"The Big East tournament is the feeling that players get when they step onto the floor, especially in those electric weekend night sessions, just a block and a half off Broadway, when maybe Bill Clinton or Spike Lee or Denzel Washington arrives courtside.
"The Big East tournament is a row of Wall Street guys sneaking away for an afternoon session, dressed in $1,000 suits as they slam drinks and berate some official that dared to make the wrong call on the Hoyas.
"The Big East tournament is the throngs of twenty-something alums who have moved to the city, live in the neighborhood, and rush across 31st Street between sessions to the Blarney Stone or the Irish Times or Jimmy's BBQ for drinks and food, taking the opportunity to act up with their college buddies again or maybe to run into that girl they should've asked out back in the day...
"The Big East tournament is the vast assortment of former players, playground legends, AAU coaches, agents, runners for agents, NBA executives, sneaker reps, high school coaches, hangers-on and Brooklyn accents that fill the seats. This is the grassroots scene the NCAA would prefer you didn't notice but everyone in the game recognizes as the engine of the sport.
"New York likes to believe it is the Mecca for the game and the Big East tournament is its annual convention. Everybody who is everybody is there, swapping gossip, lies and occasional angry glares. They're surrounded by these packs of old guys who simply love the game, who come every year to take in every minute of the action, relive the old days and argue, forever, about some call in a 1958 Bishop Laughlin-Fordham Prep contest.
"It is that crowd, even more than the celebs,that helps make this the grandest stage for so many players. These are their people, and to perform accordingly here can make you a legend...."
"It's what Boston College wishes it never lost...and what Syracuse, Notre Dame and the others know, deep down, that Greensboro or wherever can never match."