Big East Notebook III - Thursday

It was a Dog Day afternoon in the Garden, where underdogs Georgetown and Marquette put another pin in the bubble of the double bye with wins over Syracuse and Villanova.

Those victories made top four teams 2-4 to that point in the two seasons the double bye existed. And when Notre Dame pushed that mark to 2-5 with an upset of Pitt in the evening session, the celebrations of the underdogs resounded throughout the World's Most Famous Arena.

There seems to be some buzz for a modified tournament layout next year, with the top four and bottom four teams playing on Tuesday, then taking Wednesday off while the middle eight teams play. The drawback to that would be that a big upset would mean one of the bottom four teams gets a rest day while the middle eight would not. However, every system has its flaws.

Big East officials told us that they expect the issue to be brought up again at the league meetings, although there isn't a set procedure that was known to exist for changing the tournament format. Any move would have to meet with the approval of at least a majority, and probably more, of the league's athletic directors.

I don't know if Thursday's results maen the double bye format is dead, but it's getting so much airplay and ink right now that it's not likely to be able to escape the scrutiny of public opinion. And that weight could certainly have an impact on league discussions.

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BGN staffer Patrick Southern noted that the key moment in the GeorgetownSyracuse game came not when the Hoys put together a run, but when a Syracuse fan failed to get a free t-shirt. During a timeout promotion, cheerleaders from both schools threw New York Life t-shirts into the stands, A rather exuberant Cuse fan hoooped and hollered for a shirt, and appeared to be a target for a throw. The shirt hit an usher and bounced away, however, and before the fan could move to secure it, a passerby picked it up and winged it over his head further into the crowd. The Syracuse fan went ballistic (over a $5 shirt?) but when play resumed Georgetown immediately went on a run to take the lead.

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Technical problems have plagued operations in the Garden. Internet service, both courtside and in the media work area, ranged from spotty to non-existent on Wednesday. Statistics that were typically beamed to the central scoreboard were absent for much of the MarquetteVillanova clash.

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Many important items get debated on the trip to New York. The hot topic this afternoon? What's the worst mascot in the Big East?

"Worst" of course is open to interpretation, whether it's the mascot itself, its costume, its behavior, or some other criteria. The leading votegetters were the Providence Friar (costume is a big piece of foam for a head and a sheet) and Otto the Orange.

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West Virginia's flight was delayed for approximately an hour in Clarksburg with a weight issue. That problem was apparently worked out with a different flight plan.

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WVU will be making its third consecutive appearance in the tournament semifinals.

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