NEW YORK (AP) - Syracuse and St. John’s started their basketball rivalry more than a century ago, and it will go for at least two more years even as the original members of the Big East Conference part ways next season.
“St. John’s and Syracuse are two of the storied programs in NCAA history, both with top 10 numbers in overall victories and winning percentage,” St. John’s coach Steve Lavin said. “The Johnnies and Cuse rivalry is now more than a century old and deserves to continue. We are pleased to extend the series … at two of the great venues in college basketball.”
No. 6 Syracuse will play in the Atlantic Coast Conference next season. St. John’s is one of the seven Catholic schools that have decided to leave the Big East and form their own league.
“The rivalry with St. John’s has been one of the strongest for our program,” said Syracuse Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim, who is second on the all-time Division I wins list behind Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski. “We had some great games when I was in school and the series continued to grow with coach (Lou) Carnesecca at St. John’s right up to today with coach Lavin. Playing in Madison Square Garden is always a special event for Syracuse and for our fans in New York City. It will be great that our fans in Central New York will have the chance to see St. John’s in the Dome the following year.”
Syracuse, which bills itself as “New York’s team,” referring to the state, is the fifth-winningest program all-time with 1,862 victories. St. John’s, which has been known as “New York’s team,” referring to the city, is seventh with 1,750.
The Feb. 10 meeting at the Carrier Dome will be the 87th in a series that dates to 1912. The Orange hold a 49-37 edge in the series and have won seven straight.
The end of rivalries like this has been a concern of many fans, worried that conference realignment will cut off longtime series because of a lack of space on schedules.
“There are traditional series that are very important to us that go beyond conference affiliations,” said Syracuse director of athletics Daryl Gross. “As we continue to aggressively secure rivalries that are dear to us, we are pleased to announce the continuation of this great series between two outstanding universities.”
St. John’s director of athletics Chris Monasch echoed the sentiment.
“The St. John’s-Syracuse rivalry is one of the classic matchups in college basketball,” he said. “Generations of our fans have looked forward to this battle each year and we are thrilled that the two programs will continue to play the next two seasons.”
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