It was inevitable that a prominent Big East coach would begin complaining about the ludicrous unbalanced schedule that inflicts unusual punishment on the perceived better teams in the league, because TV networks want the best matchups.
Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim and Syracuse are 15-3 and 3-1 in league play, but have home-and-home sets with Villanova, UConn and Cincinnati among a torturous 16-game conference schedule that also includes a trip to Pitt and home dates with West Virginia, Louisville and Rutgers.
Boeheim is the midst of a nightmarish five-game stretch that started nine days ago at Notre Dame, continued with an 8 p.m. game last Saturday at Cincinnati and, two nights later, a 9 p.m. game against Connecticut at the Carrier Dome. The Orange finish up with a 6 p.m. road game at Villanova Saturday night followed by another 7 p.m. Big Monday game at Pitt two nights later.
“Scheduling is too much in this league for television and not enough for the players,” Boeheim said, mirroring Bob Knight’s sentiments, after his team was overwhelmed by UConn, 88-80. “It’s very disheartening to look at schedules and see that. Granted, TV is important, but it shouldn’t run the league.
“The worst thing was playing Saturday night at 8 and getting home at 2:30 in the morning. That’s just foolishness to have stuff like that. At least play an afternoon game at Cincinnati or something.
“The way we’re scheduling is just not going to work. Jim Calhoun and I talked before the game about this. It just doesn’t make sense.”
Boeheim has privately told friends he will be lucky if the Orange finishes 8-8 in the league, which could theoretically put Syracuse on the bubble on Selection Sunday because of its lack of quality non-conference wins and resistance toward playing road games in December.
I’ve read Weiss’ piece three times and I still can’t find the part where Boeheim offers to coach for free and tears up his shoe deal, because some things are more important than playing on television.