This is it, boys and girls. It's the night of nights, and it's only happening once this season.* Drink it in and let the disdain coat your gullet like a smooth single-malt after a long day of watching your kid run around the soccer field for six hours without -- somehow -- ever touching the ball.
The Syracuse-Georgetown rivalry is something special, arguably one of the best traditions up on The Hill. It was the basis of the Big East and catapulted it -- along with the two schools -- to a level of prominence that is hard to match. What makes it so special is that the rivalry isn't defined like other collegiate ones: There isn't the presence of geography like Cincinnati-Xavier; there isn't the presence of incenstual privilege like Harvard-Yale; there isn't philosophical non-basketball related underpinnings like Kansas-Missouri (which is basically the coolest story ever).
Simply, for Orange-Hoyas, there was a flash point: John Thompson, Jr. shooting off his mouth, "officially" closing Manley Field House, and putting an end to Syracuse's 57-game home winning streak. From there, it was almost 20 years of the two teams beating the hell out of each other. You had Pearl Washington and Patrick Ewing trading blows, Michael Graham -- still Chief Punk at the Punk and Goon Academy -- tossing his fists at Andre Hawkins and the referees looking the other way, Jim Boeheim losing his mind in the postgame press conference after that Hawkins-Graham game and saying that, despite the lights on the scoreboard, that "the better team didn't win."
There was McNamara with a dagger three at the end of a wild game down at Verizon Center. And Greg Monroe ruining Syracuse's chances at a national championship in a freak encounter with Arinze Onuaku in the Big East Tournament. There was John Thompson, Jr. berating the referees up in the Carrier Dome, taking two technical fouls, and giving Syracuse all the momentum it would need to pull out an important Big East home game in which it had no business winning before "Big John" got mouthy. It's "Your Mom's a Hoya" t-shirts and "Go For the Bronze" apparel. It's Lee Suggs eliminating Syracuse in the 2000 Big East Tournament -- where Syracuse was the one-seed and Georgetown a meandering eight -- on a Thursday at noon.
In short, that flash point down on Comstock and East Colvin gave us some of the greatest Syracuse games ever and, most importantly, made this rivalry personal. When push comes to shove, that's what makes Syracuse-Georgetown such a great collegiate rivalry: it's personal. It's just not the games; it's the actors in the game. That's what helps Orange-Hoyas push past those things, like geography, that usually dominate the foundation of rivalries.
We hate Georgetown; Georgetown hates us. Throw in 30 years of bad blood and you have a really screwed up relationship.
Now, I know there's a growing faction that thinks that Georgetown-Syracuse isn't what it used to be or that it's a dead rivalry. My gut is telling me two things:
- This is coming from the Esherick Generation which, when coinciding with Connecticut's push to basketball dominance, is leading some Syracuse fans to identify more with the Huskies as a primary rival than the Hoyas.
- You have a pro sports mentality and history means nothing; it's the flavor of the week that interests you and you look solely to competitive equality as a basis for a rivalry than those beautiful things that comprise a collegiate rivalry.
I'm not going to hold a gun to your head and tell you that you need to hate Georgetown above all else. I'm not the rivalry police; I have much better things to do with my time (like not be the rivalry police). All I'm saying is that to offer your disdain -- your precious, limited hate -- to only those schools that you perceive as a competitive equal or superior smacks of missing the point of college basketball.
Sure, there needs to be some competitive balance or else a rivalry is tough to maintain. (Unless, of course, you're Clemson-South Carolina. Then, though, you're sitting in the south and if you don't hate your rival 365 days a year regardless of competitive balance, your hobbies become limited to putting straw in your mouth and sitting on the porch.) Esherick, admittedly, almost killed Georgetown-Syracuse with his mustache and complete incompetence at running a college basketball program. But to simply ignore 30 years of history -- excuse me, 30 years of the most personal basketball history that you can have -- just to stick it to Jamie Dixon or Rick Pitino . . . you're talking nonsense.
So, go ahead and hate Connecticut and Louisville and Pittsburgh and Villanova. That's fine, I can see that. Just don't put it ahead of Georgetown. (You know, like John Marinatto did. Do you really want to associate yourself with the logic of John Marinatto? I didn't think so.)
I'm going to miss this when Syracuse is clubbing glass jaws in the ACC.
* Big East Tournament and NCAA Tournament possibilities aside. Even then, there's a good chance that John Marinatto will find a way to keep Syracuse from playing Georgetown in Madison Square Garden. With respect to the latter scenario, Georgetown will continue to fail to get out of the first round, making that rematch possibility approach zero percent.
After the jump, some selected items from Hoya Suxa over the last week.
From 02.08.12 Week at Hoya Suxa
These are listed from most-recent to least-recent. That's not so much a story as it is a fact.
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Important Georgetown-Syracuse Information: A Flowchart for Sound Decision-Making
It's pretty self-explanatory, really.
Heartbreaking Microscopic Georgetown Stories
Five itty-bitty stories that will make your heart melt to your toes.
"Aw, Hell": The John Thompson, Jr. Story -- An Autobiography
The table of contents to "Big John's" autobiography.
Nate Lubick's Basketball GPS
Georgetown's starting power forward -- as of this writing -- has a bit of a tough time navigating the Big East's roadways.
Hoya Suxa How-To: Anesthetize a Hoya
Dr. Suxa provides a step-by-step approach to putting a Hoya to sleep.
Things Georgetown Graduates Dread Hearing
This stuff will really sour a Hoyas' day. (And, if we're lucky, the rest of their lives.)
Excerpts From "The Real Girlfriends of Georgetown University"
Those broads down on The Hilltop sure like to flap their yaps and let their true feelings fly.
I Have a Terrible Medical Condition!
Did you know that John Thompson, III has a terrible medical condition? Well, he does and he finally tells the world of his horrible secret.