What A Wild Four Months: Volvo’s “Biggest Fan of the BIG EAST”

It’s hard to believe that its been over four months since Volvo’s Biggest Fan of the BIG EAST Conteststarted at BIG EAST Basketball Media Day back on October 17th, but it is even more inconceivable that the competition is actually almost over (Yes, the end of the regular season is this coming weekend and the conference championship starts on Tuesday, March 6th).

So as tough as it may be, this is the final blog post of the competition, and challenges the 16 contestants to recap our entire Volvo Biggest Fan of the Big East Journey.

I am still in shock that this whole experience is coming to end, especially after being the last competitor to take my Alma Mater weekend visit. For those of you who don’t know, each member of this contest was brought back to their respective universities for a game and were given a Volvo S60 to test drive for the weekend.

The car was amazing. Period. A friend of mine recently asked me, “well is there anything that you wish that it had in it, or didn’t do, or was missing?” I sat there for about a minute and then responded, “No.”

I actually went on to tell him there was one thing that I thought it was missing. You know that switch on your rear-view mirror you can flip when a car is getting to close to you at night and it takes down on the glare? The S60 does not have one. It took me a second to figure out, but the Volvo actually automatically does it for you when a car behind you gets too close. Yes, this car has everything. From voice-activated commands, to little lights on the inside of your car near your side-view mirrors that go off when other cars are in your blind spot.

So after a phenomenal weekend with the S60 that allowed me to see St. John’s and the “Fresh 5” (yes, the Johnnies start five rookies) knock off the nationally-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Madison Square Garden this past Saturday, it actually hit me that I have a chance to win this car. I repeat. I am one of just 16 people in the running to win a car.

I honestly let myself think of how winning would change things for the first time this past weekend, and looking forward to June, when my job at Brown University concludes and I must start the process of searching for my next employment opportunity, how much having something like a Volvo S60 would mean to me is nearly immeasurable. Especially being without a vehicle right now (I am just lucky enough to be close enough to work that I can walk everyday).

First off, I want to thank EVERYONE that has voted and continue to vote for me in the poll on MyBIGEASTVolvo.com. To know that not only am I in the lead, but have nearly half the vote let’s me know how much my friends and family support me and how dedicated the St. John’s Red Storm and BIG EAST Basketball fan bases are (as you will see below, I have my own level of dedication).

Next, I want to thank my Dad. I know he is responsible for getting a ton of votes for me. And I know that if I do win he will be a large part of that (Even though he has stated several times that if I were lucky enough to win, he would rather see me sell the car and pay off a large chunk of my student loans. A smart and rational idea, but one I know I would have trouble doing after going through so much over the past four months of this incredible experience).

This whole thing all started after Volvo found me through Twitter (shameless plug to follow @BIG3Sports). I quickly jumped at the chance to be part of the competition and I was soon flown out to New York City to attend BIG EAST Basketball Media Day, where I met the other competitors and got to spend the day with all of the conference coaches, selected players, numerous media members and league employees. I even got to have lunch with Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim.

That alone was worth being a part of this contest (Although it would have been better if it were Steve Lavin. Thoughts and prayers with him as he continues to recover from prostate cancer surgery).

After media day we began in on our blog posts. Seven in total up to this point, and it has been fun and exciting to wait and find out how each one was received and graded. Unfortunatley I have not won one yet, but I was lucky enough to receive four stars (only the winner gets the fifth star) on every post.

Be sure to check out all of my pervious posts if you haven’t yet:

1. BIG EAST Ultimate Dream Team

2. New York, New York. Preview of a Whirlwind Trip Back to STJ

3. Top BIG EAST Matchups of 2012

4. Ultimate Volvo S60: BIG EAST Edition

5. We Are… St. John’s! Red Storm at it’s Finest

6. A Johnnies Guide to the Galaxy

7. Best of the BIG EAST at Madison Square Garden

One of the other fun parts of this experience has been the relationships built with the contestants. And when I say relationships, I mean smack talk. Game days were always a  good time as we all truly believed it was our team that would be victorious. Some days were good (like when St. John’s downed Cincinnati at the buzzer on Moe Harkless’ tip-in) and some less so (cough, Georgetown, cough).

In the end (and yes I realize that everyone is still battling for a Volvo S60) the reason we are all involved in this whole ordeal is all about basketball. The 16 of us are BIG EAST Basketball die-hards and that will never change. We each had a chance to get closer than ever before to the teams that we love and for that I say thank you to Volvo and The BIG EAST Conference.

As always, please continue to vote for me and St. John’s in the MyBigEastVolvo.com poll and be sure to follow me on Twitter @BIG3Sports. Also, check out my fan page on Facebook.

For more info on all things St. John’s, visit RedStormSports.com.

Best of the BIG EAST at Madison Square Garden

It’s hard to believe that there are only three weeks left in the BIG EAST basketball regular-season schedule, but we are quickly leading up to one of the most exciting times of the year… The BIG EAST Championship at Madison Square Garden! If you have never had a chance to catch at least a game in person, if not the entire tournament, it is something I strongly suggest you bucket list. MSG is known as the “Mecca of College Basketball” for a reason, and the annual league championship is one of the main ones.

Because of all the phenomenal moments, teams, players and experiences the BIG EAST has seen since 1982, the conference has launched #GARDEN30, which celebrates the top 10 moments, teams and players in past the 30 years.

In conjunction with this effort, Volvo’s “Biggest Fan of the BIG EAST” Contest has shaped challenge No. 7 (yes, there is only one more post after this one) to find what our top moments, players and teams are.

{Side Note: In just two weeks, Volvo and the BIG EAST are going to give me (yes, the same guy who used work the door at Last Call, could be found every Wednesday night during Grad School at Iguana’s and worked every St. John’s basketball game) the keys to a brand new Volvo S60 to test drive for the weekend. Not only are they letting me take it from Providence to New York, they are putting me in the Affinia, across the street from the Garden, and giving me two tickets to the St. John’s – Notre Dame game that afternoon. As my Birthday is on the 24th, I’d say Volvo and the BIG EAST are DEFINITELY getting the title of best birthday present this year. Be sure to check out this blog, Twitter & Facebook for updates from my trip.}

So without further ado, because finding a Top 30 is no easy feat: The @BIG3Sports #Garden30! (and yes, as always, I am St. John’s biased)

Top 10 Moments

It may have actually been easier to sift through the top 10 moments of of last year’s BIG EAST Championship than try and decide on the top top 10 of past 30 years. It seems like every year the BIG EAST dominates SportsCenter for five days as there is at least one team that pulls off the upset or pulls off the win in some incredible fashion.

Kemba Walker’s dominance last season is still fresh in all our minds and has shades of Syracuse’s Gerry McNamara when he went on a similar run. And who could forget the six overtime game between those same two teams? But of course, the number one spot has to go to the original championship winners at the Garden, and what do you know, they just happen to be from St. John’s!

10. Ollie Taylor hits two-straight buzzer-beaters to spark Seton Hall to 1991 title.

9. Ray Allen’s game-winning jumper for Connecticut in 1996.

8. Pittsburgh & UConn’s double-overtime thriller in 2002.

7. West Virginia’s Da’Sean Butler helps Mountaineers to first title in 2010.

6. Syracuse point guard Gerry McNamara owns the Garden in 2006.

5. Georgetown’s Patrick Ewing leads Georgetown to back-to-back titles in 1984 & 1985

4. St. John’s Walter Berry blocks Syracuse’s Pearl Washington at the buzzer in 1986 Final.

3. Syracuse and UConn go to six overtimes in 2009. (And if you have never been to SixOvertimes.com, check it out immediately!)

2. Kemba Walker keys UConn to five wins in five days in 2011.

1. Chris Mullin leads St. John’s to win in first-ever tournament in Madison Square Garden in 1983

Top 10 Players

Again, this would have been much easier had this been from say the past decade or even the past season, but instead 30 years of players need to be wheedled down to just 10 spots. Carmelo didn’t make the list because he only played one season, but boy did he have an impact.

The names Walker and McNamara make an appearcnce again, along with two guards who had quite the rivalry in Allen Iverson and Ray Allen, but in the end the one, and one-A spots have to go to two of the most talented and dominant players the league has ever seen in Patrick Ewing and Chris Mullin. (Hey, what do you know, another Johnnie at No. 1)

10. Alonzo Mourning – Georgetown

9. Gerry McNamara – Syracuse

8. Walter Berry – St. John’s

7. Kemba Walker – Connecticut

6. Kerry Kittles – Villanova

5. Pearl Washington – Syracuse

4. Ray Allen – Connecticut

3. Allen Iverson – Georgetown

2. Patrick Ewing – Georgetown

1. Chris Mullin – St. John’s

Top 10 Teams

To choose the top 10 teams may be a little easier as only about 40 have a true case for the top 10 spots, but to cut it down was still extremely difficult. Several teams boasted National Championships on top of BIG EAST titles, while other just bonded at the right times. In the end it was the 80’s powerhouses of St. John’s and Georgetown that took the top spots as well as the Huskies led by Kemba Walker, who took his team on the “run of all runs.”

10. 1993 Seton Hall

9. 2009 Louisville

8.  2004 Connecticut

7. 1999 Connecticut

6. 2010 West Virginia

5. 1989 Georgetown

4. 2006 Syracuse

3. 2011 Connecticut

2. 1985 Georgetown

1. 1983 St. John’s

Please continue to vote for my and St. John’s in the MyBigEastVolvo.com Polls and be sure to follow my on Twitter @BIG3Sports. Also, check out my fan page on Facebook.

For more info on all things St. John’s, visit RedStormSports.com.