Carmelo Anthony waved, greeted swaths of fans then sat down to watch the carnage. He likely regretted coming within minutes. In his first return to Syracuse since his jersey retirement in 2013, Melo watched Syracuse score 34 points. Total.
Virginia barely topped that in a 48-34 chuck-fest between two defensively-oriented teams that looked unprepared offensively for their opponents. Jim Boeheim called the move to play ACC games to open the NCAA season “stupid.” CLNS Media’s Jeff Goodman thinks it ends next year.
The move aimed to promote the new ACC Network, but flopped despite over 22,000 fans arriving for a game that drew Melo and Orange legend Dave Bing back to the Dome. It also served as Virginia’s first game following its national championship. Their defense didn’t regress at all, strangling Syracuse with the Pack Line for its most impressive points-allowed showing of the Tony Bennett era.
ACC teams now return to non-conference schedules until December, when another slate of games awaits them mid-way through that month. The conference changed to 20 games this year, altering the schedule for its teams. Goodman discussed that and how the champs look in his appearance on the Syracuse Basketball Pod.