It's been a magical two days for West Virginia in the Big East Basketball championships. Herewith, some quick observations from a thoroughly enjoyable 30 hours at the greatest stage on earth.
This column will probably reflect my state of mind and emotions at the moment – jumping all over the place – wild with excitement. Hang with me if you can, and I apologize in advance if this hops more than a jackrabbit on a Texas highway in summertime.
How sweet was it to watch the fans from Notre Dame, Boston College and Pitt walk out losers – in consecutive games? There hasn't been a bigger evil trio since the Joker, the Riddler and the Penguin.
Making the previous item all the sweeter was the fact that many Pitt fans were cheering for the Mountaineers down the stretch. When Kevin Pittsnogle hit his huge three-pointer to put WVU up by 11 points late in the game, the Oakland Zoo (which is what the Pitt student section is known as) went bananas. After losing their game, I wonder what kind of bad taste they have in their mouths now?
In fact, just about everyone in the Garden, other than B.C. fans, were cheering for the Mountaineers as they dumped the traitors from Beantown. And those fans produced one of the sweetest moments of the tournament thus far in the waning moments of the game.
As WVU locked up the contest, the mocking chant of "ACC, ACC" began raining down from the seats, taunting the departing Eagles as they exited the conference. Of course, BC will probably do pretty well in the ACC, considering the fact that the two worst teams in the Big East a year ago finished in the middle of the pack in that league.
My guess is that BC probably wishes Doug Flutie would quit showing up at games against West Virginia. Flutie, who got loads of television attention, again saw his team come out on the short end of the scoreboard against the Mountaineers.
The Garden is definitely a who's who of the sporting world. Just a few of the notables seen in and around 31st and 7th included Jerry West, former Boston Celtics coach John Carroll, Celtics executive and West Virginia native Chris Wallace, former Georgetown coach John Thompson and former St. John's star Chris Mullin.
There were also a number of high-profile journalists in attendance including Bob Ryan, Mike Lupica, and George Vescey.
The punk attitude and immature behavior of BC's Jared Dudley and Sean Williams make the Eagles hard to like. It also makes sending them home that much sweeter.
The feeling that your team has won, and is playing again tomorrow, is incredibly sweet after a few years of losing early and going home almost before the tournament is underway. I've had a few nice conversations with various fans in the stands, and it's fun to watch later games without the empty feeling that losses leave.
The Big East needs to improve its souvenir offerings. A Tshirt, two golf shirts and a hat is kind of slim pickings on the apparel scene. Hopefully, next season, the styles and number of items will increase.
The Big East also unveiled a new commercial touting the toughness of the league next year, when Cincinnati, Louisville, Marquette, DePaul and South Florida join. Apparently, a new logo will also be used when the league expands to sixteen teams.
Going out to eat Thursday night, we received congratulations from a number of passersby on the street, as well as at Keen's Steakhouse where we chowed down on one of the best steaks I've ever had. Of course, we were flying our West Virginia gear proudly, so it was easy to pick us out.
ESPN has leaped aboard the WVU bandwagon, and has really been trumpeting the Mountaineers' achievements so far this week. It's great to see the flying WV all over the tube, as well as hear all the great comments about WVU's play.