Big East media day notebook

NEW YORK – The Big East Conference held its annual media day on Wednesday and the University of Louisville was selected as the preseason favorite. Cardinal Authority has a notebook of items from the New York Athletic Club.


Syracuse's Jim Boeheim and Louisville's Rick Pitino are long time acquaintances and have worked together on the same basketball staff. On Wednesday, the two Hall of Fame coaches traded jabs during Big East Conference Media day.

It all started with questions about the future of the league to Pitino.

Syracuse and Pittsburgh are starting their final seasons in the Big East, West Virginia is already gone and Notre Dame is also leaving soon. The Big East has added Memphis, Temple, Southern Methodist, Houston and Central Florida to its lineup.

"The Big East will be just fine," Pitino said to a group of reporters. "I fought very hard to try and get people to understand how much Temple and Memphis will mean to this conference. Look at the tradition, it equals Syracuse and Pittsburgh.

"Now, we will miss Syracuse in a different manner. Syracuse is Madison Square Gardens and New York City, all of those fans. But in terms of actual play, Memphis and Temple are equal. Memphis, every year, is a top-10 recruiting program and Temple is a sleeping giant. All they needed, much like Louisville 12 years ago, was a great league to go to and now that have that."

Across the room at the New York Athletic Club, several reporters told Boeheim what Pitino had said about his program and the conferences future.

"Rick's full of s**t, if that's what he really said" Boeheim said.

Boeheim then added about Pitino, "if Rick and Louisville could have, they would have left too. Everybody knows it. They would have left in a heartbeat."

Pitino, the coach that new Big East commissioner called "an icon" and "great ambassador for the league," later told with a smile about Boeheim that "I think he's full of s**t, and so we're both full of it."

Syracuse and Louisville will play twice this season.


One of the big topics the media was asking Pitino during his interviews was the success John Calipari is currently having at Kentucky.

When asked about being rivals, Pitino said "it's the rivalry and it's deep, deep rooted. But we talk. I won't call him up but if we see one another we talk."

Pitino noted Calipari's use of twitter and other social media outlets and various other venues to spread the word about his program were "smart."

"John is a marketing genius," Pitino said. "He wants to tweet, he wants to do this and do that. He's way ahead of the curve.

"He's going to put up a practice on his computer so fans can see it. He's great at those kinds of things. But that's just not my makeup."


Louisville was a unanimous pick to win the league title by the coaches at media day, but Pitino said that really doesn't matter.

He pointed out the preseason favorite always doesn't win.

"Who was picked last year?," Pitino said asked. "Syracuse?"

U of L made it to the Final Four last season after winning the Big East Tournament title in Madison Square Gardens.

"I think the players deserve it, and it's good for them," Pitino said. "But I can honestly say from knowing what is coming back that Notre Dame, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Marquette and Georgetown all could win it.

"And I am probably leaving out one or two schools."


U of L senior Peyton Siva wasn't just picked as the preseason Big East Player of the Year, but he also had to give a speed.

Siva was selected by the league as the one player to address the media before the interview sessions began.

"See I wrote out a long speech," Siva said the standing-room only crowd, showing a small piece of paper.

"I was nervous," Siva said.


The Big East Conference announced it has extended its agreement with Madison Square Gardens, the world's most famous arena, to keep the Big East Championship at the venue in New York City.

There was no official word on length of the new "multi-year" agreement but the conference called it long term. There had been some speculation that with the recent defections the Gardens and Big East might part ways when the current deal was expected to end in 2016.

Madison Square Gardens has been home to the event since 1983.

"Madison Square Garden has been the Big East's home for 30 years," commissioner Mike Aresc said. "We are happy that our teams will continue to bring the excitement of Big East basketball to the Garden."

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