On Saturday, College Basketball fans saw two rivalries that have been a long tradition of College Basketball. Besides the NCAA Final Four, rivalries are why fans watch College Basketball. For example, The number 3 ranked Duke Blue Devils versus the North Carolina Tar Heels’ rivalry was on full display. Fans saw Duke destroy the Tar Heels by the score of 69-53. However, the game between the number 5 ranked Georgetown Hoyas and number 17 ranked Syracuse Orange grabbed fans’ attention. College Basketball fans watched, because it would be a historic game in this Big East Rivalry.
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The game is historic, because it was the last game that both Georgetown and Syracuse would play during the Big East’s Regular Season. Due to college basketball realignment, the Hoyas and the Orange will never meet in a conference game again. With a 61-39 victory, the Hoyas went out a winner and tied for at least a part of a Big East Conference title. It is almost too difficult to write, but the Big East and the storied rivalry will be over after this season.
Other than its Big East rivalry between the Orange, Georgetown will forever be remembered for players like Patrick Ewing, Reggie Williams, Allen Iverson, Alonzo Mourning, Eric “Sleepy” Floyd, and many other great players. Coach John Thompson always had his players ready to play. Syracuse was not too far behind with talented players like Derrick Coleman, Pearl Washington, Carmelo Anthony, Sherman Douglas, Billy Owens and many other players. The list is based on players I actually seen play. Dave Bing perhaps the best player to ever play at Syracuse was well before my time. Head Coach Jim Bohiem also was part of the Syracuse alumni, but it is his coached teams that adds to his legacy.
Syracuse mastered the art of throwing the alley-oop. During this Big East rivalry, Sherman Douglas ran the fast break like no other guard in College Basketball. Derrick Coleman was possibly the best college player I ever saw play at Syracuse or in College Basketball. Coleman was that good. When they were called the Orangemen, they were exciting to watch.The Pearl Washington had a handle that made defensive players look silly. This Big East rivalry was quite intense. In 2003, Carmelo Anthony in his one season led Syracuse to their only National Title.
Patrick Ewing put Georgetown’s program on the map, but a player like Reggie Williams had everyone wanting to work on their jump shot. Allen Iverson was the best offensive and most explosive player to ever play as a Hoya.
Although, Georgetown lost the game against the Tar Heels who can forget the five goal-tending calls on Ewing. It was his defensive presence that kept the 1982 NCAA Championsip Final’s game close. Georgetown would get its Champship in 1984 with a win over the Houston Cougars.
It is a Big East rivalry that saw punches thrown, big game winning shots made, and more colorful comments said from both teams. It is a rivalry that made the Big East a premiere conference. Both teams may meet again but never as Big East Rivals.