For the Syracuse Orange and the Georgetown Hoyas, the end isn’t near; it’s here (credit Band of Horses for that line). The Orange and the Hoyas, the rivalry that built The Big East into the great conference that it was before former commissioner John Marinatto allowed it to be destroyed, will meet tomorrow for the final team in a Big East regular season game; and if the two teams don’t meet in New York City next week during The Big East Tournament, it will be the final meeting between the two as Big East foes.
Tomorrow is bound to be a sad day for both sides, as the pre-eminent rivalry in one of the proudest and most competitive conferences in college basketball comes to an end. It’s not a rivalry that was formed by geography, as so many of the great college basketball rivalries are. It was a rivalry that was created organically: out of competitive games, out of meaningful games, out of heated moments, out of fierce pride, and out of unfiltered passion that spilled out of coaches, players, and fans every time the two teams shared a court with one another.
The day will be especially sad for Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, who has been around for every one of the epic Big East battles between Syracuse and Georgetown. Boeheim has made no secret of his displeasure about Syracuse losing most of its Big East rivals due to its upcoming move to the ACC, most notably Georgetown. Over the years, Boeheim has come to cherish his games against Georgetown, first with John Thompson Jr., the man who ignited the flames of the rivalry with his brash words back in 1980, and now with Big John’s son and current Hoyas coach John Thompson III. Whether he wants to admit it or not, this being the final Syracuse-Georgetown game in Big East play will be weighing heavy on his mind.
In a perfect world, Syracuse and Georgetown would be able to continue its rivalry in The Big East forever, but we all know this is not a perfect game. In a slightly less than perfect world, Syracuse and Georgetown could co-exist in separate conferences but still play twice a year, and always be the game that concludes the college basketball regular season; but even that scenario seems far fetched.
So in this far-from-perfect world, would this be too much to ask: have Syracuse win tomorrow so the two teams can split their two regular season meetings, and then have the Orange and the Hoyas meet one more time in the finals of The Big East Tournament, in a rubber match for the season series and with the ultimate Big East bragging rights on the line. Wouldn’t it be fitting for the two teams that built The Big East to meet in its championship game in the season that is essentially the conference’s swan song? Would that be asking too much, even after tomorrow’s game, to see Syracuse and Georgetown just one more time? Because that’s what this rivalry does to you. After every game, no matter the outcome, you always want to see just one more game. Is that too much to ask?