Do Not Mourn This Week

A lot of people seem to be mourning this week as the “last” Big East Tournament is being played at The Garden. The general line you hear from people is how it “will never be the same”.

Part of that is true. We will never again see Syracuse or UConn winning the Big East Tournament and that is a shame. But we will also avoid seeing a 16-team or 14-team tournament that simply went on way too long. Sure, you can argue that it is great that every team (or this year most of them) have a chance at advancing to the NCAA’s, but the fact is conference tournaments should not last five nights. They should not have double-byes in them. How many people even realize that the Big East Tournament started LAST night?

By shrinking back to down to a more manageable size, the Big East is actually returning to its roots. Back in the 19080’s, the tournament had 9 schools with a play-in game the first night and then the quarters, semis and finals. The longest drive any fan had to make to The Garden was about 6 hours and fans didn’t have to buy seven different sets of tickets to see all the action.

Next year won’t restore all of that. I am sure the tourney will be split into sections again. (For instance today’s schedule has an afternoon session and an evening one, each with separate admission.) And it is a lot farther to drive from say Butler to NYC than Pittsburgh to NYC. But, a lot of the old feelings will be back. It will be the crown jewel of its conference again and it will be a showcase for some of the best basketball in the country. Mourn the demise of the Football Big East all you want. I’m looking forward to a new world starting in July.

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