At noon tomorrow, Syracuse and Georgetown will share the hardwood one more time as Big East opponents when they take the floor at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
Next season, Syracuse joins the ACC while Georgetown will become part of the new Big East Conference. The Orange and Hoyas have been both left their mark on the Big East. Syracuse and Georgetown have combined for two national titles, seven Final Four appearances and 12 conference titles as Big East members.
While the players continually change, some of the roots of the original rivalry are still in place. Jim Boeheim has coached in the Big East since its inaugural season in 1979 while John Thompson III has been around the conference since he was young. Saturday’s game sets up an emotional finale.
“It’s something that’s been a part of my life,” Thompson said over the phone to Nicole Auerbach of USA Today.
“Without a doubt, it’ll be emotional,” Thompson added. “As much as we both plan on continuing to play, it’s going to be different. What has made these games so special, this rivalry so special — and then, in turn, made this league so special — is the Georgetown-Syracuse games. Even if we continue, they’re not going to be twice a year, three times a year, with a conference title at stake.”
Boeheim shared those sentiments earlier in the season following a loss to UConn.
“Your biggest rivalries are going to be against the teams in your league,” said Boeheim. “Even if you play somebody it will never be the same.”
Saturday afternoon will be the last true game between these two storied programs. The rivalry is added obviously by the occasion, but both teams are still battling for position in the Big East standings. The Hoyas are in a three-way tie for first place along with Marquette and Louisville while Cuse will like to return the favor of beating their rivalry on their home floor after Otto Porter and G’Town took down the Orange inside the Carrier Dome on Feb. 23.
One of the best rivalries in college ball significantly drops off after tomorrow, unless the two meet in NYC. Enjoy this one last bout.