroyed by N.C. State.

My point here is that the Orange had a poor non-conference. If the ACC isn’t good to great, that also could hurt the ‘Cuse, which will be relying on strong conference wins to boost its post-season hopes.

When I wrote this article, Syracuse basketball had an NCAA NET ranking of No. 143. The Orange will have to vastly improve this rating to have any realistic shot at hearing its name called on Selection Sunday.

See below for the NET ranking for each of the team’s 31 regular-season foes at the time that I penned this column. The ‘Cuse does have numerous opportunities coming up soon to pick up high-quality victories, and hopefully, Syracuse basketball can capitalize on some of those chances lurking on the horizon.

November 7 vs. Lehigh
NET: No. 342

November 15 vs. Colgate
NET: No. 127

November 19 vs. Northeastern
NET: No. 285

November 21 vs. Richmond (Empire Classic in Brooklyn, N.Y.)
NET: No. 136

November 22 vs. St. John’s (Empire Classic in Brooklyn, N.Y.)
NET: No. 107

November 26 vs. Bryant
NET: No. 152

November 29 at Illinois (ACC-Big Ten Challenge)
NET: No. 39

December 3 at Notre Dame
NET: No. 174

December 6 vs. Oakland
NET: No. 306

December 10 vs. Georgetown
NET: No. 242

December 12 vs. Monmouth
NET: No. 357

December 17 vs. Cornell
NET: No. 98

December 20 vs. Pittsburgh
NET: No. 68

December 31 vs. Boston College
NET: No. 212

January 3 at Louisville
NET: No. 348

January 7 at Virginia
NET: No. 20

January 11 vs. Virginia Tech
NET: No. 37

January 14 vs. Notre Dame
NET: No. 174

January 16 at Miami
NET: No. 35

January 21 at Georgia Tech
NET: No. 149

January 24 vs. North Carolina
NET: No. 29

January 28 at Virginia Tech
NET: No. 37

January 30 vs. Virginia
NET: No. 20

February 4 at Boston College
NET: No. 212

February 8 at Florida State
NET: No. 244

February 14 vs. N.C. State
NET: No. 64

February 18 vs. Duke
NET: No. 16

February 22 at Clemson
NET: No. 75

February 25 at Pittsburgh
NET: No. 68

February 28 vs. Georgia Tech
NET: No. 149

March 4 vs. Wake Forest
NET: No. 78

Next. Syracuse Basketball: 7-foot-2 big says ‘Cuse relationship ‘going really well’. dark