Big East mania is back at UConn.
Well, sadly, not really. The Huskies are still stuck in the American Athletic Conference (for the time being) but they will play host to an old friend from a bygone era.
The Georgetown Hoyas will trek through the potential blizzard this weekend to take on UConn at the XL Center at noon on Saturday.
“This is a great game. I told our guys about the atmosphere, great history,” UConn head coach Kevin Ollie said. “All the people in the (scheduling) area did a great job scheduling to give our fans what they’ve been dying for since the Big East got dismantled.”
The two schools were members of the Big East conference from its founding in 1979 until it was dissolved in 2013. Georgetown (12-7, 5-2 Big East) is currently in a reformed version of the Big East.
UConn will enter riding a two game win streak, with victories over Houston and Tulane. Look for graduate transfer Shonn Miller to continue his consistent play. Miller has scored in double figures in the last 13 games, averaging 14.4 ppg in that stretch.
Georgetown is second in the Big East and is coming off their best win of the season. The Hoyas knocked off No. 5 Xavier, 81-72 earlier this week. Freshman forward Tre Campbell was the driving force, scoring a career high 21 points to seal the upset.
The rivalry between the programs dates back to 1958. UConn won that opening game, 76-68. The schools have met 64 times; the Hoyas hold a 35-29 all-time edge.
Saturday will be the first game between the two since the conference split. In their last meeting, Georgetown defeated UConn in double overtime at Gampel Pavilion, 79-78.
Senior Omar Calhoun was a freshman at the time of that game. He started, played 49 minutes, scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Phil Nolan also played in that game.
“Big East rivalry. Me and Phil are the only two here that were a part of that. The other guys know, we’ll talk about it. Everyone will be ready to step up,” Calhoun said.
As a player, Ollie went 5-4 against the Hoyas between 1991-1995. He still has fond memories of his time in the rivalry.
“Playing Allen Iverson, playing those wars. We used to do all kinds of things. We wouldn’t cut our hair before Georgetown, we wanted to be as rugged as them. We have a lot of memories with those guys,” Ollie said. “Just the battles. I remember my senior year, we beat them all three times, so good memories, good battles. Seeing coach (Jim) Calhoun and coach (John) Thompson battling each other are some good memories.”