Slamming Syracuse's schedule is wrong

Originally Published: January 11, 2005
By Jay Bilas | Special to ESPN Insider
I love to needle Jim Boeheim. He's a good guy, and a really funny guy, and he gives as good as he gets. It's always fun to give him the business about how far he married over his head, his demeanor on the sidelines, and above all, how he is perceived to line up a bunch of tomato cans in the Carrier Dome, and has a hard time finding his road uniforms before conference play.

It has been a convenient joke that, before taking on the Irish at Notre Dame, Syracuse had not left the state of New York to play this season. That was true, but New York is a big state. It has also been opined that Syracuse plays a lame non-conference schedule and has not challenged itself away from the Carrier Dome. That is NOT true. Syracuse has played as challenging a schedule as any team in the Big East, and its slate stacks up favorably with the power teams in any league.

Scheduling non-conference games can be a tricky business, and it can be more of an art than a science. It is easy to say "play a tough non-conference slate, and really challenge yourself," but every team needs balance in its schedule. Here are some of the factors that you need to take into consideration before bashing coaches with a facile interpretation of schedules:

Jay Bilas

College Basketball analyst