Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim: “Duke is a rival”

Posted by Laura Keeley on October 17, 2013 

— Remember when Jim Boeheim was unhappy Syracuse was leaving the Big East?

That’s all in the past now.

It’s not that hard of a transition to come here," Boeheim said Wednesday at the ACC’s media day in Charlotte. "If we would have left 20 years ago, I would have had trouble with it."

The Orange were founding members of the Big East in 1979, but Boeheim’s time in Syracuse stretches back to 1962. There were rivalries before the Big East, and there will certainly be rivalries now, after its demise.

"Before the Big East, St. John’s was our rival," Boeheim said. "We got in the Big East, and Georgetown became our rival, and St. John’s still, and then Connecticut popped up, and then Pittsburgh popped up and then Louisville popped up. So, it’s who is good in those years, that’s your rival. It doesn’t take 10 years.

"A rivalry can happen like that," he said, snapping his fingers. "One game, you can have a rivalry, and that’s what will happen. Our fans already think Duke’s a rival, they sold it out faster than they sold out Georgetown. So they must think that’s going to be a rival game. And if it’s a good game, then it will be. That’s the way those things work. New rivalries will be created instantly. Overnight, there will be rivalries."

Tickets to the Feb. 1 Duke at Syracuse game did sell out in record time, and the Orange have sold about 5,000 more season ticket packages this year compared to years past (about 20,000 this year, Boeheim said). Why?

"The fans are excited about it. They’re looking forward to it," he said. "Our fans think they’re in a better league. The only thing they’re unhappy about is not going to New York City. They’re not unhappy about the league at all. They’d just rather go to New York City to play in the tournament. That’s all."

And it’s certainly a possibility that the ACC Tournament could find its way to the Big Apple in a few years.

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who has been at Duke since 1980 (four years fewer than Boeheim has been at the helm of Syracuse) echoed his new rival’s excitement.

"We love to play in lively places because that means it means something more," Krzyzewski said about going to the 35,012-seat Carrier Dome. "It will be an honor to play there and have a capacity crowd."

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