February 13, 2012

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Volvo Challenge. This one comes with a little synergy. It is another Volvo Challenge. Remember to go and vote for me in Volvo’s Biggest Fan in the Big East. Volvo, a Big East corporate sponsor for the Big East, wonders what the Biggest Fans in the Big East think constitute the Garden 30, that the Big East itself is asking in honor of the 30th year at MSG.

What is the Garden 30? It is the 10 best moments. The 10 best players. And the 10 best teams in the Big East Tournament.

If you look over the list, Pitt doesn’t get much run. Except for being at the other end of some of the moments the Big East chose. The moments being widely defined as anything from a  moment, a single game, a tournament run and even back-to-back titles.

Well, if they are going to cast that wide of a net, there is no way Pitt doesn’t enter into the discussion.

10 Best Players from the Big East Tournament

This is a little different from the list I did earlier of the best players of the Big East. First, there is no actual team I’m putting together. Just the best players from the Big East Tournament. The players who stepped up under the bright lights of the Big East Tournament. This means a list more strongly dominated by point guards.

There’s some obvious overlap, and some surprising omissions. This is not in a particular order. Comments where I feel needed.

1. Patrick Ewing, Georgetown

2. Chris Mullen, St. John’s

3. Kemba Walker, UConn: Have to give it up to him for 2011.

4. Gerry McNamara, Syracuse: 2006 BET was his career high point.

5. Sherman Douglas, Syracuse

6. Khal El-Amin,UConn: BET MVP in 1998 and All-BET in 1999 and 2000.

7. Sam Young, Pitt: So dominant in the 2008 BET.

8. Alonzo Mourning, Georgetown: 1 BET MVP and 3 All-BET team selections

9. Dwayne Washington, Syracuse

10. Allen Iverson, Georgetown: Carried that Hoya team in the BET for two straight years

It goes without saying that players on the teams that won tend to get the stats and edge. More games. More showcase. That’s why it might be surprising to realize that Derrick Coleman — undoubtedly one of the best players in Big East history — did little to distinguish himself in the BET until his final BET in 1990 — his only time on the All-BET team.

Top 10 Teams

Let’s face it. If a team didn’t even win the Big East Tournament, they just can’t be on thislist. Again, no particular order. I do have to say, that this will probably be the widest range of variance from fan to fan. The fact is, that outside of a small handful of squads, I don’t really see a lot of great “teams” from the Big East Tournament. From falling short of expectations to the bad stretch of the 90s Big East.

1. 1983 St. John’s

2. 1985 Georgetown

3. 2003 Pitt

4. 2004 UConn

5. 1999 UConn

6. 2008 Pitt

7. 2001 Boston College — Torn on this one. This BC team plowed everyone in the Big East Tournament. They won each game by an average of 18 points. At the same time, this was such a topsy-turvy BET with so many upsets that BC played an 8-8 Villanova, 5-11 Seton Hall and 7-9 Pitt to win the BET.

8. 1989 Georgetown

9. 2009 Louisville

10. 2007 Georgetown

Speaking of bias, yes I can see that I have skewed hard to the 2000’s. Part of that is unavoidable with memory and simply the gauntlet teams have to go threw in the Big East these days. As I said, the 90s was not a particularly strong time for the Big East — especially that stretch in the mid-90s. Even in the 80s, the Big East didn’t start playing in MSG until 1983 (hence the 30 year anniversary) which reduced the number of teams available.

Top 10 Moments

You think the last list skewed a little towards Pitt-bias with the 2003 and 2008 Pitt squads making the top-ten teams. You haven’t seen anything yet.

1. 2001-2008 Pitt was the bully of the Big East Tournament. Making 7 BET Championship games in 8 years and winning 2 BETs. Pitt went from bottom feeder in the conference to the top of the conference in a few short years. But it was their runs each year in the Big East Tournament that made everyone aware of them. Most of it was accomplished without one dominant or transcendent player. They were almost always teams in the truest sense.

2. 2009 6-OT. One of the greatest games ever in any conference tournament. Syracuse and UConn staged an epic 6-OT quarter-final game.

3. Pitt-UConn three straight Big East Tournament Championship games 2002-04. UConn won 2 of the 3. Two extremely difficult wins, including beating Pitt in double-OT with a hobbling Brandin Knight still leading Pitt. But for a Pitt fan, that 2003 dominating win over UConn was the thing. Pitt’s first Big East Tournament Championship.

4. Walter Berry blocks Pearl Washington at the buzzer in 1986 Final.

5. UConn had Kemba Walker and no one else did in 2011. Goddammit

6. 2006 Syracuse runs 4-in-4 to win BET. Probably only Pitt fans remember that Pitt was doing the same thing. Pitt was playing its 4th game in 4 days as well. One team was going to be the first team to win the BET by winning 4 games in 4 days. Syracuse did it, and that run was what helped make sure they made it back to the NCAA Tournament. Something not guaranteed at the beginning of the BET.

7. Ray Allen’s game-winning jumper in 1996.

8. Georgetown’s dominance of 1984 and 1985 behind Patrick Ewing.

9. The eye poke of Allan Ray. Not one of the heartwarming or gut-wrenching moments of the Big East Tournament, but a disgustingly unforgettable one from the 2006 Big East Tournament. Pitt’s Carl Krauser and Villanova’s Allan Ray were going for a loose ball, and Krauser inadvertently got Ray with an eye poke that thankfully and somehow did not do permanent harm to Ray. And no, I will not run the YouTube of that moment.

10. Seton Hall wins its first Big Eat Tournament thanks to Oliver Taylor’s 2 buzzer beaters.

just to throw in a local plug .. in 1986, Ron Rowan (Beaver Falls) hit a 15 footer which proved to be the winning basket for St John’s in B championship (can’t even remember who they beat)

Chas, I think you’re minimizing the 03 2-OT Championship game … I believe to be the best championship game

Comment by wbb 02.13.12 @ 3:16 pm

I meant ’02 2-OT BE championship

Comment by wbb 02.13.12 @ 3:18 pm

please don’t ever post a link to the finger poke again! That was a gruesome top 10 (and I really quit after Krauser’s poke).

I remember a baseball player just totally shredding his ankle at first base a couple years ago, that had to be in the other receiving votes category.

Comment by Dan 02.13.12 @ 3:27 pm

What also feeds into the BE Tourney at the Garden is that it usually falls on St Paddy’s day parade in Pittsburgh. So after a day of heavy celebration and (mis)adventures for 8 straight years my friends and classmates would regather to share stories and root for Pitt. Those were great times.
We eventually started calling it “Christmas Morning”.

Comment by Freebird 02.13.12 @ 4:35 pm

Big News Danny O’Brien is leaving Maryland, Edsel has given him his release. The only stipulation is he can’t enroll at Vanderbilt due to Franklin being the coach there and was the guy O’Brien came to Md to play for in the first place.
This opens the doors for Pitt to get O’Brien who has 2 years left and will be eligible to play this fall due to completing his degree at Md. Paul Chryst get on the recruiting trail this could fix our Tino problem.

Comment by spindler's spirit 02.13.12 @ 5:16 pm

“Remember the Run”
Has there been a more influential week in the history of Pitt basketball? For years I was thrilled to make it to a second night, and all of the sudden we scratched and clawed our way to the Final. After that, 10 years of unprecedented success.

Comment by JW 02.13.12 @ 9:11 pm

@Sprindler. Saw we’re getting a big fullback, transferring from Ohio St. I believe he will have 3 years eligibility left. Has to sit out 2012.

David Durham 6-2 245lbs Charlotte NC

Redshirted one year, little playing time as frosh last year.

Comment by Dan 02.14.12 @ 9:51 am

O’Brien is prohibited from transferring to us and any of the other ACC schools, including Syracuse- as well as Vanderbilt.

Comment by SilverPanther in NYC 02.14.12 @ 9:59 am

WVU to Big XII in 2012 is official. Big East announces it has terminated WVU’s membership.

Comment by ECH 02.14.12 @ 10:10 am

As I suspected, Pitt and Cuse will remain one more year in BE (per The Fan 93.7 in recent update)

Comment by wbb 02.14.12 @ 11:16 am

What exactly will the Big East look like next year? Will there be 2 divisions & a conference championship game. Will PITT be playing SDU the day after Thanksgiving?

Comment by DC33 02.14.12 @ 11:29 am

right now, I believe the BE only has 7 FB teams for next year …. but who can keep up with all of the confusion

Comment by wbb 02.14.12 @ 12:15 pm

Big 12 schedule up
link to

Enjoy the hoops game Thursday, it could be the last brawl…

Comment by KeyboardKev 02.14.12 @ 12:31 pm

Usually have the Fan on, missed it.

Say anything about leaving in 2013??

Anything on who we’re filling our schedule with.

I know Fla. St. is looking for someone to come there with the game WVU got out of.

Frankly, I’d rather have a game at Fla. St. than a home game against Western Montana State.

I know Steve is in a jamb, but, I hope its not to duds!!!

Comment by Dan 02.14.12 @ 1:24 pm

@wbb, you’re right.

6 Big East conf games
H-Youngstown St.
@-Notre Dame

Need two more.

Comment by Dan 02.14.12 @ 1:28 pm

Bob Smizik posted an article from stating that Pitt and Cuse will join the ACC in 2013 .. but there are a handful of articles saying the same. I just read an article by Tom Luicci (not sure of the spelling) on that also indicated that Pitt and Cuse will leave a year earlier than waiting the max 27 month period.

Comment by wbb 02.14.12 @ 1:39 pm

Presumedly, BE working on Boise St coming in this year (paying Mountain WEst early exit fees) so some BE teams won’t have to play each other twice .. but who knows?

Like I’ve been saying all along .. we can speculate all we want … but be prepared to expect almost anything.

Comment by wbb 02.14.12 @ 1:43 pm


Next year, the Big East will have,

South Fla.

So, looks like 6 conference games, and everyone trying to fill out their schedule for the year. Everyone will probably be looking for home games(creampuffs that don’t require a home and home).

Eventually, in 2015 when it is all said and done (ha ha ha LMAO, like the BE will ever be all said and done), but I digress, the BE is looking like this.

Rutgers UCONN Louisville Cincinnati S.Fla.
Boise St. San Diego St. SMU C.Fla. Houston

They will be looking for one more (Temple-Nova?)
to get to 12 teams.

Problem for Marinatto is, Louisville’s eyes are roaming allready (talk of them and BYU to Big 12 someday)

Houston has been lobbying in Texas for a Big 12 invite.

If conf ever go to 16, UCONN to ACC, Rutgers to Big 10???

Will Boise be stable in the BE, if something better comes along???

Pitt is in excellent shape in a conference with like schools, geography and will have the top hoops conference and an excellent football conf.

Wish we were going sooner.

Pretty much 5 big conferences.

Big Ten-Midwest

Comment by Dan 02.14.12 @ 1:48 pm

That would be good I think wbb, as you mentioned and others.

Calm down, have one last year in the BE, let Chryst and Dixon get ready, and go in 2013.

Comment by Dan 02.14.12 @ 1:56 pm

Where is WVU coming up with the money for the buyout? They are on the hook for at least $16M. That’s the amount of money that Pitt gets cut from the state this year. Does their Aggie department grow and sell weed or something? Maybe their Chem department manufactures Meth. Seriously, where is this money coming from? Pitt can’t afford a buyout this large.

Comment by TX Panther 02.14.12 @ 1:58 pm

My guess is that they are getting loans from the other B12 teams since it is to all of their benefits that WVU plays in B12 this year

Comment by wbb 02.14.12 @ 2:01 pm

Dan, you missed Memphis. Which is a surprise, considering they come first to my mind when thinking football. That gives the Big East the 12 they need.

Comment by KeyboardKev 02.14.12 @ 2:03 pm

Prediction: when all of the dust settles (circa 2016), the Big East will return to pretty much how it started …. mainly urban basketball-only basketball teams … and BE football will become a distant memory.

Comment by wbb 02.14.12 @ 2:04 pm

Even if loans, they have to be paid back over time with interest I assume. Maybe that’s why the Hoopies don’t get full share of TV rights and other things for several years. Beer sales must be good inside the stadium then or maybe the trustees will just decide to get rid of the Business school to pay for it. It’s not a ‘real’ business school anyways.

Comment by TX Panther 02.14.12 @ 2:05 pm

@Yes KeyboardKev!!!!!!! That’s been bothering the past couple hours, even right after I typed it, I thought that I just heard they got their 12th, but thought I must be dreaming.

Ya, Memphis a week or two ago. Good call!!!

Comment by Dan 02.14.12 @ 3:50 pm

Any guesses as to who the other 2 games will be against? Can’t dilute the schedule too much. If PITT can play hard nosed & run the ball well am i crazy to think a 9-3 record is possible? The ACC can’t happen soon enough!!

Comment by DC33 02.14.12 @ 4:25 pm

I believe wvu is on the hook for 11 million & each big 12 team is paying 1 million.

Comment by DC33 02.14.12 @ 4:39 pm

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