A Big East Obituary
Added by Greg Rappaport on March 18, 2013.
Syracuse players celebrate during their final run through the Big East Tournament. (Photo by Tony Spinelli/ESPN)
For myself, the crumbling of the Big East didn’t strike me as a particularly devastating event. One after another, teams elected to leave the storied conference in search of a more lucrative arrangement. While many people have lamented the end of such classic rivalries like Syracuse and Georgetown, I have viewed the conference realignment as the opening of a new door; who isn’t going to be excited to see Duke versus Louisville or Syracuse versus UNC next year?
But the more I consider just how deeply these famed program’s histories are intertwined, the more I have begun to share the sadness felt by so many lifelong fans of the Big East. I didn’t have the pleasure of seeing the great battles featuring titans of the game like Ray Allen squaring off against Allen Iverson, or Patrick Ewing destroying everyone in his path (apologies if this is making anyone feel old).
My own memories of the Big East began with my D.C. native parents telling me to love Georgetown and hate Syracuse; I didn’t know why, but I went along with it. That was until I watched a cornrowed Carmelo Anthony carry Syracuse to the national championship in unprecedented fashion. I could no longer hate ‘Cuse after witnessing such a display of athletic dominance.
And then there was the latest player immortalized by Big East play, Kemba Walker, who crossed up and embarrassed anyone daring to take down UConn during their epic 2011 Big East and NCAA tournament run.
So while there will still be a Big East next season, any true appreciator of the conference knows that it’s only a flawed facsimile of itself. The Big East is arguably the greatest conference in the history of college basketball and isn’t just worthy of having a book written about it; a whole library might not even suffice to encapsulate it’s rich history of revered coaches, heated rivalries and legendary contests. So while you sat down Saturday with friends and family to watch the final Big East championship game as we know it, I hope you considered what is being lost with the realignment and took a moment to appreciate all of the moments and events that made the Big East the premier conference of college hoops for so many unforgettable years. We’ll miss you Big East.