At a time when numerous historic rivalries have disappeared because of conference realignment, Syracuse and Georgetown have ensured theirs won't be one of them.
The two longtime Big East foes announced Tuesday they've agreed to a four-year home-and-home series that will begin during the 2015-16 season in Washington D.C.
The rebirth of the rivalry between Syracuse and Georgetown is fantastic news for a sport that has suffered greatly during realignment because so many of the football- and TV revenue-driven decisions came at the expense of basketball tradition.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has vowed never to play Maryland again after the Terps left for a payday in the Big Ten. Kansas coach Bill Self says he has no interest in scheduling longtime rival Missouri anymore after the Tigers bolted for the SEC. UConn-Syracuse, Texas-Texas A&M, Pittsburgh-West Virginia and Xavier-Dayton are each on hiatus as well thanks to lingering bitterness or scheduling conflicts created by conference switches by one or both schools.
That Syracuse and Georgetown avoided a longterm hiatus is a testament to the forward thinking of coaches and administrators at both schools. They understood the national appeal of the rivalry, they appreciated that fans on both sides wanted it to continue and they found a way to put aside any resentment over realignment issues and make it happen.
Said Georgetown athletic director Lee Reed, "The reestablishment of this series is good for college basketball fans across the country. I know that our program and fans will be excited to have a game against Syracuse on our schedule."
Said Syracuse athletic director Daryl Gross, "When Syracuse and Georgetown go head-to-head, the history is unmatched and the entire nation pays attention. Clearly our move to the ACC has been tremendous on all fronts, but sometimes you can have the best of both worlds and this series fits that concept."
Immediately after news of the rivalry's renewal broke Tuesday morning, the Georgetown fan site, Casual Hoya, posted a poll asking readers to react to the announcement. An hour later, 108 readers had responded "Hell. Yes." compared to 8 "Meh." and 12 "Should never play them again."
That should be a lesson to coaches and administrators across the country who are letting petty disagreements get in the way of what's good for their programs, what's good for their fans and what's good for the sport.
Kansas doesn't need Missouri. Duke doesn't need Maryland. Pitt doesn't need West Virginia. Texas doesn't need Texas A&M. But college basketball is undeniably more fun when these longtime rivals play at least once a season.
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- Sports & Recreation