Syracuse's Non-Conference Schedule Should Slience Critics
By Michael McAllister
Seemingly every year, national college basketball pundits criticize Syracuse for their non-conference schedule. The talking points generally surround the Orange not leaving the state of New York until January. While that talking point becomes a crutch at times, it should not be used for the 2012-13 season.
Already scheduled are three tough games. Syracuse will play on an aircraft carrier in California against San Diego State. Not only do some think the Aztecs could be a top 10 team next season, but the game is being played in their home state. That is something Syracuse has not done in recent years.
Next up us the Big East/SEC Challenge, where Syracuse travels to play a road game at Arkansas. While the Razor Backs are not expected to be a contender in the SEC this upcoming season, it is still a true road game against a BCS opponent. In terms of the quality of the opponent, it is similar to the NC State game last season. It will be a test as Arkansas is a tough place to play.
The last of the three big non-conference games takes place at Madison Square Garden where the Orange take on the Temple Owls. Yes New York City is generally an advantage for the Orange. But Temple is coming off a very good season where they made the NCAA Tournament as a five seed. It is another quality opponent that will test the Orange.
So if national college basketball experts start ripping on Syracuse for their schedule this season, it is simply an uninformed comment. The Orange play three tough opponents, none of which take place at the Carrier Dome.