Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

Northeastern-BU reminds us what we miss and will miss more

November 12, 2011 Columns No Comments

BOSTON – The gym was packed. Not only that, but it was a lively crowd, rocking from start to finish and on seemingly every play. It helped that the game went to overtime, although that didn’t always look like it would be the case as the visitors led by double digits for a stretch in the second half. It wasn’t just the home team whose fans made the atmosphere what it was, because the visiting team had its share of fans as well. In short, it was a great setting.

 

And sadly, it’s relevant to things to come in the larger picture of college basketball.

 

Northeastern’s 82-74 win over Boston University in overtime isn’t a story of utmost national significance all by itself. It barely registers on an opening night with several intriguing matchups to go with the Carrier Classic. And the rivalry between these schools isn’t exactly Duke-North Carolina; in fact, it’s not even on the level of Old Dominion-VCU. But it’s an old rivalry that means something to both schools and their fans.

 

It’s hard to remember the last time Case Gym was as packed as it was on Friday night, save for the occasions the Terriers have hosted a conference title game. At times, you could feel the floor shaking on press row. There were fans sitting in the aisles and on the front row (not in seats) on Friday night, a sign of how many people showed up. Both schools made an effort to get people to come to the game, and it showed. The fact that it was the season opener for both teams surely helped, as every team hopes to have a good crowd for their home opener.

 

And while the NBA lockout is no doubt a contributor, this is still Boston, where most sports fans probably cared a lot more about reports of Jonathan Papelbon signing with the Philadelphia Phillies than the great game being played at Case Gym.

 

It was a game between two cross-town rivals, one that means something to the teams and their fans, hence they got up for it. The two schools have now met 139 times in their history. And unfortunately, such rivalries are losing their feeling and impact because of the changing landscape.

 

Already, it’s a shame that Northeastern and Boston University only play once a season. The two schools are perhaps a ten-minute drive through the city from each other and are very similar. They’ve been rivals away from the athletic playing field, to the point where Northeastern used to market itself as the school that gets all the kids that can’t afford to go to Boston University. (Nowadays, if you can’t afford one you can’t afford the other.) And their basketball teams have a long history that includes some memorable showdown games in regular season and in the conference tournament back when they were in the same conference.

 

Look throughout the landscape, and you’ll see there are lots of great rivalries – bigger than Northeaster-Boston University – that we have lost and will soon lose with conference realignment. When Boston College left the Big East, that meant they only play Providence once a year. Syracuse’s imminent departure from the Big East means they don’t play Georgetown or Connecticut, or at least will play them no more than once a year. Pittsburgh’s departure for the ACC, followed by West Virginia leaving for the Big 12, means an end to their games with West Virginia (or at least, just once a year). We will soon lose Texas A&M-Texas, which is a bigger rivalry in football much like Colorado-Nebraska. In the worst one of all, Kansas and Missouri may no longer play unless they meet in a postseason tournament now that Missouri is heading for the SEC.

 

And the list will go on, as the picture hardly seems settled. There are surely more maneuvers still to come, and most feel that four 16-team conferences is an inevitable result.

 

It didn’t take being in Case Gym on Friday night to drive it home, but anyone who was there had to wonder: is it really worth making the move to another conference in exchange for, among other things, losing great rivalries?

 

Friday night’s game was a great way for both schools to open the college basketball season. The last couple of years, the game has felt like a rivalry game with its atmosphere, and that’s how it should be. But it also leaves you wanting more. It leaves you looking forward to the next meeting between the two, in this case across town near Huntington Ave. Then reality sets in: they’re only playing once this season. And before long, more rivalries just like this will still be fierce on game day, but it won’t feel the same because they only play once each season.

Comment on this Article:







Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville

Advertisement


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – June 21, 2017

June 21, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about the NBA Draft, of course, but spend much more time on the happenings at Ohio State and Louisville and the implications starting next season.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – May 17, 2017

May 18, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we start with the NBA Draft Lottery, then talk about a big pickup for Duke, important transfers, the coaching carousel winding down and much more.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 27, 2017

April 27, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, the business of college sports, as well as that of sports media, takes center stage. We talk about the layoffs at ESPN, college basketball’s opening night, and Wichita State’s departure from the Missouri Valley Conference. We close with thoughts on a departed friend of the media business as well.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 11, 2017

April 11, 2017 by

In our first off-season edition, we look back on the season that just ended, including redemption for one team and a big development for a conference that has had more questions than success on the hardwood. We also look at players coming and going, as well as big coaching news on a day where there was a lot of it.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 3, 2017

April 4, 2017 by

We look back at Monday’s national championship game, which was not a thing of beauty but had plenty of drama. Along the way we share some post-game quotes from both coaches.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

August 15, 2017 by

For the first time, a public school won the Hamilton Park Summer League, and they were led by a big effort from a junior point guard in the title game.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

June 12, 2017 by

Some news and notes coming from the second and final day of action at the 2017 Boston Shootout, where the host program provided plenty of talent, but so did a program that produced a team that beat them.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.