Last week, we gave you our top five rivalries in college basketball. Based on your feedback, here are five more outstanding rivalries in the sport we’ve come to love.
Syracuse and Georgetown were Big East rivals for decades before conference re-alignment saw the Orange head to the ACC. Both schools have a rich basketball history, and Jim Boeheim and John Thompson Jr. watched their teams battle in a multitude of tightly contested bouts over the years.
Syracuse leads the all-time series over Georgetown 49-42, but the Hoyas defeated the Orange earlier this season in a rare non-conference clash between the two teams.
Thompson Jr. added some fuel to the fire following the upset. “Manley Field House is officially closed,” the ex-Georgetown coach said.
This rivalry has really picked up steam since the John Calipari arrived in Lexington, as the Wildcats and Gators have consistently been the top two programs in the SEC for the better part of two decades.
The all-time series count is lopsided in Kentucky’s favor, as the Wildcats are 97-37 against the Gators. But Florida has had its moments – especially in the Al Horford-Joakim Noah era, as UF beat UK seven times in a row between 2005 and 2008. Florida is the only school that has ever beaten Kentucky seven times in a row, and that can’t possibly sit well with Cats fans.
The Gators and the Wildcats have met in the SEC Championship Game five times, with Kentucky winning three of those affairs. There is no love lost between these two schools.
The Hawkeyes and the Cyclones played their first game against one another in 1909, and Iowa topped Iowa State the first 10 times the schools played. The Hawkeyes lead the all-time series 43-26, but the Cyclones have won six of the last seven meetings against their bitter rivals.
Hilton Coliseum has turned into one of the loudest venues in college basketball in the past few seasons, and it’s added some extra juice to this rivalry. Iowa State won a one-point home thriller over Iowa in what’s been one of the most entertaining games of 2015-16 to date, and back in 2013, former Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg spoke to the electric feeling inside of Hilton Coliseum during the Iowa game.
“You could feel the vibrations in the building again. Just an unbelievable atmosphere,” Hoiberg said.
This is far more than just a football rivalry. Michigan and Michigan State have embarked on their fair share of memorable contests in the past several decades, and each program has had some glorious moments over the years.
The Wolverines and the Spartans have squared off against each other 170 times, with Michigan winning 90 of those games.
As a result of the schools’ proximity to one another, Michigan and Michigan State often recruit the same players, which adds an intriguing element to an already fascinating rivalry. Most recently, ex-Spartan Gary Harris and current Wolverine Zak Irvin were teammates and best friends at Hamilton Southeastern High School, but they picked different schools in the Great Lakes State.
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo summed up the rivalry best, saying, "Do I respect John Beilein? Tremendously. Do I respect Michigan? Tremendously. Do I like them? Not one bit. I don’t like anything about Michigan and they don’t like anything about us, and that’s the way it should be."
A healthy rivalry at its finest.
There are many classic rivalries in the Philadelphia Big 5, chief among them being Villanova-St. Joe’s. The Holy War, as it’s referred to, often takes place at The Palestra, one of the most iconic venues in college hoops. Games between the two schools are also played at The Pavilion when the Wildcats play host.
Villanova leads the all-time series over St. Joe’s 47-25, but there have certainly been times when the Hawks were a superior basketball team. In 2003 and 2004, St. Joe’s had two unstoppable guards in Jameer Nelson and Delonte West, and the Hawks downed the Wildcats decisively in consecutive years.
St. Joe’s athletic director Don DiJulia once called the Holy War “the Army-Navy of college basketball.” That’s awfully high praise for these two schools from the City of Brotherly Love.