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, 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 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


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