Syracuse HC Jim Boeheim Says Playing Conference Games in Opener Is 'Stupid'

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 7, 2019

SYRACUSE, NY - NOVEMBER 06:  Head coach Jim Boeheim of the Syracuse Orange reacts to a play against the Virginia Cavaliers during the first half at the Carrier Dome on November 6, 2019 in Syracuse, New York. (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images)
Rich Barnes/Getty Images

After a 48-34 loss to Virginia, Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim revealed his true thoughts on the ACC using a conference game as the season opener.   

"You never want to play the elite games so early," Boeheim said after Wednesday's game, per Jeff Goodman. "It's stupid. Just a money grab."

The Orange shot just 23.6 percent from the field and 17.2 percent from three-point range in the loss to the No. 11 team in the country.

According to Ken Pomeroy of KenPom.com, it was the program's worst offensive performance since 1945.

Virginia causes a lot of teams to struggle offensively, even with many new faces in the rotation. Tony Bennett's squad is the reigning national champion and held opponents to an NCAA-best 56.1 points per game last year.

Facing the Cavaliers in the first game of the season is a recipe for disaster for any squad.

However, it makes matters worse that this counts as a conference loss and a missed opportunity for a potential resume-building win that would look good in March. There's no guarantee Syracuse would've fared better later in the season, but the squad likely could've enjoyed more chemistry on both ends of the court.

Boeheim is also known for easing his teams into the season with lots of home games or neutral-court battles in New York City, where the program has a sizable fanbase. 

Over the past four seasons (including this year), the only November games for Syracuse outside of New York have been scheduled in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. 

However, the 20-game ACC schedule has created a longer stretch of conference play and some important games right out of the gate. Only Duke didn't play a fellow ACC opponent while taking on No. 3 Kansas instead.

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