This afternoon marks the last time Georgetown will ever play in Syracuse while both are members of the Big East. A rivalry that began in 1980 and has been one of the game's most reliably entertaining for years, Orange and Hoya fans alike packed the Carrier Dome today and sent the teams off with the best attendence of any game in the history of college basketball, according to CBS. (It helps that the Carrier Dome is massive.)
What gave this rivalry its flair, its grittiness, that special je ne sais quoi? Why does it define college basketball for so many fans young and old? Maybe it's that most of the participants were sort of average.
Duke-UNC gives you a whole gaggle of pros that you can name off the top of your head. Every other player to suit up for UCLA or Kentucky goes on to a strong NBA career. With the exception of Carmelo Anthony (and of course of a few notable Georgetown centers), the Syracuse-Georgetown rivalry games felt like defining moments because, for these guys, they mostly were defining moments. Let's have some flashbacks together.
Othella Harrington suits up for Georgetown in a 1995 loss to the Orangemen:
Ruben Boumtje Boumtje gets tripled-team during a 1999 Syracuse win in the MCI Center:
Who could forget that 1999 Syracuse team, which also featured Etan Thomas and Jason Hart (not pictured)?
James Theus (Reggie Theus's son? I don't know) drives on someone named Drew Hall in a 2002 matchup:
Michael Sweetney, gathers himself for a try at the basket against Hakim Warrick in 2003
In 2006, Demetrius Nichols and Jeff Green were the cream of the crop:
Devendorf. McNamara. Need I say more?
DaJuan Summers and Johnny Flynn, during a 2008 matchup. They went on to tear up the D-League with the Maine Red Claws and the Australian NBL with the Melbourne Tigers, respectively:
Austin Freeman. Wesley Johnson. Hey—let no one say Wesley Johnson isn't still in the NBA. He definitely is. Right? Or no? Yeah, he's on the Suns. I checked:
Pretty obvious why the world stops when Georgetown and Syracuse take the floor together. Because the weather is generally pretty crappy November through March, when they play. The tradition continues today, with...who's that? That...Triche guy. He's pretty good, right?