The Georgetown Hoyas vs. the Syracuse Orange.
Coach John Thompson Jr. vs. Coach Jim Boeheim.
The Big East.
Patrick Ewing, Pearl Washington, Alonzo Mourning, Derrick Coleman, Allen Iverson, Carmelo Anthony, Otto Porter and then back to Thompson vs. Boeheim.
There may have been a change in the conference and one of the coaches, but some things just remain the same. Some things just have to. It’s the way things work.
Like many others, my full attention will be on the Hoyas paying a visit to the Orange inside the Carrier Dome this afternoon. The first time since Otto Porter laid a cool 33 points, 8 rebounds and 5 steals on the court while leading the Hoyas to a 57-46 victory. Otto did everything except sell popcorn in the stands that day. Today is another chapter in the rivalry. One that, thanks to scheduling from both programs, continues even though the Big East connection doesn’t. I had the opportunity to chat it up with two Georgetown legends to get their thoughts on the rivalry and today’s game. Both men played a major part in the history of this story and helped the Hoyas win the National Championship in 1984. A win for their program and the Big East.
Gene Smith / Guard / 1980 – 1984
Patrick Waring: How would you best describe the rivalry between Georgetown and Syracuse?
Gene Smith: The rivalry was definitely charged and it was sparked by Manley Field House being officially closed by the Hoyas in 1980. It was further heightened by the Big East Tournament Championship in 1984. Boeheim and Thompson did not personally like each other.
PW: Who was the toughest Syracuse player that you had to defend?
GS: Pearl Washington. For me, it was the ultimate challenge as a defender.
PW: Speaking of Pearl, he will be honored today. How will you best remember his game?
GS: It’s a fact that his handle was sick, but how efficient he was with his dribble gets lost. He never waisted a dribble and was always under control.
PW: What would be your game plan if you were coaching the Hoyas against the Orange today?
GS: I would establish the rivalry to this current Hoyas team and talk about them making their mark in this game. Playing against the zone and a hostile environment. Especially with the celebration of Pearl this weekend. It will be even more raucous. Every game is a must win for the Hoyas. This could be the jumpstart game to turn around the season.
PW: Where will you be watching the game and what’s your prediction for the outcome?
GS: I am currently traveling in Cuba. I will be checking with the Hoyas family throughout the game. No prediction. I just want the Hoyas to be up for the challenge and continue to get better every game.
Michael Graham / Forward / 1983 – 1984
Patrick Waring: As someone that was a big part of the rivalry, what does Georgetown vs. Syracuse mean to you?
Michael Graham: I would describe the rivalry between Georgetown and Syracuse as very intense. To me, it’s just like the Redskins vs. the Cowboys and the Lakers vs. the Celtics. I will put this rivalry in the category of those long-time rivalries.
PW: What’s your greatest memory playing against Syracuse?
MG: My greatest memory playing against Syracuse was in the Big East Tournament. Both teams wanted to win, and win at any cost.
PW: What would be your message to the team if you were coaching the Hoyas today?
MG: I would concentrate on defense and rebounding if I was coaching the Hoyas against Syracuse today. Defense and rebounding would be the message.
PW: How will you best remember Pearl Washington?
MG: I will remember Pearl as one of the best point guards that I ever saw play the game of basketball.
PW: Where are you planning on watching the game and what’s your prediction?
MG: I will be watching the game at a friend’s house. Of course I will predict that the Hoyas will win 55-51.
Huge thanks to Gene and Michael for giving their time.
Hoyas vs. Orange.
Get your popcorn ready.
You can follow me @WaringPatrick.
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