Report: Annual Big 5 double-headers at the Palestra may make a return

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With the Big 5’s 60th anniversary coming up next season, it seems that the battle for college hoops supremacy in Philadelphia could be going back to its roots.

According to a report from the Dick Jerardi of the Daily News, the Big 5 schools are nearing a decision that would allow an annual double-header to be played at the Palestra beginning in 2015-2016.

“Each of the schools [other than Penn] would move a minimal number of home games to the Palestra over the 5-year cycle,” Steve Bilsky, the executive director of the Big 5, told Jerardi. “I’ve tried to work the schedule so that no one school is unfairly impacted and that Big 5 games still have a presence on each school’s campus.”

This may not seem like a huge deal to people outside of the city, but college hoops fans in Philly will be loving this news. The Palestra is one of the most storied and treasured venues in the sport, and those double-headers between city rivals hold a special place in the hearts of everyone associated with those programs. It’s these kind of unique events that makes college basketball special.

Earlier this season, Villanova, La Salle and Temple all brought back a tradition of throwing streamers with their team’s colors in the air on the first basket of a game. La Salle head coach John Giannini told reporters after the game that the act was a statement they wanted to make to try and get all the Big 5 games back into the Palestra.

“I want to play them all here,” Giannini said. “You have to do what us and Temple did. You have to give up one home game every other year to continue one of the best traditions in basketball. But we’re electing not to give up that one game every other year.”

“[The games we play] are two good teams, but without the venue, without the split crowd, without the tradition. We elect not to play the games here, even though I think that the atmosphere at these games is vastly superior to a normal home court situation. And I think the students love it, the alums love it, and the players love it. I don’t know who doesn’t love it, but someone doesn’t love it.”

And since we’re on the subject, my favorite picture from the college basketball season was taken at this game: