This week, Daily Campus Sports remembers the nostalgic highs of the old BIG EAST Conference, while also asking ‘where did it all go wrong?’ This is Big East Week.
The old Big East was filled with great games, and many moments of individual brilliance that will be remembered forever. The DC Sports Staff looks over its favorite Big East moments in the first of a couple Big East roundtables this week.
Chris Hanna, Associate Sports Editor
For me, there’s only one answer to this question. It may be cliche, and you may hear more about it this week as we go through the nostalgia for the days of the old Big East, but the best Big East Moment is unquestionably Kemba Walker’s crossover and stepback on Gary McGhee in the 2011 Big East quarterfinals to win the game at the buzzer. The legend of Cardiac Kemba was born on that day around 2 p.m., and I remember it very clearly as I was sprinting out of my last class to the library to see the end of the game on a computer. The ankle-breaking move was magnificent, the shot was precise and the celebrations from players and head coach Jim Calhoun were wild. Everything about those 15 seconds was just perfect, which is why the end of the 2011 Big East Quarterfinals between UConn and Pitt is the best Big East Moment.
Tyler Keating, Sports Editor
It usually isn’t fun to remember a loss, but the six-overtime Big East Tournament game between UConn and Syracuse was such a memorable high that it makes it into this list despite Jim Boeheim and the Orange walking away the victors. Forty minutes of hard-nosed, conference basketball between hard-nosed opponents is already too much, but 70 minutes is absolutely incredible, and the fact that is all happened in the Garden is the cherry on the cake. It’s the peak of the UConn-Syracuse rivalry, one of the best from the days of the Big East, and if we want to remember it more fondly, consider that UConn went all the way to the Final Four after that marathon while Syracuse bowed out in the Sweet Sixteen.
Josh Buser, Senior Staff Writer
The 1985 National Championship between No. 8 Villanova and No. 1 Georgetown is one of the best moments in the entire sport of college basketball and certainly was the best moment for the Big East Conference. Along with St. John’s, three teams from the Big East made the Final Four in 1985 and Villanova’s unlikely title further cemented the conference’s basketball prowess. Villanova’s Cinderella run captivated the entire nation, helping make March Madness into the cultural phenomenon that it is today. The No. 8 Wildcats remain the lowest-seeded team to win the NCAA Tournament. We know anything can happen in the NCAA Tournament, but Villanova’s historic upset of Georgetown was one of the first moments that proved that.