Wednesday, December 5, 2012
3-point shot: Big East-MSG pairing solid
By Andy Katz
1. Connecticut provided a quality crowd Tuesday night at the Jimmy V Classic, giving Madison Square Garden more hope that in the future the Huskies will still be a viable option in the Big East tournament. Big East membership shifts could cause MSG to review any existing deal, but don’t expect a change. The marriage of MSG with the Big East is still strong and with teams like UConn, St. John’s, Villanova, Georgetown and even Marquette and Cincinnati still in the league there is enough of a fan base in the area to draw. Look, no one at MSG is thrilled with losing Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and Louisville, but there is more disappointment than dismay over the change in membership in 2014 and beyond. I didn’t get the sense in talking to a number of sources at the Garden on Tuesday that the Big East is in jeopardy of losing MSG as a home. The ACC can kindle interest in the area, but the league will never commit to coming to the Garden more than once every few years and MSG is interested only in a regular conference-tournament tenant in March.
2. Beating Colorado was no fluke for Wyoming. Not when the Cowboys go on the road and come back from 19 points in the second half to beat Illinois State 81-67. Wyoming coach Larry Shyatt would be a coach-of-the-month candidate if there were such an honor. The Pokes were hardly supposed to be a contender this season but have quietly turned into quite a story. Larry Nance Jr. scored 19 points against the Redbirds. The Cowboys were already getting quality play out of Leonard Washington, but if there is even more balance then the once-offensively challenged Pokes are a real threat to be nasty going forward. Wyoming is 9-0 and it’s legitimate.
3. Georgetown coach John Thompson III isn’t sure how the Hoyas will replace the SEC/Big East Challenge on their schedule next season, because he still isn’t certain how many games the Big East will play in 2013-14. He said there was once talk of the league playing 20 games, but it's unclear where that stands at this juncture. The Hoyas are set to play in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Classic and are in a home-and-home series with Kansas. But Thompson said he has to wait and see how he’ll handle the schedule and whether he’ll opt for neutral-site games or try to secure one more home-and-home series. But, he added, having more conference games will make Big East teams be even more selective with the nonconference scheduling.