This stretch of bad basketball for Syracuse can easily be forgotten on Saturday.
It goes without saying that Syracuse needs this win. The Orange are still in contention for one of the top four seeds in the Big East Tournament next week, and would love nothing more than to ruin Georgetown’s run at a Big East Regular Season Championship. Syracuse can still position themselves for a good seed in the NCAA Tournament, and this next week of basketball will be very important in doing so. It’s important for the Orange to get off on the right foot, and Saturday can take them a long way to accomplishing their goals heading in to the postseason.
And yet, very few people outside of the two teams really care about those goals right now.
When a player signs up to play for either Syracuse or Georgetown, they are signing up to continue a rivalry that is rarely matched in college basketball. An incoming player is the next in the line of a historic rivalry that has seen many great players before them. They get to be apart of a tradition that engulfs two cities each winter, sometimes for as many as three games.
But this year is different. For these players they aren’t continuing this heated Big East rivalry, they are closing it out. Georgetown escaped the Carrier Dome with a win two weeks ago, but that game will be ancient history when the final horn sounds Saturday afternoon. Nobody remembers the first game, but everybody remembers the last.
This game will mark the end of an era that neither fan base wants to see the end of. This game will be a celebration of 30+ years of hatred, competitiveness, and respect between two of the more successful programs in history. Sure, the Orange and Hoyas may meet again in the future. But to say it will be any semblance of what the atmosphere will be on Saturday would just be silly. This one means everything to both fan bases, and will be a game that nobody will ever forget.
Regardless of the outcome tomorrow, this game will be etched in the minds of the Syracuse and Georgetown faithful. For the players, this will be a game that will write them in Syracuse history forever. The Orange could go to the final four, or lose in the first round and still be looked at in retrospect with a smile because they would be successful in one thing: officially closing the Syracuse-Georgetown rivalry.