NEW YORK (AP) - Syracuse and Georgetown, one more heavyweight clash in Madison Square Garden.
Two original Big East titans toe-to-toe on the New York stage.
Jim Boeheim. John Thompson.
OK, so it’s John Thompson III now. Still a juicy matchup.
One … last … time.
And that’s not all. How’s this for a second act in the Friday night semifinals? Notre Dame against Louisville in the latest rematch of their five-overtime epic.
The final Big East tournament of this era is about to deliver. Big time.
“Unbelievable,” Fighting Irish coach Mike Brey said. “We’re trying to get our money’s worth out of this thing.”
Afternoon wins by top-seeded Georgetown (over Cincinnati) and fifth-seeded Syracuse (over Pittsburgh) in the quarterfinals Thursday set up the familiar game everyone was hoping to see again before the Big East goes bust.
The Hoyas own seven tournament championships, tied with Connecticut for the most among member schools. They won the first one 33 years ago in Providence, beating Syracuse in the final, and would love to put a bow on this era of Big East basketball by ending it with one more.
The Orange are next with five tournament titles, all under Boeheim. It will be the 14th meeting between these longtime rivals at the Big East championship.
“The doubleheader that’s going to be here (Friday) night will be a great basketball night, I think. I think you’re going to have arguably four of the best teams in the country playing here,” Boeheim said. “It’s a great way for this league to go out.”
Georgetown is one of seven basketball-centric Catholic schools breaking away from the conference to create their own league, which will begin play next season and retain the Big East name. Syracuse, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh are headed to the ACC, with Louisville to follow a year later.
Rutgers leaves for the Big Ten in 2014-15.
“The whole thing is tragic,” Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said. “Nobody cares about student athletes. All anybody cares about is money. Everybody in the NCAA, in college administration, they talk about academics and student athletes. If people cared about student athletes, West Virginia wouldn’t be in the Big 12 with 10 teams flying 800 miles to their closest home game. That’s really conducive to studying. The whole thing is a hypocrisy. … The money has ruined it. If I was a fan, I’d be very disenchanted.