Big East Tourney Recap: What a Weekend!

I hate the winter, but I love March. It’s my birthday month, St. Patty’s day and most importantly March Madness! I love the conference and NCAA tourneys more than any other sporting event. This year I got to experience the Big East Tourney in person! Last Wednesday night I headed up to Hoboken to meet up with my family at my brother’s so we could watch Syracuse in the last real Big East Tourney. My parents and I attempted to catch a tourney game at the Garden last year, but ended up buying counterfeit tickets.

Everyone we asked told us the best way to get tickets was to just buy them on the street outside the Garden, so we didn’t think there’d be a problem. The red X that appeared on the ticket scanner when we tried to enter that night told a different story. It was unbelievably disappointing. I also felt responsible even though I know my parents were just as excited as I was to go, I felt like they were doing this in part for me. We made the most of the night though and still enjoyed the game from Stout, a Syracuse bar around the corner.

This year we decided to go the StubHub route and bought tickets ahead of time for Thursday through Saturday. The only two games we’d been to in person so far this year had been both dismal Georgetown losses, and after they got off to a tough start against Seton Hall Wednesday we were hopeful, but a bit nervous as to how they would fare. It ended up being so much fun and better than we ever could have expected! We got to watch Syracuse play in all three games we went to and while they didn’t win it all, revenge against Georgetown was so sweet and made it a perfect weekend! Thanks for such a great Christmas present Mom & Dad! Pics below!

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The End of an Era

Last weekend my parents came down to D.C. to go to the Syracuse vs. Georgetown game with Ian and me. This was the last regular season Big East matchup ever between these two teams. It truly marked the end of an era and a legendary rivalry. While they say they’ll continue to play each other, right now it just doesn’t feel like it’s going to be the same.

I was so excited for this game and really hoping the Orange would get revenge for their loss at the Dome a couple weeks ago. I figured at the very least it would have to be a great game. I was up early for a sunrise 11 miler. The sun was shining, it was beautiful out and I felt great. Today was going to be a great day and I was sure this had to be a sign that Syracuse would rock it. Boy was I wrong.

I’ve been going to these rivalry games at the Verizon Center every year Syracuse has played down here since I moved to D.C. about seven years ago. There are always so many Syracuse fans that we jokingly refer to it as the Carrier Dome South. The school has taken measures in the last two years to limit the number of ‘Cuse fans that get their hands on tickets mostly I would guess because they were embarrassed when announcers would say it sounded more like a home game for the Orange. This year they stepped up their efforts even more, and for the Syracuse game only, required a minimum $50 donation to purchase up to eight tickets for the game. I’m not proud, but I did what I had to do and made that donation to Georgetown so we could get our tickets. Some of my cousins and a handful of friends made it to the game as well.

We were not alone. There was yet again a whole lot of Orange in the Verizon Center. I absolutely could not believe that the top half of the spillover student section in the upper deck was empty. That would never, ever happen in Syracuse. There was barely room to breathe in the Dome with the record setting crowd a couple weeks ago, and many fans were in seats so far away I don’t know if they could even really see the court. (Picture below) How embarrassing.

Turns out the joke was on us though as Syracuse got pretty embarrassed. They didn’t even break 40 points. It was hard to watch. It definitely wasn’t the way I saw this historic rivalry coming to an end. It is what it is though and there was nothing we could do about it, so we headed down the street to RFD after the game to drown our sorrows. I enjoyed a few Magners and some of the best fried mac and cheese bites I’ve ever had. We still managed to have a pretty good afternoon there.

We’ll be back at it cheering for the Orange in NYC today as they take on Pitt in the Big East Tourney. Here’s hoping a different team than the one we saw in D.C. shows up to play! Go ‘Cuse!

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Home Sweet Dome

Last weekend my Dad, Ian and I headed up to the Carrier Dome to see Syracuse play longtime rival Georgetown. A record-setting 35,012 people packed the Dome breaking the NCAA on-campus attendance record. Carmelo Anthony was back at the Dome to have his number retired at halftime. The place was rocking and orange was everywhere. It was perfect. Then we lost to Georgetown. Talk about a buzz-kill.

The Syracuse – Georgetown rivalry is legendary and one of the things I’m most sad to lose as conference realignment moves forward next season and the Big East falls apart. I know they plan to continue playing each other, but it just won’t be the same. Seventeen of Syracuse’s 72 games with more than 30,000 in attendance at the Dome have been against Georgetown. A few years before I was born in February of 1980 Syracuse brought a 57 consecutive home game win streak in to its final game at Manley Field House. The seniors on that team had never lost a home game in their careers. Georgetown beat the Orange that day and Coach John Thompson grabbed a mic and announced, “Manley Field House is officially closed.’’ Truly a rivalry for the ages – you just can’t make this stuff up.

Last weekend, this year’s Syracuse squad took a 38 home game winning streak onto the court. Thanks to Otto Porter blowing up for 33 points and Syracuse not being able to beat their 2-3 zone – something you think they’d know how to attack! – the ‘cuse lost their last Big East home game to the Hoyas. Current Georgetown Coach, John Thompson III, said he wasn’t going to give a Manley Field House is closed type of statement. Some might call him classy for that, but I prefer to think he just doesn’t want to give the Orange any bulletin board material for their rematch on March 9 down here in D.C.

I’ll be at that game too and I hope the ‘cuse can return the favor. I’m sure it’ll be a blast and it’s always fun to see so many Orange shirts at an away game despite Georgetown’s best efforts to keep Syracuse fans out. I actually had to make a $50 donation to Georgetown this year for the chance to buy a maximum of eight tickets. They don’t do that for any other game. It was a bit hard to swallow, but worth it to head to Carrier Dome South – I mean the Verizon Center – for the game this March.

Pics from the game at the Dome below. I unfortunately forgot my real camera so some of the iPhone shots are a bit blurry. I did have my wide angle iPhone lens adapter though, so I was able to get some good shots showing how packed it was in there!