Pitino Boeheim

Syracuse and Louisville provide a reminder of what we messed up

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It would be real easy for me to sit down and pen a column about the fact that the Big East has sent to ACC teams, Syracuse (who leaves after the season) and Louisville (who will spend one more year in the league before bouncing) to the Final Four.

I could write that in my sleep.

I’ve done it already, right before the Big East tournament.

But the more I think about it, the happier that I am that the Big East finally blew up, because what it had become was a bloated, watered down disaster. Georgetown and SMU? Providence and Central Florida? Seton Hall and Houston? Who has any desire to see those teams play?

Hell, I wouldn’t be all that upset if they traded DePaul for someone like St. Joseph’s or La Salle or VCU.

The bottom line is that this season’s version of the conference — the one that still counted Pitt, Syracuse, Louisville and Rutgers as members — still isn’t what the Big East was in it’s glory days. Not when UConn plays Syracuse, Pitt, Villanova and Georgetown once in a season while drawing home-and-homes with South Florida and DePaul. That’s the Big East basketball we all reminisce about? St. John’s looking to get revenge for an early-season loss at home to Tulsa?

But that’s the beauty of Louisville and Syracuse both making the Final Four this season.

You see, one day, I think the new Big East will eventually have a chance to be as relevant as the Big East was in its glory days. It’s loaded with schools that value and invest money in basketball. Butler, Xavier, Georgetown, St. Louis, Creighton, Marquette, Villanova. Those are all really good basketball programs that will make annual pushes deep into the tournament. And, once they start playing each other two or three times in a season, rivalries will emerge. Butler and Marquette already seem to have a healthy dislike for each other after playing a couple of classics recently. You don’t think Georgetown and Xavier or St. Louis and Villanova can do the same? All it takes is one shoving match or one hard foul or one buzzer-beater.

Hell, the Syracuse-Georgetown rivalry, one of the best in college basketball, grew out of John Thompson Jr. saying “Manley Fieldhouse is now closed.”

So I don’t think Big East basketball is dead. It’s going to be different, but it’s not dead.

But Syracuse and Louisville playing on the season’s final weekend is a not-so-subtle reminder that we screwed up an awesome thing with realignment.

I, for one, take a bit of happiness out of that.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Thanksgiving Day Edition!

Kevin Ollie
(AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Syracuse vs. No. 18 UConn, 3:30 p.m.

For the first time since the Orange departed the Big East, the two former rivals will square off. Today’s battle will take place at the Battle 4 Atlantis, as the Orange knocked off Charlotte yesterday and the Huskies dispatched Michigan. To get ready for this battle, I’d suggest ready through the conversation @NoEscalators had with himself last night.

THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 25 Texas A&M vs. No. 10 Gonzaga, 1:00 p.m.

The other semifinal in the Battle 4 Atlantis could end up being just as good, as the Aggies — who might be the second best team in the SEC — square off with a Gonzaga team that has one of the best front lines in the country. This will be a good test to figure out just how good both of these teams are.


1. No. 20 Wichita State vs. USC, 2:00 p.m.: The Shockers will be without Fred VanVleet for this event. It will also be a chance for us to gauge just how good this 4-0 USC team is.

2. No. 23 Xavier vs. Alabama, 12:00 p.m: The Musketeers should have no problems dispatching Alabama.

3. No. 8 Villanova vs. Stanford, 4:30 p.m.: The Wildcats are, once again, as good as any team in the country. Josh Hart might be the nation’s most underrated star.

4. No. 14 Cal vs. San Diego State, 12:00 a.m.: Tyrone Wallace and company have been awesome this season. They get their first real test of the season tonight.

5. Providence vs. Evansville, 7:00 p.m.: Evansville is one of the nation’s best mid-majors, good enough to give the likes of Wichita State and Northern Iowa a fight in the Missouri Valley. And Providence? They got a kid named Kris Dunn. Heard of him?


  • No. 3 Michigan State vs. Boston College, 6:30 p.m.
  • No. 11 Arizona vs. Santa Clara, 11:30 p.m.
  • No. 17 Notre Dame vs. Monmouth, 6:30 p.m.

VIDEOS: Rhode Island, Maryland exchange heated words in Cancun

Dan Hurley

No. 2 Maryland finally found their rhythm on Wednesday night, blowing out a good Rhode Island team, 86-63, in the finals of the Cancun Challenge.

Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 34 points and eight assists on 13-for-14 shooting and Robert Carter added 15 points, nine boards, three assists and three blocks. Peak Maryland, which is what we saw tonight, is really dangerous.

But Peak Maryland wasn’t the story after the game, as tempers flared in the waning minutes.

It started when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. Jake Layman had just hit a three to put Maryland up by 24 points and Turgeon wanted to get his walk-ons in the game. Hurley said to the Maryland bench, “We’ll see you again, boy,” according to Inside Maryland Sports, which prompted this reaction from Turgeon:

After the game, the two teams had to be separated in layup lines. According to reports from IMS and from the Baltimore Sun, Hurley was cursing at Maryland players as he was shaking their hands after the game. According Doug Gottlieb, who called the game for CBS Sports Network, Trimble said that the Rhode Island team wanted to “fight us”: