Big East Conference rivalries

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The Big East Conference, founded in 1979, features many ongoing rivalries among its members. Many deal with the basketball teams, the primary focus of the conference.

In-conference rivalries[edit]

  • Butler Bulldogs and Xavier Musketeers - among the most successful Division I men's basketball programs in the 2000s, the two schools were founding members of the Midwestern Collegiate Conference.[1]
  • DePaul Blue Demons and Marquette Golden Eagles - Originally Division I independents, both joined Conference USA and the Big East at the same time, and are among the "Catholic 7" that formed the new Big East in 2013. The two teams have played each other 105 times. One of several sports rivalries involving teams from Chicago and Milwaukee, alongside the Brewers-Cubs rivalry and (by proxy) the Bears-Packers rivalry.
  • Georgetown Hoyas and St. John's Red Storm — These two "Catholic 7" schools, neither of which plays Division I FBS football (Georgetown plays in Division I FCS, and St. John's has no football program), had their basketball teams rise to prominence in the 1980s, having numerous meetings that impacted the NCAA Championship as well as the Big East title. Both teams were known for their charismatic coaches, John Thompson at Georgetown and Lou Carnesecca at St. John's. Rivalry has declined in recent years. This rivalry has also influenced other sports, as the two schools' baseball teams opened Citi Field on March 29, 2009 with the third game of a three-game series that started at Georgetown. The Hoyas won the game, and the series.
  • Georgetown Hoyas and Villanova Wildcats[2] — These two Division I FCS football schools share an intense rivalry in basketball, stemming from Villanova's defeat of John Thompson's Hoya team in the 1985 NCAA championship game. The rivalry takes on a religious tone as Augustinian (Villanova) versus Jesuit (Georgetown). Jokes about the opposing orders fly back and forth during the week preceding Villanova-Georgetown. In recent years the rivalry has undergone somewhat of a revival, with both teams enjoying success in the regular season and recent NCAA tournaments. This rivalry continues in the new Big East.
  • Providence Friars and Villanova Wildcats — The two smallest schools in the original Big East battle each year. The rivalry is also elevated by the Catholic orders which run the schools; Providence's Dominicans and Villanova's Augustinians.
  • St. John's Red Storm and Seton Hall Pirates - Two local "Catholic 7" schools battle it out every year in basketball. New York vs New Jersey bragging rights are on the line as well as competing for many local basketball recruits in the area.

Rivalries with out-of-conference teams[edit]

  • Butler Bulldogs and Valparaiso Crusaders (Horizon League/Pioneer Football League) – the "Hoosier Helmet" was established as the trophy helmet for the rivalry football game played between Butler and Valparaiso University. The Hoosier Helmet was created prior to the 2006 season to commemorate the football rivalry that has existed since 1927 and has been an annual contest since 1951.[3]
  • Creighton Bluejays and Nebraska Cornhuskers (Big Ten) - Until Omaha's 2011 move from Division II to Division I, these two were the only D-1 colleges in the state of Nebraska, and have developed a multi-sport rivalry over the years. The rivalry has both geographic and religious undertones among the fanbases, being a Jesuit private school in Omaha versus a public university in Lincoln. It's most intense in basketball and baseball.
  • Georgetown Hoyas and Howard Bison (MEAC) — The only Washington, D.C. colleges with Division I football programs have recently launched an annual contest to compete for the D.C. Mayor's Cup.
  • Marquette Golden Eagles and Louisville Cardinals (ACC)[4] — The schools have played several intense basketball games in the past 10 years that have often come down to the final shot of regulation or overtime.
  • Marquette Golden Eagles and Milwaukee Panthers (Horizon League) — Crosstown schools have heated rivalries in every sport except men's basketball, where Marquette owns a one-sided 35-0 advantage. Men's soccer is the next biggest sport, with Milwaukee owning a commanding 26-9-3 lead for the Milwaukee Cup.
  • Marquette Golden Eagles and Notre Dame Fighting Irish (ACC) — The two Catholic schools, both with large alumni bases in Chicago and the surrounding area were rivals dating from the time when both basketball programs were Independents, coached by Al McGuire and Digger Phelps. The rivalry has enjoyed a renewal since Marquette's entry into the Big East, and with both teams playing top-flight basketball. At least one of the teams has been ranked in each of the last nine matchups between the sides.
  • Marquette Golden Eagles and Pittsburgh Panthers (ACC) — A burgeoning rivalry, Marquette defeated Pittsburgh in the 2003 NCAA Tournament, and played a very heated home and home series in 2006-07, with Marquette taking both games by a combined margin of seven points, including an overtime victory in Pittsburgh.
  • Marquette Golden Eagles and Wisconsin Badgers (Big Ten) — Just 70 miles apart, the two most prominent Division I teams in the State of Wisconsin have played over 120 times in men's basketball.
  • Providence Friars and Boston College Eagles (ACC) — Former Big East rivals are in adjacent states with both teams having among the most intense fans in New England.
  • Providence Friars and Connecticut Huskies (American) — The only two New England schools in the Big East fight for New England bragging rights each year. As Providence is one of the so-called "Catholic 7" schools that broke away to form the new Big East in 2013, the future of the rivalry is uncertain.
  • Providence Friars and Rhode Island Rams (Atlantic 10) — The annual Rhode Island State Championship game is played between these schools once a year.
  • Seton Hall Pirates and Rutgers Scarlet Knights (Big Ten) — Another rivalry born of proximity, the two schools are New Jersey's biggest in college athletics. With Rutgers leaving for the Big Ten in 2014 and Seton Hall staying in the new Big East, the two schools reaffirmed their commitment to the rivalry by agreeing to play annually through 2020[5]
  • Villanova Wildcats and Boston College Eagles (ACC) — Former Big East foes draw from the same region of the country and hold identical prestige level. The rivalry takes on a religious tone as Augustinian (Villanova University) versus Jesuit (Boston College).
  • Villanova Wildcats and Connecticut Huskies (American) — Two men's basketball programs ranked consistently in the top 10 in recent years play high-intensity games each season, including two epic clashes in the 2005-2006 season when both teams were ranked within the top 4 in both meetings, and the teams split the series with the home team winning both games. This rivalry also has an uncertain future, as Villanova will also break away to form the new Big East.
  • Villanova Wildcats and Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens (CAA) — While the rivalry exists in most sports, it is most intense in football, in which Villanova plays in the CAA alongside Delaware. The football game, known as the Battle of the Blue, is always the last of the season for each team, and usually carries tournament implications for at least one team. Because of the close proximity of the schools (less than one hour apart), many opposing fans find their way to the games each year.
  • Villanova Wildcats and Pittsburgh Panthers (ACC) — An intrastate Pennsylvania basketball rivalry that also existed prior to the Big East when the schools were members of the Eastern Eight Conference. The rivalry was perhaps most intense in the 1980s, marked by controversy surrounding the schools' mutual recruitment of Doug West. A recent highlight came in the 2009 NCAA Tournament, #3 seeded Villanova beat #1 seeded Pitt 78-76 when Villanova guard Scottie Reynolds raced down the court to make a layup with only 5 seconds left. The last-second basket by Reynolds was widely hailed as one of the most exciting plays of that year's tournament, with Sports Illustrated's Seth Davis calling the victory "one of the great games in NCAA tournament history".[6]
  • Villanova Wildcats and Syracuse Orange (ACC) — Both schools have strong basketball traditions and are former Big East rivals. The strength of the basketball rivalry is evidenced by the fact that Syracuse v. Villanova games have attracted some of the biggest college basketball crowds ever, including one game with a crowd of 34,616 people. However, this rivalry has an uncertain future because of the schools' recent separation (Syracuse in the ACC, and Villanova in the new Big East).
  • Xavier Musketeers and Cincinnati Bearcats (American) — With the campuses of these two schools separated by just 3 miles, the Crosstown Classic has earned a reputation as one of college basketball's most spirited rivalries. The 2011-12 game ended in a bench-clearing brawl with the Musketeers winning 76–53; this incident led to the rivalry being officially renamed from the "Crosstown Shootout".

In addition to the listed out of conference rivalries, Villanova is one of the participants in the heated five-way men's basketball rivalry that has developed out of the Philadelphia Big 5 basketball series. This round-robin series is played every year between Penn, Temple, Saint Joseph's, La Salle, and Villanova. The rivalry between Villanova and Saint Joseph's is one of the most intense of the group and is referred to as the Holy War.

Further, Butler is one of the participants in the annual Crossroads Classic, along with Indiana, Notre Dame, and Purdue. All four schools are located in the state of Indiana and they each have more NCAA tournament wins than the state's other six Division I teams combined.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Woods, David (12 November 2012). "College basketball: Butler-Xavier rivalry to take on added meaning, intensity". Indianapolis Star. Gannett. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 
  2. ^ Georgetown vs. Villanova recap - "This one surely added another memorable moment to the rivalry"
  3. ^ "Crusader Football Battle for the Hoosier Helmet With Butler". BoxScoreNews.com. Stryker-Indigo New York. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 
  4. ^ New Rivals: Marquette-Louisville
  5. ^ "Rutgers, Seton Hall agree to eight-year deal in hoops". nj.com. The Star Ledger. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
  6. ^ "The Villanova-Pitt epic; UConn's inside game and an OU-UNC pick". CNN. 2009-03-28.