Thursday, December 26, 2013

Syracuse Top 10 Competitors - All-Time

The Syracuse Orange have played 2,716 varsity basketball games since its first game in 1900.  Approximately 1/3 of those games (982) have been against 10 schools.   Conference realignments and emphasis on programs (or de-emphasis) leads to a change on who the Orange play.

Syracuse is scheduled to play five schools in its top ten list this year.  The Orange have already played Colgate and Cornell, the two teams at the top of the all-time list.  Syracuse has played Colgate 166 times, by far the most, and Cornell comes in second with 119 games.

They will face Pittsburgh later this season; the Panthers are currently #4 on the list with 102 games, and will jump to #3 sometime next season.  #3 is may come to s surprise for some fans, especially younger ones:  Penn State Nittany Lions. Syracuse has played the Nittany Lions 105 times, with the Orange winning 62 of those games. The two schools have not met since January 25th, 1982, almost 32 years ago.  Part of that was due to logistics; but a bigger factor, I believe, was bitterness between the two schools over the Big East Conference.  Syracuse (along with others) did not agree with Penn State on what the conference should be and that led to Penn States exclusion from the conference.  The fact that Penn State basketball has not been competitive for quite some time has helped make it an easier decision (only 4 NCAA bids since 1965).

Connecticut is fifth on the list with 91 games; I am unaware of whether the Orange will try to continue this series or not.  Georgetown is sixth with 90 games. Both Syracuse and the Hoyas have discussed continuing the series, but nothing was scheduled for this season.

St. John’s is seventh on the list with 88 games, and Syracuse played the Red Storm earlier this season at Madison Square Garden. I would imagine that Syracuse will keep this series alive as long as St. John’s is willing, as it gives the Orange access to MSG on a routine basis, something the fans, players and recruits all like.

Niagara is 8th on the list with 81 games.  The Orange used to play Niagara very regularly, but stopped that routine in 1982, which does coincide with the growth of the Big East.  The two teams have met once since then, with an Orange 95-69 win on December 30th, 2000 at Niagara. 

Villanova is #9 on this list with 70 games. The Orange lead that always competitive series 38-32, and the two teams will be playing a high profile game later week with Syracuse ranked #2 and the Wildcats ranked #8.

Canisius is #10 on the list with 70 games.  Syracuse still plays Canisius; the last game was December 15, 2012 (last season) with the Orange winning 85-61.

Rounding out the top 20 would be University of Rochester, Seton Hall, Boston College, Providence, West Virginia, Rutgers, Penn, Notre Dame, Fordham and Princeton.  Rochester may surprise many; Syracuse has played 64 games against Rochester, but the last game was way back in 1975. Rochester is now a Division III school, and unlikely to appear on the Orange’s schedule.  Fordham reappeared on the Orange schedule this year, in a game the Orange won earlier this season.

As I mentioned earlier this month, the ACC is bringing a lot of unfamiliarity to the Orange schedule.  Pitt and Notre Dame stay on the schedule, but next on the list for the ACC is Miami, whom the Orange have faced only 19 times.

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