Mar 12, 2013, 2:38 PM EST
What had long been speculated became official this morning: Notre Dame will play in the Atlantic Coast Conference next season.
This is it. In every practical sense, today marks the start of the final BIG EAST tournament.
Sure, the Catholic 7/new BIG EAST will continue the tradition, but it won’t be the same. Not without Syracuse and Pittsburgh. Not without Notre Dame and Louisville.
It’s like that final scene in The Sandlot, where Smalls talks about everyone moving away. The park where he and Squints, Yeah Yeah, Ham Porter, Benny The Jet and the rest of the gang spent summer after summer was still there, but slowly, it became part of the past – a fond memory to look back on, but never quite the same.
For the BIG EAST, that ball field is Madison Square Garden.
It’s a venue that has hosted everything from national political conventions and boxing matches to track meets and sold-out concerts, not to mention the thousands of basketball and hockey games that the Knicks, Rangers and a host of other teams have played at the storied stage in midtown Manhattan.
The Concert for New York City, the NBA Draft, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus – the list goes on, and on, and on. I suppose that’s why they call it The World’s Most Famous Arena.
Year in and year out, five consecutive days of basketball, countless exciting contests and incredible late-game heroics.
The distinguished blue and orange court, the creak of the famous freight elevator, and the aroma of popcorn and beer – albeit stale – among the great sights, sounds and smells of an arena that has forgotten more memorable moments than any of us have ever even seen.
Truthfully, leaving MSG behind might not be a bad thing for Notre Dame. The Irish are 56-47 all-time in the arena, but just 1-4 in their last five trips. Anyone who’s been down on the court can tell you it just feels unlike any other venue. The lighting is different, and The Garden rims haven’t always been kind to the blue & gold.
There’s no doubt Notre Dame will return to the old arena near 33rd and 8th. It may be next year, perhaps the year after. But never again, will it do so for the BIG EAST tournament.
I guess that’s some added incentive to make a run at Saturday night.
It all starts tomorrow at 9:00 pm ET on ESPN2 against the winner of Tuesday’s DePaul/Rutgers game.
About In The Paint
Women’s Basketball on YouTube
- RT @NDsidMasters: .@ndwbb faces Holy Cross in Hall of Fame Women's Challenge opener Sunday at 5 p.m. (ET) - live on @WatchND/@pulsefm: http… 12 hours ago
- Senior Day for @NDFootball! Congratulations, good luck, and #GoIrish! 🍀💚🏈 #NDFamily 14 hours ago
- Happy birthday to our alums @NatAchon and @NatalieNovosel! Have a great birthday!!! 🍀🍀🍀💚💚💚🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉 20 hours ago
- Great team win tonight at the Purcell Pavilion! Freshman @mycoool_ showed out on her birthday with 17pnts! 🍀🏀 http://t.co/0eU0eHgo6e 1 day ago
- Mike hits the jumper for Big Macs!!! 1 day ago
Men’s Basketball on YouTube
- QUICK HIGHLIGHTS ND 81 - UMass 68 instagram.com/p/vt80RzQiWh/ 11 hours ago
- RT @JackCooligan45: I just woke up, thus solidifying my confidence in @NDmbb and their ability to win today. In all seriousness, those boys… 13 hours ago
- RT @JBrooksLovesU: Love seeing the growth and maturity from Zach, J and Pat 2day, all of them setting the tone w their leadership @NDmbb aw… 13 hours ago
- RT @JonRothstein: Jerian Grant with another stellar performance for Notre Dame --- 24 (10-13 FGs) and 8 assists as Irish beat UMass. One of… 13 hours ago
- ND (4-0) 81 - UMass (3-1) 68 FINAL Stats: http://t.co/U7Pryu4KMM 14 hours ago
- Fencing. Notre Dame Finishes Day One of Penn State Open With Three Medalists
- Football. Notre Dame Football vs. Louisville Postgame Quotes
- Football. Notre Dame vs. Louisville- Postgame Notes
- Football. Irish Fall to Louisville, 31-28
- W. Soccer. #12/11 Clash With #5 Texas A&M In NCAA Championship Third Round Sunday