Syracuse and UConn are set to play once again, which is of course a great thing for college basketball. The former Big East enemies have been separated since Cuse went to the ACC and Connecticut jettisoned its old conference for the American.
Now Husky and Orange fans can start planning: The Hartford Courant reports next season’s game will take place on Dec. 5 at the best possible location — outside of each’s home venue — to renew the rivalry: Madison Square Garden. Both teams could be in the top 25 at that point, meaning this could be one of the biggest non-conference games of December.
Via the Courant:
According to multiple sources, the agreement is complete, the contract is in the final review process, and the game should be announced shortly. And there is a strong possibility of extending the series beyond next season: UConn and Syracuse are also close to agreement to play in the annual Jimmy V Classic at the Garden the following season, the first week of December in 2017. Beyond that, talks are ongoing to continue meeting, either in an annual game at Madison Square Garden, or perhaps as a home-and-home series.
Good news for the sport. While Georgetown is and will always be SU’s true rival, the past 15 years have seen UConn and Syracuse become nationally relevant, with each school’s fan base becomng more annoyed with the other’s. A little hostility helps, certainly. Cuse leads the series all time, with a 55-36 edge. The teams last game came as Big East foes was in 2013, when UConn won 66-58 in a home game. (I was there.) They also played last season, you’ll recall, when Cuse beat UConn in the Bahamian-based Battle 4 Atlantic tourney.
Now we wait for the official announcement, which could be coming this week. Syracuse’s big waiting game relates to Malachi Richardson, a freshman last season who had a big NCAA Tournament and is going through the pre-draft process to decide if he’ll return for his sophomore season. If he does, UConn and Cuse will both have expectations of being top 25 teams.