Andy Katz of ESPN reported early on Monday morning that Boston College Eagles basketball will meet the Connecticut Huskies in the first round of the 2K Sports Classic at Madison Square Garden in mid to late November. It will be the first time the two teams have met on the court in almost nine years, with their last encounter coming on January 5, 2005.
UConn will … play Boston College and then possibly Indiana (which has to get by Washington) in the 2K Sports Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York City the week after the season opener.
According to the 2K Sports Classic website, the Eagles will first host two regional round games as part of the event before moving to the Garden.
The current governor of Connecticut, Dan Malloy, is a Boston College graduate who had hoped the schools would make peace; they did not schedule one another as such, but they will meet again. One would suspect that the governor would have some divided loyalties when it comes to the largest public university in his state, but nevertheless, he has gotten his wish (kind of).
A very recent alumnus or current student might not fully comprehend the animosity which has existed between these two schools since Boston College left the Big East for the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2005; alumni in the 2000 to 2010 time frame will probably be displeased by the news. Connecticut headlined a lawsuit against BC for leaving the conference while Jim Calhoun, the Huskies’ coach at the time, said (paraphrased) that his team would never play Boston College again as long as he was there. Tensions flared again in 2011 when it was reported that former athletic director Gene DeFilippo vetoed UConn’s entry into the ACC. Simply put, there has been nearly a decade of healthy disdain, even though many of the key players in the early to mid-2000s realignment drama have come and gone.
What may be more distasteful is that the New Haven Register reports that the two school administrations may, in fact, be entering a period of détente. With new faces at both universities, it seemed like somewhat of an inevitability.
According to multiple sources, UConn and BC have been in discussions about meeting in non-conference games in coming years. Warde Manuel and new BC athletic director Brad Bates both know each other from their Mid-American Conference days (Manuel at Buffalo, Bates at Miami of Ohio), and there have been conversations about the Huskies and Eagles meeting not only in men’s hoops but in football, as well (though basketball seems more likely to happen at this point).
Times change and all that, and in the long run there was very little chance that these programs would be able to avoid one another completely, but don’t expect anything resembling a friendly rivalry. There is still mutual enmity there, which can mean only one thing: Boston College better plan on winning, or else we’ll never hear the end of it.