Mar 12, 2013, 2:38 PM EDT
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 @FightingIrish: SPOTTED! @NDwbb and @NDFootball at Alumni Stadium for @NDSoccer vs UNC. #ComeByAlumni #IrishOn3 9 hours ago
- Thankyou to Welsh Family Hall for including us & the YWCA in their Kiss-A-Pig charity event today! #NDfam #givingback http://t.co/WC5YeL43MF 9 hours ago
- GAME DAY for our ND women's soccer team! We need everybody to #ComeByAlumni at 7pm to support!! #NDvUNC http://t.co/rj8JzawxHG 17 hours ago
- In #USABWNT's 2nd exhibition game, @SkyDigg4 & @kaymac_2123 will face China... NOW! (10am ET) Live stats available: fibalivestats.com/matches/3886/1… 19 hours ago
- RT @NDCoachCheek: .@ndwbb conditioning today was lights-out-stellar. My jump shot however, was not. 1 day ago
Men’s Basketball on YouTube
- Coach Brey took in the @NASCAR race at @ChicagolndSpdwy with 1990 alum @Scott_Paddock - relive the day. CLICK: fightingirish.tumblr.com/post/977318931… 🏁🍀🏀 3 days ago
- RT @NDMenSoccer: We’ll be on North & South Quad today from 11am-1pm signing @LepLegion teams up for our @GrassrootSoccer Lose the Shoes tou… 3 days ago
- Get to know one of our new frosh's - Matt Farrell (@MattyFarr3) - CLICK HERE: fightingirish.tumblr.com/post/976471937… 🍀🏀🍀 4 days ago
- RT @NASCAR47: .@NotreDame Men's Basketball coach @NDMikeBrey visits with @AJDinger in the #47 hauler. #DINGERNATION http://t.co/q0X4m5WlZc 5 days ago
- RT @TheMikeBagley: Hanging with Notre Dame Men's BBall Coach Mike Brey in the @ChicagolndSpdwy Cup Garage http://t.co/lZL4pibcDQ 5 days ago
- W. Volleyball. No. 11 Purdue Takes Down Notre Dame, 3-0
- M. Tennis. Men's Tennis Continues Play At Fighting Illini Invitational And Farnsworth Ivy Invitational
- W. Soccer. #18/12 Irish Drop 2OT Heartbreaker To #9/8 North Carolina, 3-2
- M. Ice Hockey. IRISH EXTRA: Blackhawk's Stephen Johns Feeling Right At Home At Notre Dame
- M. Golf. Irish Set For First Windon Memorial Classic Appearance Since 2004