Thirty-four years ago, Indiana won its first-ever matchup with Syracuse. You probably recall the game, Keith Smart’s baseline jumper to seal it and the victorious postgame celebration that unfolded at the Louisiana Superdome after the fact. It was a good night.
Unfortunately for the Hoosiers, there haven’t been many good nights against Jim Boeheim’s program in the years since that initial meeting. The Orange have won each of the last five contests in the series, including the past three by double digits.
But this fall, Mike Woodson will get his chance to snap IU’s Syracuse slide.
According to CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein, Indiana and Syracuse will meet in the Carrier Dome as part of this year’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge, marking the first meeting between the programs since the Orange claimed a 69-52 victory in the same event in 2013. That was actually the second game between the schools during that particular calendar year, but our memories of that first get-together have been lost to time. A real shame.
Anyway, the trip to Upstate New York also means IU will be on the road in the Challenge for the second straight year. The Hoosiers lost at Florida State last season.
Syracuse closed the 2020-21 campaign as a No. 11 seed in the NCAA Tournament, beating San Diego State and West Virginia before falling to Houston in the Sweet Sixteen. The Orange ended up at No. 42 in the KenPom ratings and finished as the No. 38 team nationally at BartTorvik.com. The latter site forecasts the Orange as the No. 58 program entering next season.
Syracuse is the seventh non-conference opponent on IU’s 2021-22 schedule. Here’s where each of them sit in Bart Torvik’s preseason T-Ranks:
- Merrimack: No. 173
- Northern Kentucky: No. 142
- Louisiana Lafayette: No. 130
- Marshall: No. 172
- Notre Dame (Crossroads Classic): No. 27
- St. John’s (Gavitt Games/home game): No. 124
- Syracuse (ACC/Big Ten Challenge/road game): No. 58
Our first look at next year’s IU team will come next month when the Hoosiers face BC Mega of Serbia in two exhibitions at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in the Bahamas.