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PITT - Our Biggest Rival?



Jan. 19, 2010

PITT – Our Biggest Rival?

Browsing the internet for potential topics for my Georgetown/Pittsburgh blog, I came across the top storylines posted on the Panther’s website, http://www.pittsburghpanthers.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/011810aab.html.

TODAY'S TOP STORYLINES  

  • Pitt enters the contest on an eight-game win streak and has won 11 of its last 12.
 
  • At 5-0, Pitt is off to a school-record tying best start in Big East play. Pitt also began the 2002-03 and 2006-07 seasons with a 5-0 record. Pitt has never started 6-0.
 
  • Pitt is 6-0 since veterans Jermaine Dixon (right foot injury) and Gilbert Brown (academic suspension) both returned to the floor. Pitt played its first 10 games with a starting five that combined for one career start prior to the season opener.
 
  • Pitt is in its eighth season in the Petersen Events Center and carries a 125-10 overall record (.926 winning percentage) and 51-9 record vs. Big East opponents in the arena.
 
  • Pitt has won 31 straight home games, a streak which ranks as the nation's second longest current win streak (Kansas, 52). It also ranks second among the school's all-time longest home win streaks. Additionally, Pitt won a Petersen Events Center record 34-games to open the arena from 2002-04.

Meaningful, significant rivalries are what make sports so exciting and fantastic.  When you think of major sport rivalries, what matchups naturally come to mind? For me it is Michigan/Ohio State football, Duke/North Carolina basketball, Yankees/Red Sox baseball and Georgetown/Syracuse basketball. 

Now, I understand why Hoya hoop fans say that Syracuse is our biggest rival seeing how this match up dates back to the beginning of the Big East Conference. There is obviously no love lost between both teams; I mean, who will ever forget one of Big John’s infamous statements, “Now, Manley Field House is officially closed.” Even JTIII has commented on the rivalry by saying, "The Georgetown-Syracuse rivalry is something that is synonymous with the Big East."

As we embark rapidly into 2010, let’s take a realistic look at what particular Big East team has been our biggest rival. Let me just put this out there, but quite frankly, the Georgetown/Syracuse rivalry hasn’t been the same since Big John retired in 1999.  Maybe I am not as passionate about this rivalry as most because I didn’t grow up a Big East fan, however, it seems to me that fans have a tendency to reflect and relive the “glory days” by embellishing moments in time that necessarily don’t hold true in the present.  I think as Georgetown fans, we let the past dictate reality which overshadows the fact that Pittsburgh has been our most competitive rival in recent history. 

When I read Pitt’s top storylines, I thought to myself, “Wow! The Hoyas have the opportunity to play spoiler on Wednesday.” Then I wondered, “When was that last time a game played between Georgetown and Pittsburgh held no significance? Has Pitt been our biggest rival this past decade?”

Don’t get me wrong, there is a greedy pleasure anytime the Hoyas are victorious over the Orange (or any other team in the Big East for that matter) but recent key victories and milestones were achieved when Georgetown defeated Pitt.  Georgetown and Pitt have met in two of the last three Big East Championship Finals, 2007 and 2008. When the Hoyas beat the Panthers in the 2007 Big East Championship game in NYC, the game was such a blow out, it was almost boring!  

Pitt has always been a tough match up for the Hoyas, especially on the road.  Pitt has defeated the Hoyas in three straight matchups and is 3-1 vs. Georgetown at the Petersen Events Center.  At home, Pitt is 51-9 against Big East opponents and currently owns the nation's second longest home win streak at 31 games, is 10-0 on the year and owns a 46-game win streak against non-conference opponents.  

There is a lot on the line for Pitt this Wednesday evening, with all the pressure on the Panthers. The Hoyas need to come out strong to lock down an impressive road win which will cause this rivalry to only intensify.  

Let’s Go Hoyas! 

Leslie A. Tyburski, MSB ‘06

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