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:







Advertisement

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.

Your Phil of Hoops

Watson’s transfer will sting BU the most

April 11, 2014 by

bostonuniversity

Boston University recently saw three players transfer. The impact of the departure of one of them will be felt more than the other two.

Mihalich’s first year at Hofstra is over but will have plenty of value

March 9, 2014 by

hofstra

The first year for Hofstra under Joe Mihalich is in the books. Many expected that wins would be hard to come by, and they were, but this season was about more than that and is hardly a throwaway year.

Cornell’s future can only be better

March 2, 2014 by

cornell

Cornell has had a rough season, as could be expected given some personnel losses. It’s almost in the books, and the future at least looks brighter.

Hoopville Archives

2014 Prep School Tour

Missed a recap of an open gym workout? We have them all right here for you.

Sept. 9: Putnam Science Academy
Sept 10: Commonwealth Academy
Sept. 11: St. Andrew's
Sept. 12: Northfield Mount Hermon
Sept. 16: Brewster Academy and Phillips Exeter
Sept. 17: Brooks School
Sept. 21: Holderness School
Sept. 23: St. Thomas More and Marianapolis Prep
Sept. 24: South Kent School and Kent School
Sept. 25: Williston Northampton
Sept. 28: Wilbraham and Monson Academy and Suffield Academy
Sept. 30: New Hampton
Oct. 5: Worcester Academy
Oct. 7: Brimmer and May
Oct. 8: Cushing Academy
Oct. 9: Tilton
Oct. 12: Tabor Academy and Rivers School
Oct. 14: The Master's School
Oct. 16: Vermont Academy

You can also find them all right here.

Even More: City Hoops Recruiting

Mass Elite and Boston Warriors hold college showcase

Mass Elite and Boston Warriors, two of the largest programs in Massachusetts, teamed up for a college showcase on Wednesday night. Here are some evaluations from that event.

Massachusetts 11th grade AAU Tournament recap

Teams gathered at Mass Premier Courts to chase the state title in the oldest age group, and one champion was a familiar one.

Travel team profile: All For One

All For One has been one of the better travel programs in Massachusetts for players before they reach high school

Travel team profile: Blackstone Valley Chaos

Size and options on the wing are not lacking for this year’s junior team

Travel team profile: Expressions Elite

Expressions Elite has quickly become one of the deeper programs in New England

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Marianapolis Prep will battle in Class AA

October 20, 2014 by

marianapolis

Marianapolis Prep is far from loaded with talent, but they have enough perimeter talent to be dangerous. As is usually the case, they will battle and be a tough out in Class AA.

New Vermont Academy coach has put together a contender

October 17, 2014 by

vermontacademy

Vermont Academy has a new coach for the second year in a row, but they shouldn’t skip a beat. They have enough talent to win a lot of games and make a deep run in NEPSAC Class AA.

The Master’s School has good students and talent

October 15, 2014 by

mastersschool

The Master’s School has a number of good students, and they will continue to head to college later. This time around, they also have some talent on the hardwood and should win a few more games.

Rivers will try to build on a breakthrough season

October 13, 2014 by

riversschool

The Rivers School had a breakthrough season last year, winning the Independent School League. They will try to build on that with a team that loses a lot but also returns a lot from last season’s team.

Tabor Academy looks to have more depth this time around

October 13, 2014 by

taboracademy

Tabor Academy will once again be headlined by a frontcourt player. This time around, though, the Seawolves appear to have a deeper support cast than in recent years.