VIDEO: Benches clear in Georgetown-St. John’s, Mullin and Thompson III separated

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First, Villanova goes and wins a national championship last season. Now, two once-powerful programs nearly clear the benches.

Is the Big East completely back?

Well, short of that, Georgetown and St. John’s provided some of that old-school Big East animosity Wednesday with a heated exchange in their first-round matchup at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.

So amid that bit of chaos, you’ve got Red Storm coach Chris Mullin yelling at Hoyas coach John Thompson III, and Georgetown assistant coach Patrick Ewing, Jr. needing to be restrained.

I feel like that sentence would be very confusing to someone in 1992.

So would “Ninth-seeded Georgetown and eighth-seeded St. John’s matchup in Big East tournament opener,” but that’s kind of where we are at the moment.

Clearly, neither of these programs are at the place they were in the heyday of the Big East, but some good old fashion bad blood is a nice reminder that while the Big East has been reconfigured, it hasn’t lost its soul.