When Syracuse takes the floor tonight against Georgetown, it won’t just be another chapter in this storied rivalry. It won’t just be another Big East match-up between top 15 opponents. When the Orange and the Hoyas meet at 7 p.m. on ESPN, there is a chance for one man to do what only four before him have.
Sitting on the cusp of win No. 850, Jim Boeheim would no doubt complacently say, “It’s just another game.” Tonight, the coach whose named is etched into the Carrier Dome court has a chance to join an elite group. Only Bob Knight, Mike Krzyzewski, Dean Smith and Adolph Rupp have won more games.
Georgetown has had a history of spoiling big occasions for the Orange. Everyone remembers the final game at Manley Field House, but it was just eight years ago the Hoyas dropped the Orange, 75-69, on the day when Jim Boeheim had a court named after him.
Or go back to last year when No. 3 Syracuse fell to No. 22 Georgetown, 91-84, in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament. The loss of the game paled in comparison to the loss of Arinze Onuaku, who injured his knee and missed all the team’s 2010 NCAA Tournament run, severely impacting their hopes of a title.
The question then begs, will the Hoyas again play the role of spoiler? That win back in 2002 was the only time in the last 12 games that Georgetown has been able to leave the Carrier Dome victorious.
But regardless of when win No. 850 comes: tonight, at Louisville on Saturday or even next week against West Virginia, I think that fans should take the time to sit back and reflect. If only just for one minute.
Syracuse fans have been spoiled. The ones who constantly ask for man-to-man defense; the ones who want more than a seven or eight-man rotation; the ones who think Boeheim is past his prime. I don’t think they realize just how good they have it. They just don’t get what this 2-3 zone-loving, Hall of Fame-inducted, winningest coach in Big East history has done for Syracuse University basketball.