Jeff Eisenberg, editor of Y! Sports college basketball blog The Dagger, recently examined five non-conference hoops rivalries worth rescusitating. Checking in at number 4 -- number 5, really, after Ohio State-Cincinnati -- is Boston College vs. UConn.
Now BC fans and alum are well aware of the falling out between the Eagles and the Huskies as a result of the school's move to the ACC. Here's Eisenberg's take on why the series stopped:
"Boston College departing the Big East in favor of the ACC marked the death of the rivalry between New England's two most prominent schools. Angered that the Eagles weren't upfront about their intentions to leave the conference, UConn coach Jim Calhoun told the Hartford Courant in 2003 that he would not renew the rivalry, a vow he has upheld since the two schools played their last Big East game two years later. "We won't play BC after they leave here," Calhoun said at the time. "I have no desire to play Boston College. Not for the fact that they are leaving but how they did it. I will not play Boston College as long as I'm here."
That's certainly one side of the story that explains the ongoing tensions between BC and UConn. The other side, of course, is the whole business about the state of Connecticut's Attorney General leading the school in a lawsuit against BC and Gene DeFilippo, specifically.
Setting aside the whole notion that BC and UConn are in fact "rivals" on the hardwood -- Huskies fans would be quick to point out that UConn leads the all-time series by an overwhelming 54-35 margin -- my question is this the #1 hoops non-conference rivalry missing for Boston College basketball?
I suppose it's debatable. UConn is certainly high up on this list, but if I could pick one non-conference rivalry to resuscitate, it would probably be BC's series with Villanova. BC has played the Wildcats the fourth most all-time in program history, after Holy Cross (110 games), Providence (105) and UConn (89). The two schools are pretty similar in many different respects -- except for the whole playing IA college football in an MLS stadium idea -- and even share a religion.
Of course, the game that makes Nova top my list is BC's Sweet 16 heartbreaking loss to the Wildcats in the 2006 NCAA Tournament. That loss ended one of BC hoops most successful seasons in a long, long time, so a little BC payback is long overdue. (In contrast, BC beat UConn in the final game the two schools played back in 2005).
Honorable mention: Georgetown, Syracuse, St. John's, Fairfield, Fordham (we really should play our fellow Jesuit schools in hoops more often).
Your thoughts? Which non-league hoops rivalries do you miss the most? Which basketball series are worth kick starting back up?