Today, the University of Connecticut and Georgetown University announced that the two basketball teams will renew their old Big East rivalry with a home-and-home series in 2016 and 2017.
According to a UConn press release, Georgetown is scheduled to come to the XL Center on January 23, 2016. The Huskies will make a return trip to the Verizon Center in Washington, DC in on January 21, 2017. Excellent.
UConn and Georgetown have a history dating back to 1958. The last time these teams met, in 2013, the Hoyas won an overtime thriller at Gampel Pavilion. The last time the Huskies beat the Hoyas was in the 2011 Big East Tournament, on their way to UConn's seventh Big East Tournament title- tying Georgetown for first in (real) Big East history. Georgetown holds the advantage in the all-time series, 35-29.
And who doesn't remember the exciting double OT thriller where, even though the Huskies lost, we saw an incredible performance from Omar Calhoun including a last-second three to tie it up in regulation?
Stuck in the American Athletic Conference, the Huskies lack stiff competition. Clearly the NCAA Tournament committee does not respect the strength of schedule-- as we saw Louisville and UConn seeded lower than they should have been, and SMU omitted completely from the field. The Huskies had grown accustomed to playing a grueling, competitive schedule featuring Syracuse, Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Villanova and the rest.
The Athletic Department has done a great job making up for this by scheduling very strong non-conference opponents. In the next few seasons, UConn will play Duke, Texas, Stanford, Arizona, Ohio State, and Florida.
All fans of both programs must be thrilled with this announcement. The old Big East was the greatest basketball conference in the country. It is wonderful to see two of it's marquee programs work together to bring some of the magic. With a Pittsburgh series reportedly in the works as well, the school is making great strides to engage the students and alumni with traditional rivalry games- even if they don't exist in the current conference slate.