Was that a chimney being installed on top of Healy Hall on Georgetown’s campus last week? Perhaps a conclave of catholic university presidents were gathering, their mission: not to elect a new pontiff, but rather, to finalize the birth of a new league, the much talked about Catholic 7.
While this is likely the right move for these basketball centric colleges, unfortunately for us with this secession comes the loss of rivalries; the loss of traditions.
Many familiar names remain including several of the original members, the pillars of the Big East; Villanova, St. John’s and Georgetown. Gone are Connecticut, Louisville and Syracuse. One has to wonder if the Catholic 7 really wants to roll out the welcome wagon for Brad Stevens and the always present Butler squad.
This week the Big East converges on NYC for their curtain call and we will savor every minute of play. For we will miss them; those historical match-ups rich in tradition.
The hard fought Syracuse-Georgetown battles for Big East supremacy will be no more. The decades of Thompson(s)-Boeheim classics that dominated college basketball but a memory. From fist-a-cuffs and coach ejections to buzzer beaters, always a much anticipated and exciting match-up. As time went on, during those dark days before the arrival JTIII, Syracuse found other formidable foes in U Conn and Villanova drawing record breaking crowds in the Carrier dome whenever they played. On any given night, anyone could beat anyone in the Big East. Everyone was a legitimate contender.
This past Friday came the anticipated white smoke from the chimney and yes, it was “officially” announced the Catholic 7 will leave the Big East. An era has ended. It was proclaimed: college basketball must evolve. We must move on. There will be new rivalries, new opponents and new beginnings. With stalwart teams weaned on tradition and dedicated to college basketball, the Catholic 7 will carry on. They will continue to excite us with their gutsy play that so defined the Big East. Sadly, The Big East as we know it…gone in a puff of smoke.