As Georgetown prepares to take on St. John’s Thursday night at 8 p.m. the Big East basketball season is officially upon us. This year, Vox is taking a page from Deadspin and New York‘s books and giving you a guide for rooting against each of the Hoyas’ opponents. Here are three reasons to hate the St. John’s Red Storm:
3-3-09 / 3-18-09
Those are two dates that should live in Georgetown infamy. Coming into March last season, everyone in the country knew the Hoyas had fallen apart, but I don’t think anyone thought they had sunk to these depths: losing twice to a 16-18 St. John’s team in just over two weeks.
Unbelievably, after upsetting Villanova the weekend before the first St. John’s game, the Hoyas had an outside shot at clawing their way back into the NCAA tournament. Then they went to New York and lost 59-56 in overtime because they couldn’t stop some guy named Paris and the frontman from Matchbox Twenty.
It might have been the most disappointing loss of an extremely disappointing season if the Red Storm hadn’t knocked the Hoyas out in the first round of the Big East tournament two weeks later. I know everyone wants to forget last season, but the only way to move past what happened last March is to beat the Johnnies on New Year’s Eve.
The Sweater Game
A Georgetown history lesson: back in the John Thompson Jr. glory days of the mid-80s, St. John’s was not a Big East doormat that spoiled Georgetown’s postseason dreams, but a legitimate rival. In fact, under Hall of Fame coach Lou Carnesecca, the Johnnies were something of a national powerhouse.
In 1985, when the Hoyas were defending national champions, St. John’s actually eclipsed Georgetown to become the number one team in the country. Heading into a late February match-up, the Hoyas were ranked second right behind them.
During St. John’s rise to the top Carnesecca wore an ugly sweater as a good luck charm, the kind of talisman a superior Georgetown team had no need and no respect for. Big John strolled into Madison Square Garden wearing a replica of the sweater, beat St. John’s 85-69, and made the definitive “We Are Georgetown and You Aren’t” statement.
Johnny the Thunderbird
I know Georgetown fans really have no right to criticize other schools’ arbitrary mascots, but on the other hand, do you see that picture? And while Jack the Bulldog may not have anything to do with the word “Hoya,” at least the mascot is based on a real dog. I’m pretty sure there’s never been a Thunderbird flying around in Queens.
Johnny was recently chosen to replace this thing, and supposedly is a triple-reference to St. John’s athletic history: the Johnnies nickname, the Red Storm weather imagery, and the school’s Native American tradition. Said tradition being that two students stole a Native American statue from a cigar store to be a representation of the previously unoffensive, uniform-derived Redmen name.
So not only is Johnny ridiculous looking, he’s also a latent bigot—as good a reason to hate the Red Storm as any.