Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Senior Day

After a nine game winning streak, which started with my visit to Notre Dame for the Syracuse game, the Irish finally hit a speed bump, and lost two games on the road. One to St. John's at the Garden, and one to Georgetown in DC. But these two road losses don't have to matter as long as the Irish secure a win at home, on Senior Day, to Providence. With a win over the Friars on Friday, the Irish can clinch a double bye in next week’s Big East Tournament. Even better than that, the Irish can still finish *third with either a loss by Georgetown at Marquette this week, or two Marquette losses (the Golden Eagles travel to contending Cincinnati before hosting the Hoyas).

[*A third-place finish would guarantee the avoidance of the nation's #2 team, Syracuse, until the Big East Conference Finals.]

Highlights from last year's Notre Dame vs. Providence game:

A double bye is key for Notre Dame because it means that they only have to play three games in three days, rather than four in four. I think this is important so that the Irish don't end up beat-up after the Big East Tournament, and enter the big dance in the best condition possible. As much as I love championship week and the Big East Tournament, I think often times the Big East teams end up tearing each other apart during the tourney, and unfortunately end up entering the big dance tattered and torn. We want to avoid this if at all possible!

In the mean time, the Irish have got to get back on track.

During their nine game winning streak, Notre Dame's grit was very apparent. They either came out early and never looked back, or in games when they started out a little flat, they always managed to dig in and pull out a win. Their control of the pace of the game has been very important as well. Just ask Syracuse.

Cooley vs Syracuse

For a team that was not expected to be much of anything this year, this Irish team has really forced everyone to stop and take notice. Without Tim Abromaitis at the helm, some unlikely stars have arisen, like all-Big East candidate Jack Cooley.

I'm not overly concerned about my Irish. They have made great strides this season, and like each of the other top Big East East teams who have bounced back after suffering head-shaking losses this season, Notre Dame will do the same!

Yep, here we are ... it's crunch time for me as well! This is the final push. Voting ends on March 5th. Please swing by my "Biggest Fan of the Big East" profile and please cast a vote in my direction!! Thank you!!

Cheers & GO IRISH!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Five Questions: Georgetown

The next Big East Conference school in my Five Questions series is Georgetown University. My fellow "Biggest Fan of the Big East" contestant from Georgetown University was unable to stop by, so I asked Andrew from the Casual Hoya, to stop by and answer my Five Questions. Thanks Andrew!

What team is your favorite rival in the Big East?

As much as I’d love to shower you with Irish love on this glorious Monday, our biggest and my most favorite rival is still Syracuse for likely at least another year before they blot for greener pastures in the ACC. Everything annoys me about Syracuse, from the coaching staff to the players to the fruity nickname, and nothing quite gets our fanbase going then a matchup with the Orange. I know we’re looking forward to possibly gaining the 4 seed in the Big East Tournament to set up a possible rematch with Syracuse in Madison Square Garden.

What is the biggest improvement Georgetown has made this year from last year?

Defense. This Hoya group is much more focused and cohesive on the defensive end this season, and aside from the blip at Seton Hall last week Georgetown has been very difficult for opponents to score on. Sims has been an anchor down low and Georgetown’s length on the perimeter has been especially disruptive to teams that prefer to live on the outside. Hello, Notre Dame!

Who is your favorite player on the team?

I don’t like to play favorites since I really don’t like getting caught up in the ups and downs of any player individually. Having said that, it’s tough for me not to appreciate the work that both Henry Sims and Jason Clark have put in during their four years at Georgetown, and tonight on Senior Night I’m sure the hometown fans will give them a nice sendoff.

Henry Sims

What quiet player will become/has become a standout player this year?

Freshman forward Otto Porter is already one of the more popular Hoyas, and has looked better as a freshman than former Hoya Jeff Green did. Otto isn’t flashy but does everything right and seems to have gained the trust of JTIII with the ball in his hands. Along with Porter, fellow freshmen Jabril Trawick, Greg Whittington and Mikael Hopkins will all see action against the Irish, and have provided the Hoyas with a great foundation for the future.

Otto Porter, photo courtesy of the Washington Post

What is the best part about playing in the Big East?

From a fan perspective the best part about playing in the Big East is that every game is a battle. The inherent rivalries with each school make the games entertaining, and since there has been relatively little turnover among the coaches in the conference, each team brings its own unique offensive and defensive schemes. Even though some programs may have down years, there still is a level of visceral hate for certain schools that supercedes the actual result on the court. It’s really a shame that conference realignment has put a dent in some of these rivalries, but as those may fade others will undoubtedly blossom. And yes, I’m really looking forward to playing SMU.

[bonus] What is your prediction for the score of the Notre Dame - Georgetown game?

When the threes don’t fall for Notre Dame they can be an extremely average team. I don’t expect the Irish to crap the bed like they did against St. John’s, but Georgetown’s perimeter defense isn’t going to make it much easier. If Sims can bottle up Cooley down low, this could be a long night for the Irish. Final score Hoyas 67 – Irish 62.

Thanks again to Andrew, from the Casual Hoya, for stopping by and answering my Five Questions. Stop by Andrew's blog and show him a little Big East Conference love!

And yes, this is my final push. Please swing by my "Biggest Fan of the Big East" profile and vote, and vote often!! Thank you!!

Cheers & GO IRISH!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Five Questions: St. John's

The next school in my "Five Questions" series is Notre Dame's next Big East Conference opponent, St. John's. My fellow "Biggest Fan of the Big East" contestant Mike Gambardella, St. John's alum and blogger from Not The Common Fan, has agreed to stop by and answer my Five Questions.

What team are you most looking forward to playing in Big East play?

The Georgetown - St. John's games are always great just because of the history between the two schools, especially in the 80's with John Thompson II and Lou Carnesecca, but I have to go with Syracuse this season. The Orange is one of the best teams in the country and probably play better defense that anyone.

What is the biggest improvement St. John's has made this year from last year?

This is a tough question as St. John's now has no players on the team now that played last year, but you can easily say it is the team's resolve. The Red Storm has just six scholarship players, all newcomers, and start five freshman ("The Fresh Five"). Even though the Johnnies are the youngest team in the NCAA and have played all but four games with head coach Steve Lavin, who is recovering from October prostate cancer surgery.

Who is your favorite player on the team?

Tempted to go with God'sgift Achiuwa (yes that is his given name), but I have to choose Moe Harkless. The silky-smooth freshman has played every position for the Red Storm this season and should challenge for conference and national Rookie of the Year honors.

What quiet player will become a standout player before the year is over?

I think question has an obvious answer... Kevin Jones. The West Virginia forward was often overshadowed by Da'Sean Butler, but now he is leading the BIG EAST in scoring and rebounding in his final season and will by the key for the Mountaineers in the conference and NCAA tourney.

What is the best part about playing in the Big East?

The level of competition. There are no "gimmies" in the BIG EAST. Every game brings a certain level of drama and more often than not, you can turn on any league game late in the second half and find an entertaining and hard-fought battle.

[bonus] What is your prediction for the score of the Notre Dame - St. John's game?

After beating UCLA at the Garden and topping DePaul on senior day at Carnesseca, look for the young Red Storm to continue their roll, upsetting the No. 18 Fighting Irish, 67-66.

A big thanks to Mike for stopping by and answering my Five Questions. Please stop by his blog, Not The Common Fan, and show him some Big East Conference love!

Cheers ... and GO IRISH! Let's make it TEN in a row!

And but of course ... while I've got you here ... can I make another shameless plug for votes. Please go to my profile, vote, and vote often!!

Pretty In Pink

This week's edition of Retro Friday features the Psychedelic Furs song "Pretty In Pink."

The Psychedelic Furs are an English post-punk/New Wave band which was formed in 1977. The band is led by singer Richard Butler and his brother Tim on bass guitar, and they are one of the many acts that spawned from the British post-punk scene. Their music went through several phases, from an initially austere art rock sound, later touching on new wave and hard rock.

They scored several hits early in their career, but were launched to international attention in 1986 when the film director John Hughes borrowed their song title "Pretty in Pink" for his movie of the same name. A newly recorded version of the song became the Psychedelic Furs' biggest hit to that time. "Heartbreak Beat", from their 1987 album Midnight to Midnight, was to be the Furs' biggest Top 40 entry in the US.

The Psychedelic Furs went on hiatus in 1991, and the Butler brothers formed a new band called Love Spit Love. The Psychedelic Furs later regrouped in 2001 and continue to perform around the world.

The song "Pretty in Pink" ... and it's similarly named movie ... are definitive cultural features from the 1980's. And whenever I hear the song, I automatically think of the movie! If you haven't seen Pretty In Pink ... track it down and watch it for sure ... it's a classic!

And did I mention that Molly Ringwald, star of said movie, is going to be in town this weekend? I think we may just have to go attend her meet & greet and relive a little 80s lore!

Okay ... and here it is ... for your listening pleasure! "Pretty In Pink!"

There is one other Psychedelic Furs song that I do also particularly like ... "Love My Way." It is another one of those quintessential 80's retro songs. Allmusic writer Ned Raggett called it "one of the slyest and best singles from the early '80s, a deserved cult hit in the States well-remembered in modern rock circles."

"Love My Way" was released in 1982 from their third studio album, Forever Now. It was written by the four members of the group and produced by Todd Rundgren, the song reached the top 10 of the charts in New Zealand and the top 50 in the United Kingdom and United States.

And here's a bonus song for you ... a little "Love My Way" for your listening pleasure!


OH, and while I've got you here ... can I make one more shameless plug for votes? Please go to my "Biggest Fan of the Big East" profile, vote, and vote often!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Five Questions: West Virginia

The next Big East Conference school in my Five Questions series is the Universtiy of West Virginia. My fellow "Biggest Fan of the Big East" contest & blogger, Bobby of has agreed to stop by and answer my Five Questions!

What team are you most looking forward to playing in Big East play?

Pitt ... the Backyard Brawl is always an epic game, football and basketball. Proved once again this year as we went 1-1 with them. Sadly this year marks the end to a LONG rivalry. Sad to see it go.

What is the biggest improvement West Virginia has made this year from last year?

The addition of 'THE BEARD' to Deniz Kilicli is the best thing thats happened to the team this year! haha I KEED I KEED. That's a tough one since I personally feel our team was better last year. Operations wise, Huggins got the team a phat new practice facility built so hopefully that will result in some improvements over the next few years. One thing I will say is that seeing Kevin Jones mature to the leader he is has been an awesome thing to watch.

Who is your favorite player on the team?

"THE TURK" (Kilicli) who else? This guy is a monster and a damn good baller. The beard this year is the icing on the cake though.

What quiet player will become a standout player before the year is over?

Two players actually. 2 Freshman this year will shine IMHO. Gary Browne and Aaron Brown, they will be the guys to take us to the next level in the years to come.

What is the best part about playing in the Big East?

UGH ... that's a tough question to answer now that it's finalized that WVU will be in the Big 12 next year. When it comes to basketball, playing in the Big East is/was a great thing, there's no denying the past 10 years the Big East has been the conference to beat. Now with PITT, Syracuse and WVU leaving for greener pastures (in football) it's hard to say what will happen to Big East Basketball. But to answer your question the best part of playing Basketball in the Big East for me has been the competitiveness and the pure talent that was coming out of this conference. The fact that the Big East Tournament is as exciting as the NCAA Tournament speaks volumes. Although I won't miss the Big East in football, I think we'll all miss it in basketball.

[bonus] What is your prediction for the score of the Notre Dame - WVU game?

WVU 67 - ND 63 BOOM!

A big thanks to Bobby for stopping by and answering my Five Questions! Please stop by his blog and show him a little Big East Conference love!

Cheers ... and GO IRISH! Let's make it nine in a row!

And of course ... while I've got you here ... can I make one more shameless plug for votes. Please go to my profile, vote, and vote often!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

What a Long Strange Trip It Has Been

Here it is ... Challenge #8 in the "Biggest Fan of the Big East" contest! Our final challenge instructions are as follows: Recap your Volvo Biggest Fan of the Big East Experience.

And as the Grateful Dead sang ... what a long strange (AMAZING!) trip it has been!

I will admit, going into this, I never thought this was going to be quite the incredible experience that this truly has turned out to be, but I must say this has been one hell of a ride! Let me extend a HUGE thank you to Volvo and the Big East Conference for giving me this incredible opportunity!!

It all started back in October with our trip to New York City to attend Big East Basketball Media day. We got two all-expenses paid days in New York City. We got to attend Big East Basketball Media day, and rub elbows with the players and coaches. And I got a chance to catch up with a few college friends while I was there. I couldn't have asked for anything more ... well, except for a bit more sunshine!

Then, the challenges began!

Challenge #1 ... Build your Big East Basketball Dream team. This was fun for me because I really got to dig into what makes Big East Basketball great, and create a team that encapsulated the best of the best of Big East Basketball!

Challenge #2 ... Create the Ultimate Notre Dame Weekend. I think this was one of my favorite posts. I love to share places to see and things to do at my alma mater. And seeing as my friends have so lovingly given me the nickname the "Mayor of Notre Dame" I think I am just the person to tour you around Notre Dame!

[Grotto photo courtesy of Kathleen]

Challenge #3 ... Create the Ultimate Big East Road Trip. This post was fun for me to write, because I combined a road trip, in a nice shiny VOLVO, to three great Big East Schools that are also three of my all-time favorite cites ... Milwaukee, Chicago, and Pittsburgh. I just may have to make this road trip this summer! ... in my new Volvo?!

[Georgia O'Keeffe, Art Institute of Chicago]

Challenge #4 ... Customize a Volvo S60 with your school spirit. This post was a blast to write, and really let my school spirit creativity shine. There are a few Catholic references in this post that you may have missed if you are not Catholic, but I think this car would be a big seller amongst Notre Dame alum and fans!

Challenge #5 ... What are the best traditions for your Alma Mater and why? This post gave me a chance to share the Notre Dame traditions that most non-student Notre Dame fans may not have known about. Along with sharing some of my own personal stories. I know every Notre Dame fan knows the usual football/sports related traditions, but I did my best to touch on some of the not-so-known traditions of Notre Dame du lac.

Siegfried Slammers

And then came my Alma Mater weekend. I was very much looking forward to my Alma Mater weekend, but I had NO IDEA it would be the absolutely incredible weekend that it turned out to be. I was pretty psyched to be at Notre Dame to see number ranked Syracuse come to town. And I was fairly confident that this Irish team could beat Syracuse. But as the seconds of this game ticked down, and I could see history being made, I seriously had to pinch myself ... was this real?! The weekend is honestly my new best Notre Dame moment. I'm not sure that this one will be topped for a long time. I am so truly thankful to Volvo and the Big East Conference for making this all possible for me. Amazing.

[Photo courtesy of Matt Cashore]

Not to mention the amazing (AMAZING) folks at Notre Dame who helped me video document my weekend. I cannot thank you all enough either!!

Alma Mater Video #1

Alma Mater Video #2

Oh ... and did I mention ... they got me on the JUMBO TRON!!!

Challenge #6 ... What are your favorite places to watch your team when you can't be at your hometown arena (for me … The Purcell Pavilion)? This post was great because I got to share the fun places that we head out to when we watch Notre Dame Basketball. And of course, where else would you want to be to watch Big East Basketball other than Madison Square Garden!? Duh!!

Challenge #7 ... Please make a blog post about your opinion of the following:

10 Best Big East Basketball Moments of all time
10 Best Big East Basketball Teams of all time
10 Best Big East Basketball Players of all time

This post was quite a challenge indeed, but I had a blast writing it. There are so many great players, teams, and moments in the Big East Conference. It is extremely difficult to narrow it down to ten in each category. But I had a great time putting it all together!

And here we are, almost at the end of the road! Once again, I'd like to thank Volvo and the Big East Conference for making all of these wonderful experiences possible for me. This is definitely an experience I will not likely soon forget!

Of course ... while I've got you here ... can I make one more shameless plug for votes. Please go to my profile, vote, and vote often!!

Thank you again, to all of my blog readers and Twitter followers, for all of your support over the last several months. You have all been absolutely amazing. Thank you! When I win the Volvo S60 ... you can all have a ride!

I would also like to mention how absolutely wonderful my fellow contestants have been. It has been really fun [and entertaining] getting to know this awesome group of bloggers, and I know that I will keep in touch with many of them for years to come!

[Here is the motley crew!]

Okay, I guess that's it! I hope that you all have enjoyed coming along with me for this ride, and thank you ... once again ... for all of your support!!


Friday, February 17, 2012

Five Questions: Villanova

As we head down the stretch towards the Big East Tournament, the next school in my Five Questions series is Villanova! My fellow "Biggest Fan of the Big East" contestant Miguel "Miggy" Gutierrez, from the blog Out of Bounds, has agreed to stop by and answer my five questions. Thanks Miggy!

What team are you most looking forward to playing in Big East play?

Georgetown…you ask any Villanova fan and they will tell you Georgetown is our biggest Big East rival hands down…always an thrilling and excruciating game to watch when these two teams meet…not to mention (at the moment) this is the last ranked opponent Villanova has scheduled (besides Notre Dame), so a win against the Hoyas this year would give more meaning since Nova has yet to win a game against a ranked foe. G’town’s rep in our Volvo Big East contest, Stephanie (@YouGotSnowd) will be there for her Alma Mater weekend, and while I hope the rest of her trip goes smoothly, my wish is for the Wildcats to leave there with a victory.

What is the biggest improvement Nova has made this year from last year?

Well, the question is not easy to answer considering our struggles throughout this entire year overshadow the late-season collapse of last year…in fact our numbers show that in almost every category, we are doing worse than in last season, from field-goal % and 3-pointers to assists, steals, blocks and opponents’ points allowed (among last in both the conference and the entire country this year). One could look at all of these numbers and understand why the team is not performing to expectations. That said, there have been some improvements that the team has made this year. Among them is the fact that the Wildcats are among the leaders in rebounds per game this year (first in conference, ninth in nation). Oddly that “Guard U” would carry such a distinction, but with six players averaging at least four (ok, Cheek is now down to 3.9…) rebounds a game, the statistic is justified. Although every Villanova team is taught to hustle for every play, this mark shows that they at least want to make up for their particular shooting woes this year. Furthermore, these Wildcats players understand that have not been forcing opponents to turn the ball over; therefore, the team must limit teams to one shot each possession.

Strangely enough, another improvement that this year’s Wildcats have made from last year is limiting their turnovers. Yes, Villanova has given up the rock twenty times in two of their last three games, but compared to last year’s abysmal ranking (304th overall last year), this year’s team has held their giveaways in check (126th in time of writing).

Who is your favorite player on the team?

JayVaughn Pinkson: Just watch this guy from the moment he steps on the court and you can immediately sense the intensity and tenacity he brings to the table. Villanova followers do remember he was not allowed to play last year due to “disciplinary issues”; however; it seems he has learned to put that incident past him and perform at each game. During Media Day, Coach Wright has stated that JVP would be the biggest surprise to watch this year (granted, he said this last season too…), but to his credit, Pinkston has lived to the hype. It seems he has risen to the occasion even when Big East play started, averaging 12.8 points during conference play (9.6 ppg for season). Along with the improved scoring, JVP has added a defensive presence the team desperately needed: before the USF meltdown, Pinkston averaged 10 rebounds while adding a block and steal each game since almost a month ago versus Seton Hall (7 games). He relieved some of the pressure the team has placed on Mouphtaou Yarou, a player who has struggled lately, to be the interior force. I recall talking to a few NBA scouts after the Mizzouri game, and when asking who impressed them the most from Villanova, each gave Pinkston as their answer. “The man is strong, athletic, hustles and can flat out play,” one scout said, “I would love to see him when he fully reaches his potential.” Hopefully, he, along with the rest of the team, can reach their capabilities and prove once again why they are a team to fear playing.

Here are some JayVaughn Pinkson highlights from the Blue & White Scrimmage game:

What quiet player will become a standout player before the year is over?

James Bell: Bell is one of the better spot shooters in the team, and does lead the Wildcats in 3pt% (35.8%), yet he is only fifth on the team in scoring at 7.5 ppg. Although a sophomore, he looked tentative early in the season, not sure how he should be contributing for Villanova. In fact, when Big East play started, it took him until Syracuse (five games into conference play) to start taking his three-pointers again. That said, Bell has already started to pick up the pace, hitting double-digit points in five of his last seven games, along with an increase in rebounds (career-high 13 versus Louisville) and steals (1.4 avg in that seven game span). It seems that he realized to continue taking his shots (albeit, the USF game being the outlier of this recent trend); he has been taking good shots all year and at least now he is trusting they will start going in. This is important since the team is still looking for someone to help Wayns in the scoring department consistently (especially now with his injury). Yarou has been fading a bit and Pinkston gives the team an interior force, but Villanova needs a Corey Stokes-type, an outside threat, to ease opponents’ interior defense. If other teams have to respect an outside shooter, it allows Wayns to penetrate easier and the big men to find less pressure when getting the ball inside. I believe Bell will learn to become that complimentary offensive threat.

What is the best part about playing in the Big East?

You never know what will happen each season, or even each game. Up and down the entire conference, there are no days off here, no days where you could be comfortable and relax. Every team is capable of beating each other any day; there is no other conference in the nation that could claim this every year. The fact the Big East has more than 100 bids (374) than any other conference is a testament to how strong this group is.

[Bonus] What is your prediction for the score of the Notre Dame - Nova game?

I don’t want to be winless this entire season when watching Villanova in person…probably going to be a second-half rally, again, in which I hope Nova wins 70-68!

Thanks again to Miggy from Out of Bounds, for stopping by and answering my Five Questions. Please take a moment and stop by his blog, and show him some Big East love!

And don't forget ... I still need votes ... help ... please!! :)


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What I Wore

I know, I do a lot of sports and music on this blog, but today I am in the need for a little something girlie. So if you are a guy, or you are not into fashion, today may be the day that you need to tune out!

Have you discovered this blog called "What I Wore, by Jessica Quirk?" I probably discovered this a year back, a tip from my friend Kristy, and I love, love, LOVE this blog. Not because I fancy myself as a fashionista, but because I think it is fun to see how someone else takes the same pieces and pairs them differently ... or how someone else uses an unusual piece ... or combine colors/patterns. I think that I have a pretty decent sense of fashion, but I am a very visual person, and so I get a lot of ideas from watching others. (Which is probably why I like Pinterest so much, too!)

Well anyways, don't take my word for it. If you are a fashion lover, like I am ... and a visual learner (or even if you are not a visual learner), take a trip over to Jessica's blog "What I Wore" and let me know what you think!

Here are a few snap shots, so that you can SEE what I am talking about!

One ...

Two ...

Three ...


And don't forget ... I still need votes ... help ... please!! :)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Two Princes

This week's edition of Retro Friday features the band The Spin Doctors, and the song Two Princes.

The Spin Doctors are an American alternative rock band formed in New York City, best known for their two early 1990s hits, "Two Princes," and "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong," which peaked the Billboard Hot 100 charts at #7 (Two Princes) & #17 (Little Miss Can't Be Wrong).

The current members of the band include Chris Barron on vocals, Eric Schenkman on guitar and vocals, Aaron Comess on drums and percussion, and Mark White on bass guitar.

The Spin Doctors began in the late 1980s in New York City, originally as a band called Trucking Company, which included Canadian guitarist Eric Schenkman, John Popper, and later Chris Barron, who was John Popper's Princeton, New Jersey high school friend. Popper left this side project to focus on his main gig with Blues Traveler full time. With a name change to Spin Doctors, as well as the addition of Aaron Comess and Mark White, the classic lineup was in place by the spring of 1989.

The Spin Doctors' debut studio album, Pocket Full of Kryptonite was released in August of 1991. The band played many live shows, gaining grassroots fans, as the album was mostly ignored commercially. In summer 1992, the band toured with the first lineup of the H.O.R.D.E. festival, sharing the stage with fellow jam bands Widespread Panic, Blues Traveler, and Phish. That summer, commercial popularity finally heated up, as radio and MTV began playing "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong" and "Two Princes." The album ended up going Gold in September of 1992, and then received another boost in sales after the band appeared on Saturday Night Live in October of 1992. Additional videos and singles followed for "What Time Is It," "How Could You Want Him (When You Know You Could Have Me?)," and "Jimmy Olsen's Blues." By June 1993, the album went Triple Platinum. In the end the album sold over five million copies in the United States and another five million overseas, and peaked at #3 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart.

"[Their] popularity is based on universal rock & roll virtues," said Rolling Stone Magazine, which put the band on the cover of its January 7, 1993 issue. "The Doctors aren't trying to blaze new trails. They know we've been down this way with the Stones, Curtis Mayfield, and a few of their other touchstones. But the proof—plenty of it—is in the party." The Spin Doctors also made an appearance on Sesame Street, singing a modified version of "Two Princes" that emphasized the importance of sharing.

I really loved this first album from the Spin Doctors. We didn't discover them until the spring of 1993, but this band played a pivotal roll in my memories of "Senior Week" ... the week between finals and Graduation. And so whenever I hear this song, I am immediately taken back to that week and the fun that we had! (Which shall not be mentioned!)

If you've never heard the Spin Doctors before ... here, take a listen! Enjoy!

Two Princes

Little Miss Can't Be Wrong

And a bonus ... Pocket Full of Kryptonite


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

My Garden 30

Well, the end of the road is nearing, and we've been given our second to the last challenge for the "Biggest Fan of the Big East" contest. And Challenge #7 is: The Big East wants your opinion for the Garden30 campaign. Please make a blog post about your opinion of the following:

10 Best Big East Basketball Moments of all time
10 Best Big East Basketball Teams of all time
10 Best Big East Basketball Players of all time

Quite a big task in my estimation, but a Volvo S60 is at stake, so I'll give it my college best!

So while I am still dreaming of riding in my Volvo S60 and those awesome heated seats, sit back and read my Garden 30!

Here are my 10 Best Big East Basketball Players of all time:
(For further detail regarding my reasoning behind my 10 Best Big East Basketball Players of all time, read my Big East Dream team blog post!)

(Oh, and by the way, have I asked you to vote lately?
Please ... vote!!)

Here is my list of the best of the best in the Big East. They are an all-star caliber group for sure. They range in skills and talents from highest in scoring points, rebounds, blocks, and steals. All-star players on both sides of the ball, defense & offense. The best players in clutch situations and down the stretch. And of course record setting, championship and MVP winning players, and Rookie of the Year recipients. My list includes the following 10 players:

10. Carmelo Anthony, Forward, Syracuse(2002-2003)

9. Kemba Walker, Guard, Connecticut (2008-2011)

8. Khalid El-Amin, Guard, Connecticut (1998-2000)

7. Rashad Anderson, Guard/Forward, Connecticut (2002-2006)

6. Alonzo Mourning, Center, Georgetown (1988-1992)

5. Chris Mullin, Guard/Forward, St. Johns (1981-1985)

4. Allen Iverson, Guard, Georgetown (1994-1996)

3. Reggie Williams, Forward, Georgetown (1983-1987)

2. David Wingate, Guard, Georgetown (1982-1986)

1. Patrick Ewing, Center, Georgetown (1981-1985)

Next up is my list of Top 10 Teams of all time in Big East Basketball. They are not in order of importance, because they all were outstanding teams. Instead I have them listed chronologically by date!

10. Connecticut (2004); Coach Jim Calhoun; Record 33-6.
Season Finish: National champions; defeated Georgia Tech, 82-73.

9. Syracuse (2003); Coach Jim Boeheim; Record 30-5.
Season Finish: National champions; defeated Kansas, 81-78, in New Orleans.

8. Connecticut (1999); Coach Jim Calhoun; Record 34-2.
Season Finish: National champions; defeated Duke, 77-74.

7. Seton Hall (1989); Coach P.J. Carlesimo; Record 31-7.
Season Finish: National runner up; lost to Michigan, 80-79, in overtime.

6. Syracuse (1987); Coach Jim Boeheim; Record 30-7.
Season Finish: National runner up; lost to Indiana, 74-73.

5. Georgetown (1985); Coach John Thompson Jr.; Record 35-3.
Season Finish: NCAA runner up; lost to Villanova, 66-64, in the championship game.

4. St. John's (1985); Coach Lou Carnesecca; Record 31-4.
Season Finish: National semifinals; lost to Georgetown, 77-59.

3. Villanova (1985); Coach Rollie Massimino; Record 25-10.
Season Finish: National champions; defeated Georgetown, 66-64.

2. Georgetown (1984); Coach John Thompson Jr; Record 34-3.
Season Finish: National champions; defeated Houston, 84-75.

1. Georgetown (1982); Coach John Thompson Jr.; Record 30-7.
Season Finish: National runner up, losing to North Carolina, 63-62, in the title game.

And now my 10 Best Moments in Big East Basketball. This was a bit more challenging, and I'm sure I missed something BIG .. but here's my take at it! And remember, these are also in no particular order, as there is no way to really rank these. Oh, and some of them are WINNING moments, and some are NOT!

(Photo above from 1992 Big East Championship Game)

10. Villanova upsets Georgetown, 1985 National Title Game:
George Mason captured the heart of America in 2006, but there hasn't been a more surprising run through the NCAA tournament than the one by the 1985 Villanova Wildcats. With the expansion of the tournament to 64 teams, Rollie Massimino led his team into the Big Dance as a No. 8 seed. After beating top-seeded Michigan and No. 2 seed North Carolina 'Nova won the Southeast Region, and continued on its way into the final game against Patrick Ewing and the ever-imposing Georgetown Hoyas. But in what would be one of the greatest shooting performances in NCAA history, Villanova made over 75 percent of its shots to shock the Hoyas and capture the national title.

9. Michael Jordan’s shot and Fred Brown’s pass:
After 21 seasons of coaching North Carolina basketball, Dean Smith had yet to win a national championship. That all changed with the help of a star freshman from Wilmington, N.C. As North Carolina trailed by one point in the 1982 national championship game, Michael Jordan knocked down a jumper from the left wing with 17 seconds remaining on the clock to put his team back up by one. But unlike North Carolina, Georgetown decided not to call a timeout, and pushed the ball up court. With the pressure rising and the game clock ticking down, Georgetown point guard Fred Brown mistook James Worthy for a teammate, and passed the ball right to his opponent ... handing the title to Smith and the Tar Heels.

8. Keith Smart’s game-winning shot:
Sometimes a player can become immortalized in college basketball history with just one monumental game. For Keith Smart, it took just one shot. Smart was never highly touted as a high school basketball player or at Indiana, but the 1987 national championship game changed his life forever. With the Hoosiers trailing Syracuse by 1 point, and a mere 10 seconds remaining on the clock, Smart swished a 16-foot jumper along the baseline to lift Indiana to its fifth national title. While Smart’s NBA career was short-lived, “The Shot” would soon become one of March Madness’ most memorable moments.

7. 1990 Connecticut-Clemson:
With precisely one second left (yes, ONE), Connecticut guard Tate George catches a full-court pass from Scott Burrell, and then squares up to shoot a jumper that goes in the basket RIGHT at the buzzer to give the Huskies a miraculous 71-70 win over the Clemson Tigers and send Connecticut to their first ever Elite Eight.

6. 1989 Michigan-Seton Hall:
Assistant coach Steve Fisher took over the head coaching duties at Michigan right before the tournament began in 1989, following the firing of head coach Bill Frieder. Coach Frieder was fired over accepting the head coaching job at Arizona State, and subsequently Steve Fisher leads the Wolverines to the national championship. Michigan point guard Rumeal Robinson nailed the game-winning free throw with a mere three seconds to play in overtime, and after a controversial foul, to give the Wolverines an 80-79 victory over the Seton Hall Pirates.

5. 1981 Second Round:
The craziest single day in NCAA tournament history occurred in the second round of the 1981 NCAA tournament. The top two ranked teams in the country and the defending national champions were all eliminated by last-second shots in the same afternoon. First ... #1 ranked DePaul, who was the Mideast Region’s top seed, was knocked off by St. Joseph’s when John Smith makes the game-winning layup with three seconds left for a 49-48 victory. (Then, #2 ranked Oregon State, the 1 seed in the West Region, was stunned by Kansas State when Rolando Blackmon makes a 16-foot jumper from the right corner with two seconds left on the clock to give the Wildcats a 50-48 win.) But perhaps the most remarkable event of this day occurred in the Midwest Regional match up between Arkansas and Louisville, the defending national champions, when Razorback U.S. Reed makes a buzzer beater from beyond half court, giving Arkansas a 74-73 victory over the Cardinals.

4. 2006 George Mason-Connecticut:
In 2006, #11 seed George Mason completed its Cinderella run to the Final Four as they rallied from a nine-point deficit in the second half of their East Regional Final against Connecticut to hold off the top-seeded Huskies in overtime for a 86-84 win. This win made George Mason only the second #11 seed to reach the Final Four. During their memorable run, George Mason knocked off Michigan State, North Carolina, Wichita State, and Connecticut.

3. 2002 Double Overtime Thriller between Pitt & Connecticut:
In 2002 Pitt and Connecticut face each other in the final game of the Big East Tournament. A double-overtime thriller that was ended when Taliek Brown nailed a 30-foot three-point shot with only 34.8 seconds remaining to lift Connecticut to a 74-65 victory over seventh-ranked Pittsburgh at Madison Square Garden.

2. 1992 - The Most Closely Played Championship:
In 1992, the Big East Conference played its 10th straight postseason championship tournament in a sold-out Madison Square Garden. The 10th tournament also was the most closely played ever. From the quarterfinals through the title game, only one game was won by more than five points. Syracuse won the tournament by defeating Villanova 55-52 in the quarterfinals, Seton Hall 70-66 in the semifinals and Georgetown 56-54 in the championship game.

1. 1996 - Ray Allen's Game Winner:
In one of the most exciting Big East Championship games in the history of the tournament to date, Connecticut captured its second conference tournament title courtesy of Ray Allen's running basket which put the Huskies ahead for good, 75-74 over Georgetown, with just 13 seconds left on the clock. The Huskies put together a 10-0 run, with eight straight coming from Kirk King to come back from an 11-point deficit in the final four minutes. Ray Allen's game-winning shot, guarded by Georgetown's Allen Iverson, was the only field goal he made in the second half. (Video Highlights)

If you want to weigh in and share your Garden 30 ... head on over to the Big East web site where they are celebrating 30 years at Madison Square Gardens, and chime in with YOUR Garden 30! Join the conversation!


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