Syracuse University played its first intercollegiate basketball game in 1898, when a women's basketball team from the university defeated the Normal School in Cortland, 6-1. The university first fielded a men's basketball team in 1899. That team lost its first game 16-6 against the Christian Association of Hamilton, Ontario.
Some sources consider the university's 1900 men's team, which went 2-2, to be Syracuse's first varsity team. The men's program enjoyed plenty of success early in its history, winning national championships in 1918 under coach Ed Dollard and in 1926 under coach Lew Andreas. Syracuse won another men's basketball championship in 2003, while its women's team has not won a national championship as of 2015.