In a old Big East rivalry, No. 7 Villanova avenged last season’s loss to Syracuse with an 82-77 overtime win at home. Since the conference fell apart at the end of the 2012-13 season, the Wildcats and Orange agreed to a home-and-home series, which concluded on Saturday afternoon.
Following the game, Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim and Villanova’s Jay Wright both expressed their desire to continue the old Big East rivalry.
“It’s a great game, a great rivalry,” Boeheim said, according to Chris Carlson of Syracuse.com. “There were a lot of people in the building tonight. When Villanova plays someone else here they’re not going to get 18,000. It’s a great game for us, a great game for them. Hopefully we keep playing these types of games.”
“Syracuse-Villanova has never been anything other than what we just saw,” Wright added. “It’s the same thing no matter who plays here, no matter who coaches are. I think we have to appreciate that. This is as important to us as any Big East game now. It’s Northeast basketball. We appreciate them keeping this alive. We hope we can do that. I think they do, too.”
Since the Big East disbanded, Syracuse has continued to schedule the likes of Villanova and St. John’s while setting up future contests with Georgetown. The Orange have the chance to play UConn next season, if everything in the 2015 Battle 4 Atlantis falls into place. Villanova will continue to play Georgetown twice a year as conference foes while the Hoyas have also renewed a rivalry with a former Big East opponent, announcing a home-and-home series with UConn back in October.