In sports, as in life, change is a constant however there are instances where change is not the best course.
As I sat and watch last night semi hotly contested matchup between top ranked Villanova and fifth ranked Xavier, my enjoyment was tinged with wistfulness. It’s been more than two years but ,as a basketball fan,I miss the Big East, or rather what it used to be. The conference that I have enjoyed watching for so many years has been torn asunder. Syracuse, Pitt, and Notre Dame and Louisville now compete in the ACC; UCONN, Cincinnati play in the American Athletic Conference, not to disparage the league, but it has the feel of a forgotten school project that was rushed together at the last minute.
As we make the “March” toward the madness, my favorite time of year, I will consume even more basketball, from all the conference tournaments to ,of course, the Big Dance. This smorgasbord of basketball will include the Big East tournament and seeing those games it is clearly evident of change is not always good. The Big East tournament had a big time feel and cache to it. It’s played in the Mecca of basketball, Madison Sauare Garden and as a top conference always had some of the games of the tourney season. The design, set up and the lighting all had MSG feel to it. Unfortunately, that is no more. I have watched this tournament in the years since the realignment and the feel is totally different; I feel like I’m watching the horizon league conference tourney and the court looked like I was watching a Creighton ( no diss to the Blue Jays, but we are talking about the Garden here) home game.
While there are some great teams that remain and were added to that conference, the league remains the “Big East”, in my mind, in name only. Though the season has been great, the conference has, er- had, the number one ranked team in the land, and I have no doubt the conference tournament will be hard fought,competitive and entertaining. It just won’t be the same or as good. Thanks for the memories, I know it can never be as it was, but I will remember you as you were and not as you are.