Monday, March 15, 2010
The Big East from the Big Apple
This past weekend, I was able to attend the Big East Tournament semi-final and championship from Madison Square Garden in New York City. Attending the Big East tourney has been on my bucket list for many years, and I was finally able to obtain tickets with my family through a family friend.
The games on friday were the Georgetown Hoyas vs Marquette and the Notre Dame vs. West Virginia. The Hoyas and Mountaineers advanced to the championship game, but I will get to that game in a second.
Madison Square Garden is the mecca of indoor sporting events in the United States. The history of that building, between being the site of so many title boxing bouts, including the famous "Fight of the Century" on March 8, 1971 between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. The Garden has hosted Stanley Cups, NBA championships, and numerous other famous events. It is generally considered the "world's most famous arena." Just walking into that building brings a certain level of mystique. Throw in the fact that the seats are set up like a theatre, where they gradually ascend to the rafters, and you have somewhat of a play happening on the court.
And let's not forget: New York crowds, especially for high-level basketball, are incomparable in terms of passion and enthusiasm.
To the games
I came away feeling that Georgetown's Chris Wright and West Virginia's Da'Sean Butler were the two best players on the floor. Butler scored from all over the court, and made the game winning shot on a great drive. He showed strength and toughness in going into traffic and scoring such a big shot. Chris Wright missed the last shot to tie the game at the buzzer, but he was superb throughout the game. Wright was hitting big shot after big shot, and had a thunderous breakaway dunk at the end of the first half that brought the Hoya fans back into the game.
Austin Freeman of Georgetown is another very good player, as is Greg Monroe. However, Monroe has some things to work on. He cannot defend anybody. He probably couldn't even defend New York superfan Spike Lee. He is stiff in the hips, and lacks strength to match up with big bodied forwards.
Going to the Big East tournament was a great experience, and the event did not disappoint. The Garden always holds great events, and I would recommend anybody to go. I will post video of the event, as well as pictures, and the video of the last nine seconds of the final. Da'Sean Butler's winning shot, and the subsequent miss by Chris Wright at the buzzer.