You could call Georgetown Hoyas Coach John Thompson III a Big East Conference baby. Thompson grew up watching his father John Thompson Jr., develop the Hoyas into a basketball power, as the Big East challenged the Atlantic Coast Conference for college hoops supremacy.
Perhaps that’s why it saddens Thompson to see the Syracuse Orange, one of the Big East’s charter members, leave for the ACC.
Thompson and Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim both expressed a desire to see the rivalry survive the Orange’s exist. They understand that Syracuse’s departure is a business decision with emotional impact. But Thompson can’t help but wonder what becomes of rivalries ripped apart.
“I’ve said and I think Jim’s said the same thing: We want to keep playing each other,” Thompson said at the Big East Media Day. “But now it falls into the category of out of conference scheduling, which is much more difficult.”
Boeheim stated that Syracuse would continue to play Big East teams, but fell short of guaranteeing that Georgetown would be one of them.
This season Georgetown and Syracuse play twice. The first game is Feb. 23 at Syracuse. The second is the final game of the Big East regular season, March 9 at Georgetown.
“That last game is something that’s going to be exciting, something we’re looking forward to. It’ll be special,” said Thompson. “The Georgetown-Syracuse tradition — it’s more than a rivalry. It’s a tradition. It has been a part of the fabric of this conference. And now they’re leaving and they’ll find someone else to establish that with and we’ll continue with a lot of people that are still in this room.”
Merlisa covers Georgetown and Big East basketball. Follow her on Twitter: @Merlisa