SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) On the day after the Big East lost its fifth member in 18 months with Rutgers bolting for the Big Ten and with more defections likely on the horizon, the man who helped make Big East basketball the force that it is offered his view of the college landscape.
``I'm going to let those people play their games,'' Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said Wednesday night after his sixth-ranked Orange beat Princeton 73-53. ``I think they'll be doing that for the next 20 years. If they could figure it out and get it done in the next year, we wouldn't have to think about it.
``Maybe they should just have a draft, each conference should just draft teams ... except then they'd have to make a decision and they wouldn't be able to figure it out. Eventually, they'll get this thing figured out. They'll get all the teams moved and then in a year or two someone will say `We need to take somebody,' ... But I'll be long gone by then.''
Syracuse and Pittsburgh will leave the Big East after this season to join the Atlantic Coast Conference and West Virginia already has bolted for the Big 12. Either Louisville or Connecticut is expected to join the defectors going forward.
Although Syracuse has indicated it will continue to try to keep archrival Georgetown on the schedule, the changing college landscape will have an effect on rivalries. None was more intense than Georgetown-Syracuse in the 1980s.
``Rivalries don't matter to anyone anymore,'' Boeheim said. ``If you ask someone at West Virginia if they like going to Texas Tech or Texas A&M and all those places, ask their fans whether they really like that. Maybe they do. I don't know. I don't get it. It's just the way it's going. There's nothing you can do about it.
``Like I said, if these guys (the conference commissioners) were running the United States in colonial times, Brazil and Argentina would be states because they have something we need. It's a great country.''
Boeheim, in his 37th year at his alma mater, turned 68 last week and is eight wins shy of becoming the third Division I men's coach to reach 900, behind only Mike Krzyzewski and Bob Knight.