So tonight it ends. It is the final Big East basketball home game to ever be played at WVU.
Tonight’s game vs. DePaul is the final Big East game to be played in Morgantown.
Think about that.
Let that thought sink in for a minute.
A tradition that start on Saturday afternoon, Dec. 2, 1995 when Georgetown visited WVU will end tonight on Senior Night.
That was a great Georgetown team, ranked #6 nationally at the time. John Thomson, Jr., the father of current Hoyas coach, JT III, was the legendary head coach. He is a larger than life figure and one of the most intimidating coaches in our nation’s history.
The Hoyas had great players such as Allen Iverson, Victor Page, a terrific young center in Othello Harrington and one of the great names of all time, Boubacar Aw. Georgetown won that game 87-84 in overtime and the excitement has never stopped.
Pardon me if the thought of the final Big East game saddens me a little. For the last 18 seasons or so, basketball fans in our state have never had it so good. In WVU basketball history, we have never seen this many games with this many great players and coaches.
Celebrity coaches such as Thompson, Connecticut’s Jim Calhoun, Jim Boeheim of Syracuse, Jay Wright of Villanova, Rick Pitino of Louisville, and Ben Howland, formerly of Pitt have all come strollling into our state and stood in the visiting coaches box.
We have seen great players such as Iverson, Carmelo Anthony and Hakeem Warrick of Syracuse, Ron Artest of St. Johns, Troy Murphy of Notre Dame, Kemba Walker of Connecticut and many others.
I will miss Big East basketball. So will you. While, the Big 12 will be fine with Kansas, Texas,Oklahoma State and others, it is nothing like what the Big East has been for the last 15 years.
I realize the Big East is changing. The departures of Pitt, Syracuse and West Virginia takes some clout out of the league. Louisville and Notre Dame may leave someday also. But, make no mistake about it, Big East basketball has not been broken for the last 15 years and fans will miss it. They will also miss the Big East tounament at Madison Square Garden in New York.
It is ironic that the final Big East game is against a midwestern school like DePaul. The Blue Demons have never felt like a Big East program.
So tonight’s game saddens me a little. If you love basketball, it should sadden you also.