The Georgetown Hoyas meet the Syracuse Orange in less than an hour at Verizon Center, the Hoyas home in Washington, D.C. As this game approaches, the first in three years between the once longtime Big East conference foes (and founders), I have been thinking of the saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same” as it pertains to this rivalry.
What Has Changed?
- Affiliation: The Orange bolted from the Big East with Louisville and Pitt to the ACC in search of football riches. Have they found them? No. They were a party to the destruction of the best college basketball conference in history and rather than create the football success they craved, they have remained competitive in basketball in the relatively weak and bloated ACC and instead have found themselves in a heap of
- Orange NCAA and Legal Troubles: Well documented, the Cuse basketball program has been in a heap of trouble since departing the Big East, to the surprise of No One ?, and today the icon of the program, Head Coach Jim Boeheim, will be missing from the bench, starting to serve his sentence for overseeing a program that lost its way and committed many NCAA violations about which you can read everywhere. I am certain that Hoya Fans at Verizon Center will miss this familiar target on the bench today, always searching for the frequent public nose picking. I personally will miss any connection between the longtime coaching foes, former Hoya Great John Thompson, Jr. (Pops) and Boeheim, and how they might acknowledge the return of the rivalry, which is scheduled to be Home and Away for 4 years starting today.
Yet the Song Remains the Same:
- It is About the Basketball: Regardless of the sanctions imposed upon the Syracuse program, one thing remains constant: these teams want bragging rights and the W. Little has changed from the Appropriate Closing of Manley Field House (1980) from a Hoya and basketball perspective and that is, this game remains important in the history books. Today’s game is important to the Hoyas as they are unranked and the Orange are ranked 14, having achieved success thus far this season in spite of all the infractions. In an era where integrity gets lost in the narrative and wins and losses and money rules, for at least 40 minutes today, each team has one goal and today the victory will mean much more to the Hoyas than a loss will affect the Orange. The Hoyas are coming off of two victories against lesser teams from weak conferences, the Bryant Bulldogs and University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and today are expected to knock off an old foe and regain some national respectability.
2. The Hoya Faithful: Georgetown needs this game and victory to reinvigorate a fan base that was kicked in the gut with an opening season loss to Radford University. You know you are in trouble when most of your fans have to ask, “Where is Radford?” It was nice to play with and have the opportunity to beat the Real University of Maryland–Terps– and the Duke Blue Devils. However, the Hoyas came up short both times and today is the chance to show that they can play and win “big time” games. This would be a boost both for the team in the early season and the faithful who bleed blue and and gray.
3. Somewhere today, even if not on the Syracuse bench, Jim Boeheim is picking his nose.