The NFC Big East

Feb. 12, 2012

The NFC BIG EAST

When last we met (contra the fight song, it hasn’t been so long), I noted the role of the I-95/Northeast Corridor as the traditional backbone of the BIG EAST.  If anything, that looks to become even moreso the case in the immediate future, as the pending departures of Pittsburgh and Syracuse eliminate the conference’s two most successful non-I-95 programs (Louisville, with two NCAA titles, might best both of those two, but it is still a relative newcomer to the league).

Zooming in a bit further, we find an extensive history of rivalry and accomplishment tying together teams from Washington, Philadelphia, and New York – Georgetown, Villanova, and St. John’s, respectively.  The apotheosis of this legacy is, of course, the 1985 Final Four, the only time in NCAA tournament history when three teams from the same conference made it to the penultimate round.  Insofar as Memphis’s status as the fourth semifinalist was subsequently vacated due to use of ineligible players, it would be technically correct to say that this triumvirate comprised an all-BIG EAST Final Four.  It is doubtful that we will ever see such an occurrence again in our lifetimes (full disclosure: the 1985 Final Four was not in my lifetime).

The hometowns of these programs are also linked through their collective membership in the NFL’s NFC East division, where the Redskins, Eagles, and Giants have their own long and storied track record of rivalry.  Sure, the Redskins technically no longer call DC home, but, then, Villanova is not in Philadelphia proper either.  The basketball gods’ sense of irony is on display in the ongoing conference realignment merry-go-round, as in 2013 the “NFC East” grouping of BIG EAST programs will be complete with the addition of Dallas-based Southern Methodist University.  How ‘bout them…Mustangs?

We will turn our attention to Villanova – and, eventually, SMU – in due time.  For now, the focus is squarely on the Johnnies from Jamaica.  It hasn’t been so long since last we met them, either, with a 69-49 Hoya triumph in Madison Square Garden coming less than a month ago, on the 15th of January.  The Red Storm rang up a big fat goose egg from behind the arc in that game, going 0-for-10 from three point range and shooting a cover-your-eyes awful 31.5% for the game.  St. John’s do-everything freshman forward Moe Harkless fouled out of that game, hacking Georgetown center Henry Sims on consecutive possessions to earn himself a one-way trip to the bench. That was the final dagger for the Johnnies, already overmatched in the face of a 20-point second-half explosion from Hollis Thompson, a 15-point, 8-rebound, 8-assist scoresheet stuff-fest from Jason Clark, and a double-double from freshman phenom Otto Porter.

In truth, though, that game was much closer than the final score indicated.  St. John’s led or was tied for much of the first half, and they had pulled to within a three-point margin, at 48-45, at the 6:15 mark of the vesper half.™*  The Johnnies also own wins over Cincinnati and West Virginia, two teams that defeated the Hoyas.  They stayed within 7 points of Duke in Durham as well.  This may be an incredibly young and thoroughly depleted team – Malik Stith, the final returning player from last season’s team, left the team right before the last game – but it remains a dangerous one.  Much like the NFC East, where the woeful Redskins twice defeated the Super Bowl champion Giants this season, no game can be taken for granted in the BIG EAST.

A series as longstanding as Georgetown/St. John’s will have inevitably produced its share of memorable moments.  In the years that I have been a Hoya fan, however, the Red Storm have largely been stuck in rebuilding mode.  What comes to mind when I think of this rivalry is therefore not a pivotal, decisive moment or a #1 vs. #2 national showdown.  Instead, it is a moment in the waning seconds of the meeting in January 2008, when hard-working walk-on Bryon Jansen entered the game and drilled a three-pointer under the lights of MSG as time expired.  That basket brought a louder cheer than any other from Hoya fans and players alike and even drew a smile from coach John Thompson III.  It was a special, feel-good moment.  Here’s hoping that something along those lines is in store for the February 12, 2012 collision – preferably also with the Hoyas up double digits.

Dmitriy Zakharov (F’09, G’09)
Proud Member of Generation Jansen


*”Vesper half” is a registered trademark of Hoyas Win! x 20 Incorporated, a Dr. Rich Chvotkin Company.

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Schedules

April 19
W, 4-3
George Mason
Fairfax, Va.
RECAP
April 19
W, 7-0
George Mason
Fairfax, Va.
RECAP
April 20
L, 6-3
St. Johns
Queens, N.Y.
RECAP

ESPN3
Watch
April 20
All Day
Virginia Challenge
Charlottesville, Va.
April 20
All Day
Virginia Challenge
Charlottesville, Va.
April 20
1st of 6
BIG EAST Championships
Callawassie Island Clubhouse; Callawassie, S.C.
RECAP

Live Scoring

BIG EAST Day 1 Get Acrobat Reader

April 21
1:00 PM
St. Johns
Queens, N.Y.
April 21
12:00 PM
Villanova
Philadelphia, Pa.

Live Stats
Watch
April 21
2:00 PM
Villanova
Philadelphia, Pa.

Live Stats
Watch
April 21
TBA
Clemson
Winston-Salem, N.C.
April 21
12:00 PM
George Washington
Washington, D.C.
April 21
10:00 AM
Villanova
Washington, D.C.
April 21
12:00 PM
Marquette
Cooper Field

BEDN
Watch
April 21
2:00 PM
Villanova
Washington, D.C.
April 21
3:00 PM
NJIT
Cooper Field
April 21
All Day
Virginia Challenge
Charlottesville, Va.
April 21
All Day
BIG EAST Championships
Callawassie Island Clubhouse; Callawassie, S.C.

Live Scoring
April 21
All Day
Class of 2006 Cup vs. Princeton
Princeton, N.J.

Video
9:00 a.m. - First Varsity Eight (Class of 2006 Cup)
9:15 a.m. - Varsity Four
9:30 a.m. - Second Varsity Eight
9:45 a.m. - Third Varsity Eight
April 21
All Day
MAISA Womens Championship
Norfolk, Va.
April 21
All Day
Penn & Princeton
Princeton, N.J.

Video
10:30 a.m. - Third Varsity Eight
10:45 a.m. - Second Varsity Eight
11:00 a.m. - First Varsity Eight (Wood-Hammond Trophy)
April 21
All Day
Arrigan Memorial Regatta
Washington, D.C.
April 21
All Day
Cherry Hill Invitational
Camden, N.J.

Varsity Eight (Event 1)
7:30 a.m. - Heat 1

Second Varsity Eight (Event 2)
7:50 a.m. - Heat 1

Varsity Four (Event 3)
8:10 a.m. - Heat 1

Second Varsity Four (Event 4)
8:30 a.m. - Heat 1
April 21
All Day
Virginia Challenge
Charlottesville, Va.
April 22
1:00 PM
St. Johns
Queens, N.Y.

ESPN3
Watch
April 22
12:00 PM
Villanova
Philadelphia, Pa.

Live Stats
Watch
April 22
All Day
BIG EAST Championships
Callawassie Island Clubhouse; Callawassie, S.C.

Live Scoring
April 22
All Day
Arrigan Memorial Regatta
Washington, D.C.
April 22
All Day
MAISA Womens Championship
Norfolk, Va.
April 24
7:00 PM
George Washington
Shirley Povich Field
April 25
3:00 PM
Loyola Maryland
Cooper Field
April 26
TBA
First Round
Cayce, S.C.
April 26
All Day
Penn Relays
Philadelphia, Pa.
April 26
TBA
First Round
Cayce, S.C.
April 26
All Day
Penn Relays
Philadelphia, Pa.
April 27
7:30 PM
Creighton
Omaha, Neb.
April 27
All Day
Penn Relays
Philadelphia, Pa.
April 27
All Day
Penn Relays
Philadelphia, Pa.
April 27
TBA
Quarterfinals
Cayce, S.C.
April 27
TBA
Quarterfinals
Cayce, S.C.
April 28
7:30 PM
Creighton
Omaha, Neb.
April 28
1:00 PM
Creighton
Omaha, Neb.
April 28
3:00 PM
Creighton
Omaha, Neb.
April 28
1:00 PM
St. Johns
Queens, N.Y.

BEDN
April 28
1:00 PM
Temple
Philadelphia, Pa.
April 28
All Day
Temple
Washington, D.C.
April 28
All Day
Penn Relays
Philadelphia, Pa.
April 28
All Day
Class of 2006 Cup vs. North Carolina
Lake Garner, N.C.
April 28
All Day
America Trophy
St. Mary's City, Md.
April 28
TBA
Semifinals
Cayce, S.C.
April 28
All Day
Cornell & Penn
Ithaca, N.Y.
April 28
All Day
Penn Relays
Philadelphia, Pa.
April 28
TBA
Semifinals
Cayce, S.C.
April 29
1:00 PM
Creighton
Omaha, Neb.

BEDN
April 29
TBA
Creighton
Omaha, Neb.
April 29
TBA
Championship
Cayce, S.C.
April 29
All Day
America Trophy
St. Mary's City, Md.
April 29
All Day
Dartmouth
Hanover, N.H.
April 29
TBA
Championship
Cayce, S.C.
April 29
All Day
BIG EAST Championships
Callawassie Golf Club - Callawassie Island, S.C.
April 29
All Day
Eastern Sprints
Worcester, Mass.
April 30
All Day
BIG EAST Championships
Callawassie Golf Club - Callawassie Island, S.C.
May 1
7:00 PM
Mount St. Marys
Shirley Povich Field
May 1
All Day
BIG EAST Championships
Callawassie Golf Club - Callawassie Island, S.C.
May 3
TBA
BIG EAST Semifinals
Villanova, Pa.
May 4
7:00 PM
Villanova
Shirley Povich Field
May 4
All Day
Kehoe Twilight Meet
College Park, Md.
May 4
All Day
Kehoe Twilight Meet
College Park, Md.
May 5
7:00 PM
Villanova
Shirley Povich Field
May 5
12:00 PM
Seton Hall
Nats Academy
May 5
2:00 PM
Seton Hall
Nats Academy
May 5
TBA
BIG EAST Championship
Villanova, Pa.
May 6
1:00 PM
Villanova
Shirley Povich Field
May 6
12:00 PM
Seton Hall
Nats Academy
May 9
5:00 PM
Maryland Eastern Shore 7 innings
Shirley Povich Field
May 9
7:30 PM
Maryland Eastern Shore 7 innings
Shirley Povich Field
May 11
4:00 PM
Butler
Indianapolis, Ind.
May 11
All Day
Patriot League Championships
Camden, N.J.
May 11
All Day
BIG EAST Championships
Geneva, Ohio
May 11
All Day
BIG EAST Championships
Geneva, Ohio
May 12
2:00 PM
Butler
Indianapolis, Ind.
May 12
All Day
BIG EAST Championships
Geneva, Ohio
May 12
All Day
BIG EAST Championships
Geneva, Ohio
May 13
1:00 PM
Butler
Indianapolis, Ind.

BEDN
May 13
All Day
Eastern Sprints
Worcester, Mass.
May 15
7:00 PM
UMBC
Shirley Povich Field
May 17
7:00 PM
Seton Hall
Shirley Povich Field
May 18
4:00 PM
Seton Hall
Shirley Povich Field
May 19
1:00 PM
Seton Hall
Shirley Povich Field
May 22
All Day
ICSA Womens National Championships
Norfolk, Va.
May 23
All Day
ICSA Womens National Championships
Norfolk, Va.
May 24
All Day
ICSA Womens National Championships
Norfolk, Va.
May 24
All Day
NCAA East Preliminary Championships
Tampa, Fla.
May 24
All Day
NCAA East Preliminary Championships
Tampa, Fla.
May 25
All Day
ICSA Womens National Championships
Norfolk, Va.
May 25
All Day
NCAA Championships
Sarasota, Fla.
May 25
All Day
NCAA East Preliminary Championships
Tampa, Fla.
May 25
All Day
NCAA East Preliminary Championships
Tampa, Fla.
May 26
All Day
NCAA East Preliminary Championships
Tampa, Fla.
May 26
All Day
NCAA East Preliminary Championships
Tampa, Fla.
May 26
All Day
NCAA Championships
Sarasota, Fla.
May 26
All Day
ICSA Team Race National Championships
Norfolk, Va.
May 27
All Day
ICSA Team Race National Championships
Norfolk, Va.
May 27
All Day
NCAA Championships
Sarasota, Fla.
May 28
All Day
ICSA Team Race National Championships
Norfolk, Va.
May 29
All Day
ICSA Coed National Championships
Norfolk, Va.
May 30
All Day
ICSA Coed National Championships
Norfolk, Va.
May 31
All Day
ICSA Coed National Championships
Norfolk, Va.
June 1
All Day
IRA National Championships
West Windsor, N.J.
June 1
All Day
ICSA Coed National Championships
Norfolk, Va.
June 1
All Day
IRA National Championships
Mercer Lake, N.J.
June 2
All Day
IRA National Championships
West Windsor, N.J.
June 2
All Day
IRA National Championships
Mercer Lake, N.J.
June 3
All Day
IRA National Championships
Mercer Lake, N.J.
June 3
All Day
IRA National Championships
West Windsor, N.J.
June 6
All Day
NCAA Championships
Eugene, Ore.
June 6
All Day
NCAA Championships
Eugene, Ore.
June 7
All Day
NCAA Championships
Eugene, Ore.
June 7
All Day
NCAA Championships
Eugene, Ore.
June 8
All Day
NCAA Championships
Eugene, Ore.
June 8
All Day
NCAA Championships
Eugene, Ore.
June 9
All Day
NCAA Championships
Eugene, Ore.
June 9
All Day
NCAA Championships
Eugene, Ore.