- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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1. Syracuse will have quite an entrance into the ACC next season. The Orange will have an epic home schedule at the Carrier Dome with ACC headline games against Duke and North Carolina, an inaugural ACC-Big Ten Challenge game against Indiana in a rematch of their 2013 Sweet 16 game and a renewed series against former Big East rival Villanova. The Orange also will play a road game at their home-away-from home -- Madison Square Garden -- against St. John's. That's four home games against teams that are locks for the NCAA tournament, and two of those games are against benchmark programs in the ACC and top five programs in the country. Four of those five teams should be in the NCAAs with St. John's the one question mark, but a program that should be in the mix. Oh, and the Orange are in the Maui Invitational, too, which includes two teams that should be headline squads in their respective leagues -- Gonzaga (WCC) and Baylor (likely picked third in the Big 12). "It's a difficult schedule,'' said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim. "It's fairly comparable to playing Louisville, Georgetown and those types of teams.'' Boeheim has been outspoken lately about his enthusiasm for going into the ACC next season and the new challenges. He certainly sounded like he's embracing it after learning that the Hoosiers are also coming to the Carrier Dome, a game that is a direct result of playing in the ACC. "It's certainly a high-level (schedule). Obviously it's in our first year in the league, and it's great for our fans. We get both Duke and Carolina. That's a big thing. It will make the adjustment easier going into the ACC. We're excited about it. It's a great schedule.''
2. Davidson didn't strategically plan to be in the A-10. But the Wildcats best move was not making a move a year ago when they turned down an offer to go to the CAA. The decision to stay put created an opportunity that could change the Davidson athletic department for the foreseeable future. Davidson president Carol Quillen said Wednesday during the news conference announcing the Wildcats admission into the A-10 in 2014-15 that they had surveyed the national scene and were anticipating something happening due to the volatility. But no one anticipated or dreamed of the chance to go to the A-10, said Davidson AD Jim Murphy. "Choosing to wait was the right one,'' he said. Murphy said access to at-large bids made the move from the Southern to the A-10 an easy option. The school isn't worried about additional travel for non-revenue sports since Murphy said there are enough schools in the region where they could get there in a cost-effective manner and then travel to a championship site. Murphy said rearranging schedules made moving by August too disruptive. But the Southern Conference, unlike the CAA, is allowing Davidson to participate in all championship events, which is why they are not forcing the move this year. Reaction to adding Davidson was overwhelmingly positive. George Mason coach Paul Hewitt called it a great move. UMass coach Derek Kellogg said it gives the A-10 another perennial NCAA team and will only add to the great tradition. VCU coach Shaka Smart said it made a deep league even stronger. And Richmond coach Chris Mooney added, "Their record speaks for itself. Great name recognition. Adds another strong team in the South.''
3. The ACC had to cut loose three teams -- Clemson, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest -- from the ACC-Big Ten Challenge with the imbalance of teams (Big Ten has 12 and the ACC has 15). In 2014-15, the ACC will have 15 teams and the Big Ten 14, so one ACC team will not be in the event. But the ACC knew it was going to trim the three teams with the lowest power ratings. So, how will those schools replace a potential quality nonconference opponent? Clemson coach Brad Brownell said he's still working on the schedule. Wake Forest coach Jeff Bzdelik said the Demon Deacons will get three strong opponents in the Battle 4 Atlantis, play at Xavier and host Richmond, Tulane and St. Bonaventure. Virginia Tech coach James Johnson said the Hokies will get West Virginia at home, play VCU at the Richmond Coliseum and are in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in Brooklyn with Michigan State, Oklahoma and Seton Hall.