Big East Tourney = Big Moments; Sum > Parts
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Admittedly, it was the Atlantic Coast Conference that created the end-of-season conference tournament and staked its winner with an automatic berth to the NCAA championship, rendering the conference schedule to little more than a seeding exercise.
But since we can't put the genie back in the bottle, I'm going to credit the ACC for altering the college hoops landscape forever and then claim the Big East Tournament is the most iconic conference tournament in all of college basketball.
It never disappoints. For example, consider the six-overtime thriller between Syracuse and UConn in 2009. I confess to being slightly biased -- being raised a Syracuse fan -- but for me, the battles in the Garden have produced some of the best basketball games I have ever seen. The intensity is unrivaled, and I grew up watching players like Ray Allen, Gerry McNamara, and Da’Sean Butler make history.
In addition, my father bestowed upon me some instant classics from his time, specifically Pearl Washington and the Orange versus Walter Berry and St. John's in 1986 and Washington again playing against Georgetown legend Patrick Ewing and Villanova in 1985 (of course, they all involved Syracuse; the man is a fanatic).
When the lights of the Garden shine, the world of basketball glows.
For someone like me who believe the Big East tournament epitomizes basketball,it's a shame Syracuse an Pittsburgh will depart the conference following this season. But that is an entirely different story. As for this year’s event, we have seen yet another set of absolute gems already. Notre Dame upset both Marquette and viewers' eyes with their the-future-of-fashion-is-doomed green jerseys. Syracuse held off a strong second half run by Pittsburgh.
Now, we are waiting to savor two classic matchups: Louisville-Notre Dame and Syracuse-Georgetown. The latter is yet another epic showdown of two heated rivals, soon to tragically go the way of the dodo bird.
So as we wait in anticipation for these showdowns I leave you with the greatest pick of the entire tournament ... and keep digging, Jimmy, because it looks like you have found the answer these past two games!