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

December 4
W, 77-74
Elon
Verizon Center
RECAP

FS1
106.7 FM
December 4
W, 54-46
Delaware
Newark, Del.
RECAP

Watch
Live Stats
December 4
W: 5th (968); M: 5th (870)
Bucknell Invitational
Lewisburg, Pa.
RECAP

Live Results
Swimming Prelims Results | Diving Prelims Results | Finals Results
December 8
7:00 PM
George Mason
McDonough Arena
December 9
All Day
Hoosier Open
Bloomington, Ind.
December 9
All Day
Hoosier Open
Bloomington, Ind.
December 10
2:00 PM
La Salle
Miami, Fla.

ESPN2
106.7 FM
December 11
2:00 PM
Alabama
McDonough Arena
December 17
12:00 PM
Syracuse
Syracuse, N.Y.

ESPN
106.7 FM
December 22
6:30 PM
UNC Greensboro
Verizon Center

FS1
106.7 FM
December 28
8:30 PM
Marquette
Milwaukee, Wis.

FS1
99.1 FM
December 28
2:00 PM
DePaul
McDonough Arena

BEDN
Watch
December 30
2:00 PM
Marquette
McDonough Arena

MASN2/BEDN
Watch
December 31
11:00 AM
Xavier
Verizon Center

FS1
99.1 FM
December 31
All Day
Rose Bowl Regatta
Los Angeles, Calif.
January 1
All Day
Rose Bowl Regatta
Los Angeles, Calif.
January 4
7:00 PM
Providence
Providence, R.I.

CBSsn
99.1 FM
January 4
7:00 PM
Villanova
Villanova, Pa.

BEDN
Watch
January 6
TBA
Pepperdine women only
Malibu, Calif.
January 7
12:00 PM
Butler
Verizon Center

FOX
99.1 FM
January 8
2:05 PM
Creighton
Omaha, Neb.

BEDN
Watch
January 9
6:30 PM
St. Johns
Verizon Center

FS1
106.7 FM
January 10
7:00 PM
Providence
Providence, R.I.

BEDN
Watch
January 13
7:00 PM
St. Johns
McDonough Arena

FS1
January 13
5:00 PM
George Washington/Bowling Green
Washington, D.C. (GW)
January 14
12:00 PM
UConn
Verizon Center

FOX
99.1 FM
January 14
1:00 PM
American
McCarthy Pool
January 14
All Day
Nittany Lion Challenge
State College, Pa.
January 14
All Day
Nittany Lion Challenge
State College, Pa.
January 15
2:00 PM
Seton Hall
McDonough Arena

BEDN
Watch
January 16
9:00 PM
Providence
Verizon Center

FS1
106.7 FM
January 16
1:00 PM
Rider
McCarthy Pool
January 20
8:00 PM
Xavier
Cincinnati, Ohio

FS1
January 20
All Day
NY Gotham Cup
Staten Island, N.Y.
January 20
All Day
NY Gotham Cup
Staten Island, N.Y.
January 21
1:00 PM
Drexel
Philadelphia, Pa.
January 22
2:00 PM
Xavier
Cincinnati, Ohio

CBS
106.7 FM
January 22
1:00 PM
Butler
Indianapolis, Ind.

BEDN
Watch
January 25
7:00 PM
Creighton
Verizon Center

FSN
106.7 FM
January 27
1:00 PM
Drexel
Philadelphia, Pa.
January 27
5:30 PM
Drexel
Philadelphia, Pa.
January 27
All Day
Penn State National Open
State College, Pa.
January 27
All Day
Penn State National Open
State College, Pa.
January 28
8:00 PM
Butler
Indianapolis, Ind.

CBSsn
106.7 FM
January 28
1:00 PM
Villanova
McDonough Arena

BEDN
January 28
All Day
Penn State National Open
State College, Pa.
January 28
All Day
Penn State National Open
State College, Pa.
January 28
TBA
Penn
Philadelphia, Pa.
January 31
9:00 PM
DePaul
Rosemont, Ill.

FS1
106.7 FM
February 3
12:00 PM
Providence
McDonough Arena

BEDN
February 3
All Day
Armory Invitational
New York, N.Y.
February 3
All Day
Armory Invitational
New York, N.Y.
February 4
12:00 PM
Seton Hall
Verizon Center

FS1
106.7 FM
February 4
All Day
USA Jr. Cross Country Championships
Bend, Ore.
February 4
TBA
Boston College
Chestnut Hill, Mass.
February 4
All Day
USA Jr. Cross Country Championships
Bend, Ore.
February 4
All Day
Armory Invitational
New York, N.Y.
February 4
All Day
Scarlet & White Invitational
Boston, Mass.
February 4
All Day
Scarlet & White Invitational
Boston, Mass.
February 4
All Day
Armory Invitational
New York, N.Y.
February 5
1:00 PM
Creighton
McDonough Arena

BEDN
February 5
TBA
Harvard
Boston, Mass.
February 7
7:00 PM
Villanova
Villanova, Pa.

FS1
106.7 FM
February 8
TBA
Morgan State
Arlington YMCA
February 10
7:00 PM
Seton Hall
South Orange, N.J.

BEDN
February 10
TBA
Florida International
Miami, Fla.
February 10
11:00 AM
Massachusetts
Washington, D.C.
February 10
All Day
FasTrack National Invitational
Staten Island, N.Y.
February 10
All Day
FasTrack National Invitaitonal
Staten Island, N.Y.
February 10
All Day
Iowa State Classic
Ames, Iowa
February 10
All Day
Iowa State Classic
Ames, Iowa
February 11
12:00 PM
Marquette
Verizon Center

FOX
106.7 FM
February 11
10:00 AM
Providence
Providence, R.I.
February 11
4:00 PM
Monmouth N.J.
Washington, D.C.
February 11
All Day
Liberty Elite Invitational
Lynchburg, Va.
February 11
All Day
Valentine Invitational
Boston, Mass.
February 11
All Day
Liberty Elite Invitational
Lynchburg, Va.
February 11
All Day
Valentine Invitational
Boston, Mass.
February 11
All Day
Iowa State Classic
Ames, Iowa
February 11
All Day
Iowa State Classic
Ames, Iowa
February 12
2:00 PM
St. Johns
Queens, N.Y.

BEDN
February 15
TBA
Temple
Arlington YMCA
February 17
7:00 PM
Butler
McDonough Arena

MASN2/BEDN
February 17
6:00 PM
Davidson
Davidson, N.C.
February 18
2:00 PM
Davidson
Davidson, N.C.
February 18
All Day
Penn State Tune-Up
State College, Pa.
February 18
All Day
Alex Wilson Invitational
Notre Dame, Ind.
February 18
All Day
Penn State Tune-Up
State College, Pa.
February 18
All Day
Alex Wilson Invitational
Notre Dame, Ind.
February 19
3:30 PM
Creighton
Omaha, Neb.

FS1
106.7 FM
February 19
2:00 PM
Xavier
McDonough Arena

BEDN
February 19
1:00 PM
Davidson
Davidson, N.C.
February 22
7:00 PM
DePaul
Verizon Center

CBSsn
106.7 FM
February 22
3:00 PM
Coppin State
Baltimore, Md.
February 22
11:00 AM
Morgan State
Arlington YMCA
February 23
All Day
Day 1
Long Island, N.Y.
February 23
All Day
BIG EAST Championships
Staten Island, N.Y.
February 24
8:00 PM
Marquette
Milwaukee, Wis.

BEDN
February 24
4:00 PM
USC Upstate
Spartanburg, S.C.
February 24
12:00 PM
George Washington
Washington, D.C.
February 24
All Day
BIG EAST Championships
Staten Island, N.Y.
February 24
All Day
Day 2
Long Island, N.Y.
February 24
All Day
BIG EAST Championships
Staten Island, N.Y.
February 25
12:00 PM
St. Johns
New York, N.Y.

FSN
106.7 FM
February 25
2:00 PM
Wofford
Spartanburg, S.C.
February 25
All Day
Kiawah Spring Invitational
Kiawah Island, Sc.
February 25
All Day
Day 3
Long Island, N.Y.
February 25
All Day
BIG EAST Championships
Staten Island, N.Y.
February 26
1:00 PM
DePaul
Chicago, Ill.

FS1
February 26
12:00 PM
Dayton
Spartanburg, S.C.
February 26
All Day
Day 4
Long Island, N.Y.
February 26
All Day
Kiawah Spring Invitational
Kiawah Island, Sc.
February 27
All Day
Kiawah Spring Invitational
Kiawah Island, Sc.
February 28
6:30 PM
Seton Hall
Newark, N.J.

FS1
106.7 FM
February 28
2:00 PM
Navy
Annapolis, Md.
February 28
All Day
Kiawah Spring Invitational
Kiawah Island, Sc.
March 1
2:30 PM
George Washington
Arlington, Va.
March 3
2:30 PM
Chicago State
Port Charlotte, Fla.
March 4
12:00 PM
Villanova
Verizon Center

FOX/FS2
106.7 FM
March 4
TBA
First Round
Milwaukee, Wis.

BEDN
Watch
March 4
2:30 PM
Boston College
Port Charlotte, Fla.
March 4
All Day
IC4A Championships
Boston, Mass.
March 4
All Day
ECAC Championships
Boston, Mass.
March 5
TBA
Quarterfinals
Milwaukee, Wis.

FS2
March 5
10:30 AM
Ball State
Port Charlotte, Fla.
March 5
1:00 PM
UC San Diego
San Diego, Calif.
March 5
2:30 PM
UC San Diego
San Diego, Calif.
March 5
All Day
Battle at Boulder Creek
Las Vegas, Nv.
March 5
All Day
ECAC Championships
Boston, Mass.
March 5
All Day
IC4A Championships
Boston, Mass.