Tonight's conference championship game between Louisville and Syracuse provided a fitting end to what has been the greatest conference that college basketball has ever seen. Syracuse jumped out to an early lead. James Southerland set the conference tournament record for 3-point attempts made, Louisville came out lethargic, and Syracuse ended up going into halftime with a 35-22 lead over the fourth-ranked Cardinals. The momentum was in their favor and by all accounts it looked like Syracuse was going to close out the Big East with the outright lead in conference championships. Rick Pitino had other ideas though.
The soon-to-be Hall of Fame coach did what he has done so well over his illustrious career (if we ignore that little stint he had in the NBA with the Boston Celtics), make adjustments and light a fire under his team. Their mainly defensive-minded center Gorgui Dieng came out on fire in the second half, knocking down some key shots and making beautiful passes to the open guy. Peyton Siva and Montrezl Harrell woke up from their first half funk and both added supreme performances. Harrell led the team with 20 points and Siva added 11 points and eight assists, winning the Big East Tournament MVP in consecutive years. He joins Patrick Ewing in 1984 and 1985 as the only players to accomplish this feat.
When it was all over, Syracuse had come out the loser, by a margin of 78-61. Louisville made a clear claim to be the overall #1 seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament. But, more than anything, the fans are the clear-cut winner here, having witnessed a glorious end to the conference that has given us so much over the years. The conference of Patrick Ewing, Pearl Washington, Allen Iverson, Ray Allen, Emeka Okafor, and Carmelo Anthony may be over, but it certainly didn't go out without a bang. Goodbye Big East, you will be missed.
Welcome! My name is Chris Spooner. I am an overly-passionate Dolphins fan who has many opinions about his team, and the sports landscape as a whole. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy voicing them.