The big day is approaching. For the first time in three seasons, your Georgetown Hoyas will reignite their age-old rivalry with the dreaded Syracuse Orange. As a Georgetown fan, this is the game that, more than any other, will put your heckling skills and your ability to hate a team based in some snowy backwoods in Canada somewhere that bolted from the Big East to sustain the success of its football team that just finished 4-8 and is coached by a nose-picking rules violator with a historically terrible sense of style.
Now, I realize that for many Hoya fans, there will be no need for a guide on how to heckle the orange people, so take this is a reminder. Keep in mind that many newer fans (i.e. three-quarters of the undergraduate student body) were not on the Hilltop the last time Georgetown and Syracuse battled in the Verizon Center. As a reminder to all, the final score of that game: Georgetown 61, Syracuse 39. With all that in mind, let’s take a look back at the rivalry and look ahead to Saturday’s matchup.
Why Syracuse is Terrible: A Rivalry Refresher
The whole thing pretty much started in 1980, as then-#2 Syracuse sought to win their last regular season game at the old Manley Field House. The Hoyas surged back from down 14 at halftime to win 52-50, prompting legendary coach John Thompson Jr. to remark that "Manley Field House is officially closed." When the two joined the Big East Conference in the early 1980’s, a rivalry was born, as the two teams battled for conference supremacy. Syracuse provoked Georgetown on a few occasions, including when fans held up banners saying "Ewing can’t read" and threw oranges onto the court as Patrick Ewing shot free throws. In the 1985 Big East Tournament semifinal game between the two, Cuse guard Pearl Washington punched Ewing in the chest in a game that Georgetown ultimately won.
Of course there’s more dirty play on Cuse’s part, and if you want a refresher on the program’s ethical standards, you can take a look at the old "Crimes and Misdemeanors" list that Casual Hoya has developed. Syracuse has had players, coaches, and staff break the rules in a vast array of ways, ranging from assaults to theft to poor academic progress. There are also a myriad of smaller things, technical fouls, flagrants, dirty plays that ended up as no-calls, and you can reminisce about those in the comments if you wish.
But the biggest thing to remember is that in 2012-13, Cuse sold out, putting TV money over tradition and established rivalries. Dave Gavitt, former Big East commissioner, once described the conference as "not simply a league of convenience but one of commitment." But Syracuse abandoned its commitment and decided to ditch its old rivals, including Georgetown and even UConn, by following the money appeal of a dying bloodsport to the ACC. All to fund a football team that has gone a combined 65-103 since the start of the 2002 season (that’s a .387 winning percentage, by the way.)
Not only does this team reek of corruption, greed, and rules violations, but Syracuse players have a tendency of falling short in the NBA. Coach Boeheim has trashed his own players in attempts to get them to stay at Syracuse (see Ennis, Tyler) and the school has produced its share of NBA Draft busts, including overhyped 1990 #1 overall pick Derrick Coleman and 2009’s #6 pick Jonny Flynn, who was picked immediately before this guy. That doesn’t even include all of the guys who never caught on in the NBA, including Gerry McNamara, C.J. Fair, and Scoop Jardine. Even the player arguably considered Syracuse’s most successful NBA product, Carmelo Anthony, is currently being upstaged in New York by a giant 20 year-old Latvian string bean of a man named Kristaps Porzingis. Call me when Melo has a Latvian rap song written in his honor!
The Guide Itself
As for reasons to hate the people who will be on the court or the bench Saturday, here’s your guide. Hoya Blue was nice enough to also contribute the Syracuse edition of the "opposition research" they do in advance of every game. Sections of this article that include their research are in italics. You should also check out their Twitter page, as they've recently been promoting the hashtag #ThingsILikeMoreThanCuse. Answers have ranged from Donald Trump to NFL catch rules to Nickelback Christmas songs.
Coach Jim Boeheim did this, this, and all this while also allowing this to happen under his watch. He lost 12 scholarships and 108 vacated wins for the school. He and the University even tried to avoid losing those scholarships and wins by self-imposing a playoff ban in a season where the team looked like it would miss the NCAA Tournament. I would have told you to fire away with all you’ve got, but the NCAA responded to his appeal on Thursday, upholding his nine-game suspension but moving it up from conference play to an immediate ban. Assistant and heir apparent Mike Hopkins will have two days to learn how to pick his nose like his boss. (I wrote the whole damn Boeheim section and he gets pulled two days before the game. Looking at the comments section for "Sleeping with the Enemy," and the article about him getting suspended, however, multiple users had the good suggestion to chant "Where is Boeheim?" and chants of "Boeheim Sucks, Boeheim Cheats, Boeheim Picks!" All of these are good.)
Heaven knows what sort of transgressions and misdeeds the current players are up to, but it may be a good time to remind them that there’s a whole bevvy of holiday sales at Lord & Taylor. Former orange person Michael Carter-Williams may be able to inform them as to whether or not there are deals on bathrobes (and if they still use plastic handcuffs.) There are also reasons to believe that drugs may be involved as well, given the team’s failure to discipline at least ten players who failed drug tests since 2001.
Speaking of current players, Trevor Cooney still plays for Syracuse. Records show he was a freshman in 2012-13, but Cooney may be one of the players in the top half of this photo. Seriously, though, I’m a junior in college and Cooney is almost exactly three years older than me. Like most old people, he has chronic back problems. He’s a redshirt senior, so that may explain why he’s still playing college hoops at his age, but are we sure he’s not just as old as Aaron Craft, 51 year-old Perry Ellis, and Scottie Reynolds?
This year, Syracuse seems to have brought in Cooney’s successor to the "Most Easy to Hate" throne, and his name is Tyler Lydon. The freshman has averaged 10.4 points and 8.0 rebounds per game, but evidently he is wrong about everything. Not only did he pick Syracuse, but he said he’d get off Twitter until the spring. He broke his silence four days later to tweet "Justin Bieber is the GOAT!!!" Since it’s highly unlikely he thought that the post-pubescent mess of a singer sounded like an actual goat, it’s safe to say he’s pretty wrong there.
Speaking of being very wrong, Tyler Roberson (seriously, is everyone on this team named Tyler or Trevor?) congratulated coach Jim Boeheim on his 900th win when it supposedly happened in 2012 when Cuse eked a 72-68 win out against one of its toughest non-conference opponents it had ever faced, Detroit. But the correctness of that tweet was vacated along with 108 of his coach’s wins. If that’s not bad enough, he thinks Chipotle is overrated.
Transfer guard Christian White won’t be playing Saturday because he’s "saving eligibility" after having to surrender his scholarship thanks to university sanctions. He describes himself as "5 feet 10 inches is how tall I am with ankles taped, 2 pairs of socks on, orthotics, and basketball shoes." He also transferred to Syracuse and was averaging 4.3 minutes per game at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ. Yes, that Monmouth University. Per the Hoya Blue research team, his girlfriend is still on the lacrosse team there.
The biggest scoring threat for the orange people thus far has been Michael Gbinije, a 6’7" senior who has shot 51.3 per cent from behind the arc this season while scoring 19.7 points per game. He started his college career at Duke, but apparently decided that he wanted to go to a school that was even easier to hate. He also has an issue with fake Twitter accounts, which may explain why there are at least four Twitter accounts that may or may not be him. Will the real Michael Gbinije please stand up?
Seriously, though, if you’re new to this rivalry, I hope you are now oriented and understand why Cuse has sucked (and still does to this day.) If you’re a battle-tested veteran, I hope you’re ready. There better be a Phone Booth full of loud, passionate Hoya fans. If there’s any team that drives the fans out, it’s Cuse. For the first time in a while, Hoyas are making plans to camp out not for the visit of a Presidential candidate or a Cabinet member, but for basketball. Campus is excited, and alumni probably are as well. Let’s do this. Our hatred is eternal! Hoya Saxa!