Because the Big East has sixteen teams, the five-day tournament ends up turning into one of those old Legend of Zelda, Metroid type video games where, once you clear a level, a whole new batch of enemies, completely rested and with a full power bar, come marching in to attack. Four bad guys, the Glass Joes of the league, were dispatched yesterday, and four more are coming today. And four more tomorrow. Maybe someday the Big East will have 32 members, and this tournament can last two weeks.
Anyway, the highlight of yesterday, at least locally, was St. John’s upset of Connecticut, officially knocking the Huskies off the NCAA Tournament bubble and leaving the Red Storm just a wee four wins away from the tournament themselves. St. John’s tips off at approximately 2:35 p.m. today against Marquette, a team that’s comfortably in the field of 65 but might like a win or two to boost its seeding. As Joe — who will be at today’s game as well — mentioned yesterday, this is a rematch of the NYC College Hoops Tour game in which the Golden Eagles won on a last-second shot in overtime. The winner has the honor of playing Villanova tomorrow. Like yesterday, it’s extremely possible that this is Norm Roberts’s last game as coach.
Today tips off with South Florida, a team squarely on the tourney bubble themselves, playing Georgetown. The evening slate features bubbler Seton Hall — it is not true that half the NCAA tourney teams will be from the Big East; it just feels like it — taking on Notre Dame, and Cincinnati playing Rick Pitino and Louisville. We mean no offense to the Knicks here when we say that this is the most exciting basketball week the Garden has had since the Big East tournament was here last year. FINISH HIM!