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30 Years at The Garden: Name the Big East's Best and Win Big!

Do you want a chance to win tickets to the Big East Tournament? No?

Well, do you want a chance to scream your opinion at people who will likely ignore it and send you a template reply, like, "Thanks for participating! We value your opinion!"? Yes?

If so, boy do I have an opportunity for you:

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The 2012 BIG EAST Men’s Basketball Championship Presented by American Eagle Outfitters will mark the 30th straight year it will be held on college basketball’s biggest stage – Madison Square Garden. To celebrate, the conference is unveiling an interactive social media campaign to identify the 30 greatest teams, players and moments in championship history at MSG.

Identifying the top 10 moments, players and teams of the past 30 years is no easy task, but who better to weigh in on it than the Conference’s devoted fans?

Starting Jan. 16, BIG EAST basketball fans are invited to join in the conversation online by visiting, via Facebook or Twitter (using hashtag #Garden30).

Fans who offer suggestions and help share the word will have a chance to win tickets to this year’s tournament. The 10 greatest in each category will be unveiled in a series of exclusive web videos on beginning Feb. 13.

Key Links

Garden30 Homepage
Twitter: Hashtag (#Garden30)

Online Programming Schedule
Feb. 13 – Greatest Players No. 6-10
Feb. 16 – Greatest Players No. 1-5
Feb. 20 – Greatest Teams No. 6-10
Feb. 23 – Greatest Teams No. 1-5
Feb. 27 – Greatest Moments No. 6-10
March. 1 – Greatest Moments No. 1-5

I reckon that we should all stuff the piss out of the ballot box and get this thing as Orange as possible. We're dealing with players, teams, and moments. Look alive out there, people.

Some suggestions from me after the jump.

After thinking about this for a while, I was having a hard time pulling together decent piles of players, teams, and moments for Syracuse. This piece of paper that I'm staring at with my chicken scratch is almost entirely moments, which I guess is more fun because that's usually the awesome stuff that you awkwardly tell grandchildren and first dates about. Sure, I have Pearl on there, McNamara, the 1992 Syracuse team that won despite entering the tournament as the five-seed and having to knock off Georgetown in the final. Those are all fine, but, man, it's the moments that stick out.

Here's my top-four moments from the two dozen or so that I wrote down:

  1. Six Overtimes (2009 -- Big East Quarterfinals). If this doesn't win best moment, you can count on the fact that the fix is in. Devendorf's almost-winner, all of Connecticut's chances to win at the end of the overtime periods, Andy Rautins drilling triples on fresh sticks to start the sixth overtime, Kris Joseph manning the middle, Flynn playing an ungodly number of minutes and drilling all of his free throws, Paul Harris missing bunnies like he was drunk (he may have been). . . . Not only is this is the best moment ever in the Big East Tournament's history at The Garden, it's arguably the greatest basketball game ever played.
  2. McNamara's Band (2006 -- The Whole Damn Tournament). You may remember this as the "OVERRATED?!?" run. Syracuse enters the tournament firmly on the NCAA Tournament bubble, needing to -- at a minimum -- knock off Cincinnati at noon on Wednesday. McNamara hits an improbable buzzer-beater to put the Orange into the NCAA's while at the same time sending the Bearcats to the NIT. The next day, Syracuse sends aside a ridiculously talented Connecticut team with a miracle 30-footer from McNamara with five seconds remaining in regulation (a game that Syracuse would hold on to win in overtime). The next night, the Orange take on five-seed Georgetown. Spurred by a great steal by McNamara in the waning seconds, Gerry found Devendorf cutting to the basket with 1.5 seconds left in the game to push the Orange into the finals. In the championship game against Pittsburgh, Syracuse became the first team ever in the Big East to win four games in four consecutive games, all on the Irish shoulders of Sir Gerald of Scranton.
  3. Michael Graham Punches Andre Hawkins (1984 -- Championship). We're already pretty long in the tooth, here, word-wise, so I'll just link to another piece that I wrote and end it with this: After the game (a game that Georgetown stole from Syracuse), Jim Boeheim said, "Today, the best team didn't win." A great moment in the league's best rivalry.
  4. Patrick Ewing Touches the Face of God (1985 -- Semifinals). Screw it, I'm just going to crib what I wrote two years ago:

The blood feud between the Orange and Hoyas had been boiling for five years leading up to this tilt. The two teams had split its regular season series and had met as recently as the Sunday prior to this Madison Square Garden showdown. Georgetown smashed Syracuse in that game 90-63.

The world knew that a tipping point was coming and as Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette illustrates, it was Patrick Ewing’s unabashed thuggery that ignited the kettle of gasoline:

Last night, in a resumption of bad blood that has boiled for five years, the two teams participated in a brawl that began when Patrick Ewing and Dwayne Washington threw elbows and punches at one another.

* * * * *

. . . [I]t was no surprise that a fight broke out last night. It’s a wonder it took six minutes before one did.

Washington, Syracuse’s fine point guard, was trying to prevent Ewing, Georgetown’s 7-foot All-America, from getting position underneath early in the game. Ewing threw an elbow; Washington retaliated. Ewing threw a short jab; Washington responded in kind, only Washington’s punch landed on Ewing’s groin and the big guy dropped to the floor like a felled tree.

* * * * *

“What fight?” asked Ewing. “I don’t wish to get into that.”

Said Thompson: “It gave me a chance to get out on the court and get a little exercise. I was getting bored.”

There are three important points from the article:

  1. Patrick Ewing instigated the situation and directly caused a riot. Accordingly, it is reasonable to believe that every violent march against the International Monetary Fund is directly linked to wayward Patrick Ewing elbows.
  2. If you touch the sainted crown of Pearl Washington, you’re going to catch five knuckles in your beanbag. This is the lone exception to the “Man Code.”
  3. Patrick Ewing is a liar. Clearly, Ewing started the fight and his post-game comments smack of foolish innocence. If Patrick Ewing ever ends up your doorstep looking to sell you “Mr. Mackey’s All-Inclusive Cure Elixir,” do not buy it. It will give you diarrhea.

What do you knuckleheads have? Leave 'em below.