Georgetown men's basketball coach John Thompson III recently told CSNwashington that his program would "absolutely" play longtime rival Syracuse in the future even though the two sides are no longer conference foes. The Hoyas are part of the new-look Big East, the Orange a new member of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
"We're going to play them," Thompson stated. "Not this year, but will eventually start up a series with them, absolutely."
As for details, including when, where and how often, none were offered. If the respective schedules align, perhaps a matchup by 2014-15.
On Wednesday, Syracuse Athletic Director Darryl Gross filled in some of the missing information from his school's perspective. From the Syracuse Post Standard's Syracuse.com website:
Syracuse Athletic Director Daryl Gross said Wednesday night on his radio show on TK99 that there is a 10-year basketball contract on the table that would bring Syracuse and Georgetown together on the hardwood.
Gross said Syracuse signed the contract and is waiting for Georgetown to sign off on it. There was no mention of when the games would be played.
Whoa, talk about a strong radio segment. Syracuse previously agreed to three-year contracts with former Big East opponents Villanova and Saint John's. One home game for each school with the third matchup at a "neutral" site, Madison Square Garden.
In the case of Syracuse-Georgetown, the idea of a longer, even-numbered game series could suggest a pure home-and-home scenario.
Thompson stated he was game for the series' return. One issue is simply what other scheduling obligations the program has in a given year. The Hoyas often participate in high-end, in-season tournaments including this year's Puerto Rico Tip-off. While the Big East is not in a conference vs conference event this season as it was previously with the SEC, a future setup is likely.
Perhaps Gross is simply letting the cat out of the bag before an official announcement. It's interesting that Gross went public in this way especially if Georgetown officials have not agreed to a deal. As we've witnessed throughout the years, Georgetown isn't about to be bullied into a scenario it doesn't desire.
The difference between Syracuse and the other scheduling elephant in the room - Maryland - is simple:
* There is a long, on-court rivalry between the two original Big East programs. Georgetown and Maryland have met twice since 1993.
* Playing Syracuse on the road or even at Madison Square Garden doubles as a recruiting/exposure opportunity. For those paying attention, this is how Thompson has set his team's schedule in recent seasons. There are some home-and-home series in the mix -- Kansas plays at the Verizon Center next season after hosting Georgetown this December. Remove all emotion and there is a viable more-bang-for-exposure-buck argument with playing major opponents elsewhere at least in the return game.
The thing is, there is also plenty of emotion involved with a possible Georgetown-Syracuse matchup. Though some supporters on both sides prefer the series end now that that original Big East is gone, the loud majority from fan bases want this back on.