The Syracuse Orange have some 2023 non-conference opponents that could give them a run for their money. How will they stack up against these teams and will Adrian Autry be able to guide them toward victory?
The first official matchup for the Syracuse Orange is against the New Hampshire Wildcats. Last season, the Wildcats broke even with a 15-15 overall record. They failed to make a postseason tournament, but this doesn’t mean Syracuse will get by easily. Senior forward Clarence Daniels returns after being last season’s leading scorer. The Minnesota native averaged 15.3 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. The Wildcats also secured five newcomers via the portal, including guard Ahmad Robinson who averaged about 17 points per game at his previous school Western Texas College. The duo of Daniels and Robinson could be lethal if left unguarded. Like Syracuse, New Hampshire has a new captain of their ship with first-year head coach Nathan Davis. Davis and Autry will both be making their head coaching debuts Nov. 6 at the JMA Wireless Dome.
The Golden Griffins finished 10-20 last season after an early struggle that led to a nine game losing streak. Later in the season gave fans hope when a win streak started just before the tournament, but the postseason conference tournament ended in an overtime loss for Canisius. Fans are hopeful for the upcoming season after a successful summer tournament in Canada. Sophomore guard Tajh Stevenskie scored 33 points in their final game abroad while junior forward Xavier Long and former Valparaiso guard Cam Palesse both had double digit performances. They open their season against the Syracuse Orange on Nov. 8 at the Dome.
The matchup against the Colgate Raiders should be circled on the Syracuse schedule. Last season, Colgate came to the JMA Wireless Dome and outscored the Orange by 18 to secure the victory. Colgate set the JMA Wireless Dome record for made 3-point field-goals with 19 makes. Tune in on Nov. 14 to see if Colgate can beat that record, or if the Orange are back with a vengeance. Last season’s Colgate team showed a lot of talent, finishing the season with a 26-9 overall record. The Raiders ultimately fell to the fifth ranked Texas Longhorns in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, but they didn’t go down without a fight.
The Syracuse Orange are set to visit Hawaii in November for the Maui Jim Maui Invitational. Their first opponent will be the Tennessee Volunteers who had an exciting postseason tournament run in 2023. The Vols beat blueblood Duke in Orlando, shocking people across the country. They fell to FAU in the Sweet Sixteen, however this is the same FAU who also shocked the world by making it to the Final Four. Tennessee played in Italy this summer where fifth year transfer Dalton Knecht was the leading scorer for three games. This should be a great matchup to check out on Nov. 20. The Orange could face either Purdue or Gonzaga in Maui depending on the outcome of this game. Both of these teams are very skilled, and will most likely be the toughest opponent for the Orange up to this point in the season.
The Tigers of LSU will travel to Syracuse to face the Orange in the ACC/SEC Challenge. Last season the Tigers lost every road game, possibly giving Syracuse the upperhand in this matchup. Unlike their national championship women’s team, LSU men’s basketball failed to make the postseason tournament. The Tigers showed promise this summer in the Bahamas, especially former Vanderbilt guard Jordan Wright who scored 27 points in their final game. Former Nevada forward Will Baker also chipped in double digit performances in all three games. If the Syracuse Orange can lock down those two on Nov. 28, the Tigers could go home with their tails between their legs.
The Oregon Ducks will meet the Syracuse Orange in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on Dec. 17. Last season, the Ducks finished at 21-15 overall, ending with an NIT loss to the Wisconsin Badgers. They bring back fifth year forward N’Faly Dante who had a field goal average of 61.4% and averaged 8.4 RPG. Oregon also picked up Central Michigan transfer Jesse Zarzuela who averaged 16.3 PPG last season. The Orange will have to find strength down under on if they plan on stopping the almost seven foot tall force of Dante and the Ducks.
The Purple Eagles of Niagara will make the short trip down to Central New York to take on Syracuse on Dec. 21. Niagara broke even last season with a 16-16 overall record, but failed to make a postseason run. They bring in eight new faces to their program with seven portal players and one freshman, including former William Penn guard Malik Edwards. Edwards scored 20+ points in 15 games last season, giving Niagara a solid shooter on the wing. Niagara returns six players from last year’s squad, including Braxton Bayless who was the fourth leading scorer on the squad. The Orange will look to end their non-conference schedule with a win against this fresh-faced Purple Eagle team.