clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

State of the Hoyas: Syracuse Will Miss the Big East A Lot More Than the Big East Will Miss Syracuse

Casual wiseman sleepyhoya talks Georgetown's domination of Syracuse in the 80s:


Thanks to BashfulHoya we got an inside look at the Georgetown - Syracuse rivalry in the 1970's. My insights are not quite as close to the court, but cover the 80's, when the rivalry officially turned red hot. To put it simply, the Hoyas completely dominated the Orange in the 1980's. The numbers don't lie. Here is a small sample of the beatdown decade:

1) In the 1980's we played Syracuse 28 times, we won 20 of them including at least one game at Manley Field House.

2) Georgetown beat Syracuse 4 times in the Big East Championship game.

3) Georgetown won 6 Big East Championships, Syracuse won 2. It should be noted that one of those championships came when the tournament was mysteriously played at the Carrier Dome. That seminal experience of 5 days for civilized people in the vast wasteland of upstate NY led the Big East to permanently change the location to Madison Square Garden.

4) Georgetown beat Syracuse in the first ever Big East Tournament Final at Madison Square Garden.

5) The year Syracuse somehow managed to make it to the NCAA finals - you guessed it -Georgetown beat them three times.

Georgetown domination of Syracuse after The Jump:

As Syracuse prepares to slink off to the ACC, it's possible that we won't see the Hoyas in the Carrier Dome anytime soon. The Big East will also be different, but no worse for the loss of Syracuse. The Big East became an institution in the 1980's. Looking at the numbers this much is clear - Georgetown made the Big East and the Big East made Syracuse. We wish you the best in a second tier conference and we really hope you enjoy your home and home series with the college basketball powerhouse Boston College. (I believe Harvard has beat them three years in a row meaning when the Eagles eventually beat the Crimson students will have to rush the floor)

Now that we've got that all out of the way, let's get to the best games of the decade. Because we averaged 2 wins over Cuse a year, there is a lot to choose from. I've actually got to start with a game in 1979. That was the year Georgetown beat Syracuse in the finals of the ECAC tournament to get a bid to the tournament. The game was played at Cole Field House at the University of Maryland. Syracuse was ranked and loaded with talent. Led by Roosevelt Bouie and Louis Orr -- the Bouie and Louie show - the Orange were heavily favored. But it wasn't just that show, Dale Shackleford, Marty Head and freshman Danny Schayes, the son of hall of famer Dolph Schayes had Georgetown outmanned and outnumbered. What Syracuse wasn't expecting was a packed gym of rabid Hoya fans (yes we can fill a gym or arena) and John Duren and Craig Shelton, two of the toughest players ever to play the game. We had them from the opening tip, and the unranked Hoyas pulled off the upset the set the stage for the dominant decade ahead.

It wasn't our first victory of the 1980's, but perhaps the most satisfying was the night we closed Manley Arena. As I've written before on the blog, this is the night Georgetown basketball arrived. The stage was set for a celebration in Syracuse and a big first half lead had the party started. But Shelton and Duren along with newcomer Sleepy Floyd had news for the Syracuse faithful in the second half. The swagger of the 1980s Hoyas was born when John Thompson Jr. grabbed that microphone and declared Manley Arena officially closed. He launched a team that won a national championship, went to three final fours in four years and featured two of the most dominant big men in college basketball history.

The best actual game may have been the Big East Tournament Final in 1984. We had a great team and were peaking at the right time. But Syracuse was tough and Dwayne Pearl Washington was not going to be denied. Patrick and Pearl matched punches for 40 minutes both scoring 27 points. We prevailed in no small part because Michael Graham threw a punch but JT Jr. convinced the ref it was a flagrant foul instead of a four shot ejection (before the Orange trolls lose their mind, let's remember the guy he threw the punch against later threw one at his girlfriend). Jim Boeheim, in the second worst press conference of his life, whined afterwards that the "best team" had not won.

Jim - we beat you three times that year and won the National Championship - not bad for the team you thought you were better than.

My last highlighted game comes again in the Big East Finals in 1987. Syracuse went to the Finals that year but lost. For those whose hatred of Syracuse is pure, you'll remember they got beat by a young guard on a 17-foot shot from around the same place on the same Superdome floor. It's not that I'm competitive, but I'd much rather have a dagger from Michael Jordan than Keith Smart. Anyway on the way to the Big East Finals, Syracuse had to play Georgetown three times - in Landover, the Carrier Dome and Madison Square Garden. Even getting close to a national championship, Boeheim must have wondered that, even in a down year for Georgetown and playing in the Finals if he had the best team in the Big East. Reggie Williams and the Miracles proved once again we can beat Syracuse anytime, anywhere. We know it and so does Mr. Boeheim.

It was a great decade for the Big East and a great decade for Georgetown. Syracuse will miss the Big East a lot more than the Big East will miss Syracuse. It's hard to imagine a full rocking Carrier Dome for the Demon Deacons, Hurricanes or Seminoles. Enjoy the football, and if you're ever in NYC the first week or March, stop in the Garden - they'll be playing some real basketball in there.

Have fun in Greensboro.