Syracuse Basketball: Orange's 5 Biggest Games in 2013-14 Season

Gene Siudut@@GeneSiudutContributor IIIOctober 29, 2013

Syracuse Basketball: Orange's 5 Biggest Games in 2013-14 Season

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    The Syracuse men’s basketball team starts the new season on November 8 against Cornell.

    Also on the schedule are some familiar teams such as Villanova and Pittsburgh, but with the Orange playing in the ACC this season, the schedule has a different feel.

    Gone from the slate are perennial foes Connecticut and Georgetown, the latter of which is said to be in negotiations to extend the rivalry at least another 10 years.

    Taking over on Syracuse’s schedule are former conference mates Boston College, Virginia Tech and Miami, to name a few. However, the meat of the schedule comes from the state of North Carolina.

    With schools such as Duke and North Carolina to fill the gaps, the Orange will build new rivalries as a mega-conference is built in the wake of the dismantling of the Big East.

    With the addition of Louisville next season, the ACC will boast five of the top 12 schools in the history of college basketball, in terms of wins, with North Carolina (3), Duke (4), Syracuse (5), Notre Dame (9) and Louisville (12).

    With Syracuse playing Indiana on December 3 and St. John's on December 15, the Orange add the No. 10 and No. 7 teams, respectively, in all-time wins as well, putting a stamp on the historic nature of the schedule.

    With that in mind, we will take a look at the five biggest games on the Syracuse schedule. Historic nature of the program, length of rivalry and national ranking were all used in selecting these five games, which will be listed chronologically.

    Here’s the list:

December 15: St. John's

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    On December 15, at the newly renovated Madison Square Garden, Syracuse will rekindle one of the oldest rivalries in college basketball.

    The Orange have been playing St. John’s since 1912 and hold a 50-37 record against their in-state competition.

    This will be Syracuse’s only trip to MSG this season, as it will no longer play on the Big East Tournament’s home court.

January 11: North Carolina

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    Syracuse has played in 73 games at the Carrier Dome in which the crowd has exceeded 30,000 fans.

    This game should be No. 74.

    Last season, against Georgetown on February 23, Syracuse broke its own NCAA on-campus attendance record with a crowd of 35,012.

    This game against the Tar Heels could break that record, as a sea of Orange will lie in wait for Roy Williams’ squad.

    North Carolina holds a 4-3 edge over Syracuse in limited games played, but Orange coach Jim Boeheim has enjoyed success against Williams, including the 2003 national championship while he coached Kansas.

    This should be one of at least two games that break the 30,000 mark for attendance.

February 2: Duke

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    This should be the second 30,000-plus game for Syracuse at the Dome, as the game sold out on the first morning tickets were available.

    These two schools are already bitter rivals in the lacrosse world, so sliding into this rivalry will be easy for Syracuse fans.

    Jim Boeheim and Mike Krzyzewski, the two winningest coaches in NCAA Division I history, are good friends and coach side-by-side for Team USA, so the rivalry may not be so bitter, at least in terms of the coaches.

    With Duke being the preseason No. 4 team and Syracuse being No. 7, this should be one for the ages.

    Syracuse and Duke have only played each other four times, with each school winning two games.

February 3: Notre Dame

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    Fresh off of the Duke game, Syracuse gets one day’s rest to prepare for the incoming Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

    Notre Dame, ranked No. 22 in the preseason, has been a great rival for Syracuse, which holds a 25-19 advantage over the Irish.

    This game will showcase Syracuse's Jerami Grant and his brother, Notre Dame's Jerian Grant.

    Orange fans will remember Notre Dame dealing Syracuse its first loss of the season on January 21, 2012. Syracuse was the top-ranked team in the nation, but was playing without suspended Fab Melo and left South Bend with its first blemish of the season.

February 22: Duke

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    More of the same intensity, but this time, Syracuse takes the trip down to Duke to experience the Cameron Crazies.

    As previously stated, Syracuse has played in front of 30,000-plus fans at home on 73 occasions, but Cameron Indoor Stadium, which holds just over 9,000 in confined quarters, will be one of the most hostile environments the Orange will play in.