After a long wait, Syracuse basketball’s biggest rival is here. And it’s probably what everyone expected. Duke did have a chance, but there were too many games the Blue Devils won by 10-plus points. So here we go.
Syracuse and Georgetown have a storied history. They are the two titans of the original Big East, both with long-tenured head coaches, All-Americans, and many memorable matchups. No longtime SU fan can forget John Thompson saying “Manley Field house is officially closed” after the Hoyas beat the Orange in Syracuse’s last game at the old venue. Or Thompson picking up three technical fouls in succession in 1990. Thompson (and then his son John Thompson III) going at it with Jim Boeheim year after year made that rivalry as intense as it was.
During the years of those heated Big East battles, both programs have also had superstar after superstar. Patrick Ewing was the face of the Hoyas in the 80s, followed up by Dikembe Mutumbo and Alonzo Mourning. SU had Pearl Washington, Rony Seikaly, and Sherman Douglas, then later Derrick Coleman and Billy Owens. Allen Iverson electrified the Big East from 1994-96, and Carmelo Anthony did the same in 2003. However, since the end of the conference, both teams have fallen off in terms of producing NBA players. Syracuse only has six players in the Association, and Jeff Green and Otto Porter are the only two Hoyas with NBA teams.
Speaking of Otto Porter, anyone remember this?
CJ Fair’s left hand stuff punctuated Syracuse’s last ever conference victory over Georgetown. The two teams always had great battles, but the Orange left the Big East series with the last word (after Thompson said “Kiss Syracuse goodbye” a week earlier). The two teams have faced off five times since SU moved to the ACC, with Georgetown winning three out of the five. However, Syracuse still has the overall win advantage (45-41 since 1950). Hopefully, the Orange can continue to travel down to Washington D.C. and battle the Hoyas, now coached by Ewing (surprisingly enough with the help of former SU great Louis Orr). The history of both programs is strong, and it’s what makes the rivalry still great to this day.
In the great words of Leo Rautins, “What the hell is a Hoya?”
Honorable mentions: Villanova, Pitt