Count Georgetown legend and coach Patrick Ewing among those who hopes to keep the Hoyas’ historic and now non-conference rivalry with Syracuse alive after their four-year contract ends this weekend.
“Definitely. I think it’s good for both universities,” Ewing said ahead of Saturday’s matchup with the Orange in D.C. “We’ve had a lot of battles over the years when they were in the Big East and I think it’s good for both universities to continue.”
There’s little doubt John Thompson and Jim Boeheim had legendary games throughout the 1980s and 1990s as the two programs enjoyed national prominence in a rough-and-tumble Big East that was often the toast of the country. The old Big East, though, wasn’t just the Hoyas and the Orange. Georgetown had big games with the likes of Connecticut and Boston College, too, that dissolved once the Big East’s basketball programs split off in the last round of conference realignment. Would those, too, be something Ewing might be interested in rekindling?
“I’m not even sure about those guys yet” he said. “Syracuse was one of the biggest rivalries that we had so we definitely want to continue that.
“Others, we’ll see about it.”
Not exactly a resounding answer if you were hoping to see the Hoyas in Storrs or Boston anytime soon.
Which is fine, but it’s also something of a missed opportunity. Georgetown continuing to play Syracuse is huge. That’s a matchup that means a ton to both schools, and to the sport at large, honestly. It might not be the game it was when Ewing was in a jersey, but it’s a great opportunity to remember the Big East when it was at its best.
That’s less the case for any other former Big East team the Hoyas might otherwise schedule, but given how Ewing has put his non-conference slates together in his two years at the helm, he could use a little juice that UConn or BC or Pitt or West Virginia or whoever could bring to the schedule.
Syracuse was the only Power 5 opponent the Hoyas played in the non-con last year, and this season they’re joined only by Illinois. They’ll take on SMU of the AAC later this month, but otherwise it’s a bunch of games that are going to do little to get anyone excited about Georgetown basketball before January.
The first step for Ewing to get Georgetown back to prominence is winning in the Big East, which understandably is his top priority, but eventually the Hoyas are going to have to start playing actual challenging schedules in November and December if they really want to be taken seriously as power program once again. Putting a few former Big East teams on the docket would be an easy way to do that.