Following Syracuse’s 48-34 season-opening loss to defending champion Virginia at the Carrier Dome, coach Jim Boeheim blasted the ACC during his postgame press conference, calling the early-season conference matchup “a money grab.”
Boeheim’s comments came in the wake of Syracuse’s lowest scoring output in a game since World War II. The Orange shot 13-for-54 (23.6%) from the field and scored just 15 points in the second half in their first home-opener loss since 2003. That definitely had something to do with Boeheim’s anger, as did adding a conference loss to his team’s record in November, but the main target of his ire was the ACC.
“You never want to play the league games early. That’s stupid. It’s just a money grab,” said Boeheim to reporters after the game. “You want to build up to league. The league’s the most important thing, so why would you play the first game of the year in the league? Makes no sense to me but that’s what happens when you go up to 20 games…”
Though Boeheim walked his comments back a bit by saying he would sound different if the Orange had won, the veteran of 44 coaching years had strong words about the ACC’s new schedule. The conference bumped its annual slate up to 20 games in the wake of the debut of the ACC Network, and all its teams except Duke (who played Kansas) faced an ACC foe in their first game of the season so the new outlet could enjoy a big opening night.
The college basketball season typically begins with a softer slate to allow teams and players in new environments to get up to game speed before the main conference slate begins in January and February. Conference records are a valuable currency in March, so it’s no surprise the often-crotchety Boeheim wasted little time in bemoaning a schedule change that caught his team looking like they need some time to get on the same page.
Syracuse next plays Colgate at the Carrier Dome on Wednesday.