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SU Basketball: St. Elsewhere, Like NYC

This December brings the return of the Johnnies to the Carrier Dome. Which shouldn't happen again.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

I'm more excited for Syracuse's games with Duke over the next few years than I am for the return of Georgetown to the schedule.

*wipes brow*


The truth really can set you free sometimes!

How "what have you done for me lately" is that? Kind of bandwagonish of me to turn my back on the rivalry that made me love basketball for the latest "made-for-TV-event" that Syracuse vs. Duke became last season. But truth is, just a year removed from their classic Madison Square Garden heavyweight match, Syracuse vs. Georgetown has already lost something.

Time apart coupled with games the Orange and Blue Devils gave us last year has chipped away at what was the Big East's best and only true rivalry.

Of course, that'll change a little come 2015 when the two renew acquaintances down in D.C. Actually, when the four year home-and-home deal was announced last week I was surprised at how much publicity it garnered -- ESPN's Bottom Line, CBS Sports updates, etc, all trumpeting the return of Hoyas vs. Orange. It seemed a little over the top. Yet, if the coverage was national just for the announcement, think of the story lines that will be written and spoken about come 2015? I'm a sucker and I'm sure by then I'll be all in on that game and the rivalry one more time.

But there is no doubting that things just move on. Georgetown isn't "Georgetown" in this new Big East and Syracuse has bigger fish to fry in the ACC sea. It'll be fun when they hit the court together again but it won't be the same, nothing that was for Syracuse really will ever be again.

Which bring us to St. John's return to the Carrier Dome this coming December. Certainly nothing like a classic ACC power coming to town. A rivalry no longer, SU vs. SJU is part faux-battle for New York, part trip down Nostalgia Lane -- kind of like driving down the neighborhood you used to live in. Like the games with Georgetown, playing St. John's is kind of sad and kind of comforting, but mostly sad.

There's a reason you stroll and not vacation on trips back.

And where Georgetown will at least bring some hype (that will likely fade by the third or fourth year of the deal), playing St. John's at the Carrier Dome brings little to nothing for the Orange and Orange fans. The only reason SU wanted to keep playing the Johnnies was to have access to New York City, keeping its imprint down state and in Madison Square Garden. But having St. John's in Central New York is at the most a reprieve from the early season home cupcakes like Cornell and Colgate.

Which is fine, I guess I'd rather see Steve Lavin and the Red Storm than someone and the Big Red, but Syracuse should really change up the way it deals with St. John's. Instead of the classic "home-and-homes," why not just pull off an "away-away" contract? Four or five years of SU in the Garden against the Red Storm, no return games in the Carrier Dome. A win for the program wanting to keep its standing in NYC and a win for the fan base out there still clamoring for days gone by.

Plus, the Garden, as we all know and have heard and have read, is Syracuse University South (a good five hours south, but no one wants details to get in the way). There will always be plenty of orange in place of red when Syracuse plays "at" St. John's. So it's not like a true roadie for Jim Boeheim and company.

The bottom line is, the more things change the more things actually do change. The appeal of Georgetown for Syracuse is morphing, the appeal of St. John's already changed years ago. It's strange but I'd rather Syracuse play away than home when it comes to the Red Storm, if the two have to play at all. It's not like we're talking about Duke here anyway.