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
- She's been part of all 7 #ndwbb Final Four teams and on Monday, @IrishCoachIvey earned a new title - associate coach: und.com/sports/w-baskb… 2 hours ago
- RT @alipaige_14: It really hit me today that I am going to be playing for my country...🇺🇸🏀 7 hours ago
- Wonder what an ND degree and playing for #ndwbb can do for you? Just ask Dava Newman, NASA's deputy administrator: technologyreview.com/article/538556… … 7 hours ago
- HUGE performances by @SkyDigg4 with 31 pts and @jewellloyd with 21pts! @SkyDigg4 and @TulsaShock continue their winning streak to 8-1💚 20 hours ago
- RT @kwshipp: Thanks to @ndwbb for hosting a great team camp. 🍀 #GOIRISH 20 hours ago
Men’s Basketball on YouTube
- DJ STARS AT #SC30Select. One of just FOUR college guards invited to @StephenCurry30's camp in California, DJ shines. http://t.co/EhkzY5Ay49 4 hours ago
- ENTOURAGE! #HugItOut #NDinNBA twitter.com/jerryferrara/s… 1 day ago
- ONE YEAR AGO: Our alums won the inaugural @thetournament to claim the $500,000 prize & donated $100,000 to charity. http://t.co/3lwvLlr4ya 1 day ago
- RT @FightingIrish: 2 sports. 4 draft picks. Solid week for @NDmbb & @NDHockey. Congrats, Jerian, Pat, Christian & Dennis! http://t.co/rv… 2 days ago
- RT @CoachBrianKelly: From my alma mater, St. John's Prep, to ND to the NBA! Pretty cool to see Pat Connaughton drafted Thursday #NDinNBA … 3 days ago
- Baseball. Seven Baseball Standouts Earn All-ACC Academic Team Honors
- W. Basketball. Niele Ivey Promoted To Associate Womenâ€™s Basketball Coach
- W. Rowing. Kottkamp Top ACC Scholar-Athlete For Second Straight Year
- Track. Irish Alums Wrap Weekend At USATF Championships
- M. Ice Hockey. Fischer, Gilbert Taken in NHL Draft