NCAAB Syracuse Orange

NCAA Division: Division I
Conference: Atlantic Coast
Past Conferences: Big East, Independent

City: Syracuse, NY

Stadium: JMA Wireless Dome

NCAA Tournaments: 1957, 1966, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2021


National Championships: 1

Conference Titles: 5

Team History

They started playing basketball in Syracuse in the 19th century and had some standout teams in the early history of the game, claiming “national champs” in 1918 and 1926. There were some NIT berths in 1946 and 1950 and an NCAA Tournament entry in 1957, but the program really came into its own once Dave Bing came to campus.


A guard out of Washington, D.C., Bing averaged 22.2 points in his first season to lead the Orange to an NIT berth, posted 23.2 points per game as a junior and then averaged 28.4 in a phenomenal senior campaign. That team, in 1965-66, was an offensive force. Syracuse Orange team stats were eye-popping, as the squad put up over 100 points 14 times. 


Bing had 20 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in a first-round win over Davidson in the NCAA Tournament. That run came to an end against Duke in the second round, and the team didn’t make the Big Dance again until 1973.



Two seasons later, in 1975, coach Ray Danforth took a team led by senior star Rudy Hackett to the Final Four. Danforth left for Tulane before the 1976-77 season, opening the door for assistant Jim Boeheim, a one-time Syracuse star alongside Bing, to step into the head role.


Forty-six years later, Boeheim is still at it. He has guided the Orange to several conference titles, 34 NCAA Tournament appearances, and one national championship in 2003. He ranks second all-time in wins behind the now-retired Mike Krzyzewski with 998, although that number doesn’t include the 101 victories Boeheim and the school were forced to vacate.


Three of Boeheim’s first four teams went to the Sweet 16, including the 1980 team -playing for the first time at the mammoth Carrier Dome that would help define the program- that was co-champion of the brand new Big East. Syracuse would dominate the basketball-mad league off-and-on for the next three-plus decades, before it moved to the ACC in 2013.


Influx of Incredible Talent

The 1983-84 team was significant in that it began an influx of incredible talent into the program with the arrival of heralded guard Dwayne Washington. He averaged 14.4 points and 6.2 assists as a freshman to help the Orange to a second-place finish in the Big East and the second round of the NCAA Tournament. 


The following season saw the addition of superb big man Rony Seikaly. Another outstanding guard, Sherman Douglas, joined the program the season after that. And in 1986-87, Boeheim introduced to the college basketball world a forward by the name of Derrick Coleman, who would go down as one of the best players in program history.


That star-studded team averaged 85.2 points in five straight wins to get to the 1987 national championship game, and it led Indiana in the closing moments. Keith Smart’s jumper from the wing put the Hoosiers ahead, and Syracuse never got off a shot attempt before time expired.


Boeheim’s teams remained at or near the top of the Big East for the next decade and reached another national championship in 1996, this time falling to a loaded Kentucky team that had nine players who would eventually taste NBA action – eight more than Syracuse (John Wallace).


The third time was a charm for Boeheim, as he finally picked up a national crown in 2003. Led by superstar freshman Carmelo Anthony, Syracuse survived a series of close ones in the NCAA Tournament, including an 81-78 triumph over Kansas in the finals.


While Anthony was one and done, the Orange kept trucking along, winning at least 21 games every season from 1997-98 through 2013-14 and continuously resting atop NCAAB odds sheets. The 2011-12 edition won a school-record 34 games and reached the Elite Eight; the following season saw Syracuse win 30 more and make it back to the Final Four, where it fell to Michigan.


The move to the ACC came not long before the NCAA came down hard on the athletic program. The basketball team was forced to vacate 101 wins spread over four seasons, including that 34-win campaign – although NCAA Tournament appearances and two Big East tourney titles remain on the books.


The Orange made it to the Final Four as a 10-seed in 2016, but wins have been harder to come by in the ACC, where the program is just two games over .500 in conference play over the past eight seasons. It has missed the NCAA Tournament three times in that span (four if counting the COVID-shortened 2020 season,) and the 2021-22 team had the program’s first losing record in 53 years.

All-Time Records

  • Points Scored

    • Lawrence Moten: 2,334

    • Derrick Coleman: 2,143

    • John Wallace: 2,119


  • Rebounds

    • Derrick Coleman: 1,537

    • Rony Seikaly: 1,094

    • John Wallace: 1,065


  • Assists

    • Sherman Douglas: 960

    • Jason Hart: 709

    • Gerry McNamara: 648


  • Wins

    • Jim Boeheim: 1,099

    • Lew Andreas: 358

    • Edmund Dollard: 210


  1. What Is the Highest Win Total in Program History?


The 2011-12 team won 34 games, although those wins were vacated following an NCAA ruling on various program infractions. The 1986-87 squad had 31 wins en route to the national title game.


  1. What Was the Worst Season in Program History?


One could make a case that the 2021-22 season was the most disappointing in program history, since it resulted in the team’s first sub.-500 record since 1969 and was just one of four Syracuse teams to ever have a losing conference record.


The 1961-62 edition had the program’s worst winning percentage at .083 (2-22).


  1. Who Is the Greatest Player in Program History?


Dave Bing was at Syracuse long before they were a national power, and several big-name stars have come and gone since. Of note is Derrick Coleman, the only player to rank in the top two in points and rebounds, and Carmelo Anthony, who was perhaps the best player in the country in his one season with the program. And no discussion of great Syracuse players can be had without mention of two wonderful point guards of the 1980s, Dwayne “Pearl” Washington and Sherman Douglas.


But it was Bing who helped put the Orange on the map with three remarkable seasons between 1963 and 1966. He averaged 24.8 points for his career and 28.4 as a senior. He led that team to a regional final in the NCAA Tournament in the program’s first trip in nine years.

Bing was selected second overall in the NBA draft, won the Rookie of the Year award in 1967, made seven All-Star teams, and was elected to the National Basketball Hall of Fame in 1990.

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