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!
Oh, and one more shameless plug for me ... if you have yet to cast your vote for Biggest Fan of the Big East, please head on over to my profile and cast a vote for me! (See cheat sheet below!) Thanks!
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