Big East: So this is the Garden

By Jerry Palm - March 07, 2007

I made it to New York. It's 10:30 CT, which means I've already been up for eight hours and we're still a half hour from tipoff of game one in the Big East tournament between DePaul and Villanova. So if you see a blog entry in the evening session that says something like "dhgashgopahhgg", it means I've fallen asleep face first into my laptop.

I've only been to NYC a few times, and the last one was most of ten years ago. I have never been in Madison Square Garden before, and my first reaction is, where is everybody? This place is almost empty. The players, bands and cheerleaders don't quite outnumber the fans, but it's not far off. My second reaction is that this is a nice facility for being as old as it is. We'll have to see how it is when people get in here. Maybe they're stuck in traffic. I feel their pain.

I have a seat at one of the press tables, and I can only assume that this was designed for media members who are about 6'10". I'm 6'1 and even sitting on my coat, I look like my three year old sitting at our kitchen table. I have to reach up to type.

Just about everybody associated with ESPN is here. This is their big event, historically speaking. The network and the league put each other on the map. Jay Bilas is sitting in front of me and to my left a little. Jay's about 6'10", so he doesn't look like a little kid sitting at the press table. I may have trouble seeing over him for plays on that end of the floor. Bill Raferty and former Michigan coach Bill Frieder are here also. I wonder if they are doing radio.

OK, enough ancillary stuff. Let's look at this game. DePaul is trying to make a push into the bracket and will need to win at least today to get a chance. The Blue Demons have a few nice wins, most notably Kansas at home and today's opponent, Villanova, on the road. They also have a handful of silly losses that they need to wipe away, which is why they need to continue their strong finish to the season.

Villanova's tournament hopes are much higher. The Wildcats are one of the better road teams among the major conferences and they too have finished strong, winning seven of nine.

Personally, I'm looking forward to the matchup of Scottie Reynolds of Nova and Sammy Mejia of DePaul, although they may not actually guard each other.

Tip now about 15 minutes away. I wonder if they forgot to open the doors?

Posted by Jerry Palm at 11:29 AM on March 07, 2007

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