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A History of Syracuse Three Game Series in the Big East

They say that it's hard to beat a team three times in the same year. Let's run those numbers...


As the Big East has expanded over the years, the number of three game series that we've played with teams has been on a severe decline. In the early years of the conference, any Big East tournament (or the rare NCAA match-up) with a conference foe had the potential to be a rubber match between two bitter rivals. Older Syracuse fans insist that those were the days. To be fair, I'm inclined to believe them.

In the Big East tournament era, which started in 1980, we've had 51 series of at least three games with the same team. The same team has won all three games in just 17 of those instances. While it isn't impossible for a team to sweep a three game set, it only happens one third of the time, and that percentage has been on the decline as these teams play each other less.

When Syracuse has lost the first two games of these series, they are 8-3 in the third games.

Here are the series that have ended with one team winning three games:

Year Opponent Game One Game Two Big East Tournament NCAA Tournament
1981-1982 Boston College 62-80 L (H) 77-88 L (A) 92-94 L
1983-1984 Connecticut 95-68 W (A) 87-85 W (H) 73-58 W
Georgetown 67-80 L (H) 71-88 L (A) 71-82 L
1984-1985 Georgetown 65-63 W (H) 63-90 L (A) 65-74 L
1985-1986 Boston College 68-52 W (H) 80-55 W (A) 102-79 W
1986-1987 Villanova 70-58 W (H) 96-82 W (A) 72-66 W
Georgetown 81-83 L (A) 71-72 L (H) 59-69 L
Providence 89-85 W (A) 90-81 W (H)
77-63 W
1987-1988 Boston College 80-67 W (A) 90-60 W (H) 67-53 W
Seton Hall 84-82 W (H) 87-76 W (A) 68-63 W
1988-1989 Providence 100-96 W (H) 87-80 W (A) 79-76 W
Seton Hall 90-66 W (H) 85-79 W (A) 81-78 W
1989-1990 Pittsburgh 80-78 W (A) 83-74 W (H) 58-55 W
1992-1993 Pittsburgh 95-79 W (A) 78-74 W (H) 55-50 W
1998-1999 Boston College 90-51 W (H) 73-56 W (A) 96-55 W
2002-2003 Georgetown 88-80 W (H) 93-84 W (A) 74-69 W
2011-2012 Connecticut 85-67 W (H) 71-69 W (A) 58-55 W

A few observations:

Syracuse has been the 'sweeper' 13 times while they've only been swept (or in the case of the 84-85 season, beaten three times by the same team) four times. Georgetown was the opponent three of those times, they were all in the halcyon days of the Hoya program.

Syracuse has not lost three games to one team since 1986-87, when Georgetown topped the Orangemen three times. I think something else interesting happened that Syracuse basketball season. Perhaps one of you remembers?

(All game results credited to

*Ignore 1984-85 against Georgetown. I misread an NCAA Tournament game against Georgia Tech as Georgetown.