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 @NDsidMasters: Congrats to @ndwbb @AP All-Americans @jloyd32 (1st team-unanimous), @LA_Cruisen and @_Breezy_Briii (honorable mention) 1 hour ago
- #NDWBB fans: we're still dancing! On Sunday (6:30pm ET) we will face South Carolina in our 5th straight Final Four! http://t.co/o1E8SKfVMQ 1 hour ago
- RT @NDsidMasters: .@ndwbb to face South Carolina in @NCAAWomensBKB Final Four at 6:30 pm ET Sunday (live on ESPN/WatchESPN; listen on @puls… 14 hours ago
- At 8 pm ET on ESPN2, watch @McDAAG Powerade Jam Fest 3pt shootout/skills challenge including our very own @mmabrey1 @Arike_O @alipaige_14 18 hours ago
- RT @pennmom86: @ndwbb shout out to these girls for making a young fan's day! #rolemodels http://t.co/TnYUBDCLso 18 hours ago
Men’s Basketball on YouTube
- GOT IT! How many will he hit in @CollegeSLAM 3pt contest? (4/2 ESPN 7pm) Pat's hit 268 career 3⃣'s in his 🍀 career. http://t.co/M2HPuVUMwR 2 hours ago
- What a day for Jerian on the National Stage! 👓 | WOODEN All-American Team ✏️ | AP 1st-Team 👔 | NABC 1st-Team http://t.co/L0l2g6c7nE 17 hours ago
- RT @GovChristie: Congratulations @ThatGrant22 on being named AP 1st team All-American. You've made all fans of @NDmbb very proud! 20 hours ago
- Go ahead and add AP FIRST-TEAM ALL-AMERICAN to J's resume. Congrats Jerian! 🍀🏀🍀 http://t.co/YprwjRyLPx 1 day ago
- The honors keep rolling in for "J" Congrats on being named an NABC First-Team All-American. #NotDoneYet http://t.co/866f2jHri1 1 day ago