20 Most Memorable Moments in Big East History

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 20, 2012

20 Most Memorable Moments in Big East History

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    The Big East Conference that we have all loved for over 30 years is about to cease and desist after this season.

    Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and Louisville are in the process of leaving for the ACC, while Rutgers is leaving for the Big 10.

    The final straw to break the Big East into pieces came last week when the seven basketball-only members decided to break away from the conference as well.

    With the Big East in shambles, here is look back at the 20 most memorable moments in conference history.

20. Big East Conference Is Formed

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    Before we look at some of the most memorable moments in Big East history, we have to acknowledge the beginning of the conference.

    A long time before conference realignment was even a thought, the Big East was formed in 1979. 

    Providence, St. John's, Georgetown, Syracuse, Seton Hall, UConn and Boston College started the conference with Villanova and Pittsburgh joining soon after. 

    Now, all of those original members except for UConn are on their way out or have already left the conference for greener pastures. 

19. Send It in Jerome!

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    Jan. 25, 1988 is a day that will forever link Bill Raftery and Jerome Lane together. 

    Lane made himself a permanent part of college basketball highlight reels with a dunk that shattered the glass.

    The player who assisted Lane on the play is current Arizona head coach Sean Miller. 

    The Big East may be going extinct but Raftery's call of Lane's dunk will never get old. 

18. Roy Hibbert Drains UConn

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    On Jan. 12, 2008, Roy Hibbert sent the Verizon Center crowd into an uproar with his winning shot against UConn. 

    With the two teams tied at 69, Hibbert received a pass and he took a step back behind the three-point line and won the game for the Hoyas. 

    Hibbert and the Hoyas would go on to finish 28-6. Their season would end at the hands of Stephen Curry and Davidson in the second round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. 

17. West Virginia Wins Their First and Only Big East Tournament

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    West Virginia was only in the Big East for a brief time and its biggest impact the Mountaineers had on the conference came in 2010. 

    The Mountaineers kept things close in each of their three games at Madison Square Garden. 

    Wins over Cincinnati and Notre Dame sent Bob Huggins' team to the championship game where they met Georgetown. 

    The Mountaineers were led by stars Da'Sean Butler and Devin Ebanks in their run to win the Big East tournament title and to the Final Four of the NCAA tournament, where they lost to Duke in the national semifinals. 

    Huggins and company departed the Big East last year for the Big 12. 

16. Jim Boeheim's 900th Win

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    Jim Boeheim has been the head coach of Syracuse since they joined the Big East.

    No other head coach better represents the the Big East than Boeheim does. 

    With a win over Detroit on Monday, Boeheim became the third coach in men's basketball history to reach 900 wins in his career. 

    One of the final straws that marked the end of the Big East as we know it came the conference's biggest supporter decided to move to the ACC with Pittsburgh and Notre Dame after this season. 

15. 2010 Backyard Brawls

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    One of the best rivalries to grace the Big East was the Backyard Brawl between Pittsburgh and West Virginia.

    In February 2010, the two teams played two games within a span of nine days. 

    In the first game at West Virginia, Mountaineer fans began throwing objects on the court, which was stopped by Bob Huggins addressing the crowd in the second half.

    Nine days later at the Petersen Events Center, the two teams played one of the best games in rivalry and Big East history. 

    The game went to triple overtime where Pitt came out victorious over then fifth-ranked West Virginia.

    As a consequence of conference realignment, the Backyard Brawl was discontinued this season when the Mountaineers moved to the Big 12. 

14. Taliek Brown's Game Winner

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    In the early 2000s, UConn and Pittsburgh had one of the best rivalries in college basketball.

    In the 2002 Big East basketball tournament, Taliek Brown won the tournament for UConn with a three pointer from way beyond the arc. 

    Brown's shot came in double overtime with the Huskies up by two. 

    The two teams would also meet in the Big East tournament final in 2003 and 2004 with Pitt winning in 2003 and UConn winning in 2004. 

    However, neither of those games were as memorable as the one that started the UConn-Pitt rivalry. 

13. St. John's Wins First Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden

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    The Big East tournament settled in at Madison Square Garden in 1983 and was won by the hometown team, St. John's. 

    Led by tournament MVP Chris Mullin, the Red Storm defeated Pittsburgh, Villanova and Boston College on their way to the conference crown.

    Prior to 1983, the tournament was held at the Providence Civic Center, the Carrier Dome and the Hartford Civic Center. 

12. The Truth Rejects the Pearl

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    The second Big East tournament title won by St. John's came in 1986. 

    St. John's star Walter "The Truth" Berry came up with the biggest play in the final seconds of the tournament. 

    Berry's rejection of Dwayne "Pearl" Washington in the final seconds gave the Red Storm the victory. 

    As a consolation, Washington won the Big East tournament MVP while Berry and teammate Mark Jackson made the all-tournament team. 

11. Rick Pitino Leads Providence to the Final Four

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    Providence was one step away from reaching the Final Four in 1987 when they ran into Big East rival, Georgetown. 

    The Friars, led by coach Rick Pitino and point guard Billy Donovan, defeated UAB, Austin Peay and Alabama before reaching the elite eight against the Hoyas. 

    Providence cruised to victory over the Hoyas but they were unable to conquer Syracuse to reach the national championship game. 

    1987 was the final season for Pitino in Providence, since Pitino left the program the Friars have only made six appearances in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. 

10. Seton Hall Upsets Georgetown

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    Seton Hall has not been one of the best basketball programs in the Big East but they have had their moments of glory in the conference. 

    The first big upset came in 1991 when the Pirates took advantage of four upsets in the first round of the Big East tournament. 

    The Pirates were the only one of the top four seeds to advance to the semifinals. 

    In the semifinals, Seton Hall defeated eighth seed Villanova to advance to the championship game against sixth seed Georgetown. 

    In the final, Big East tournament MVP Oliver Taylor led the Pirates to take down the Big East powerhouse 74-62.

9. 1981 Big East Tournament Championship

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    There have been three Big East tournament championship games to go into overtime. 

    The first of those overtime games came in 1981 when Syracuse defeated Villanova in three overtimes at the Carrier Dome. 

    Tournament MVP Leo Rautins tipped in the winning shot with three seconds left to put the Orange ahead by one point. 

    The Orangemen would end up winning 83-80 and claiming their first Big East tournament title. 

8. Georgetown Closes out Manley Fieldhouse

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    Manley Fieldhouse was the home of Syracuse basketball from 1962 to 1980.

    In the final game at the building, Syracuse hosted rivals Georgetown. 

    John Thompson's Hoyas snapped Syracuse's 57-game home winning streak with a 52-50 win over the second-ranked Orangemen. 

    Syracuse's men's basketball program moved to the Carrier Dome in 1981. 

7. Ray Allen's Winning Shot

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    The 1996 Big East tournament championship was dubbed "The Battle of the Allens" as Ray Allen and UConn took on Allen Iverson and Georgetown. 

    With 14 seconds left in the game, Allen made the game-winning shot to give UConn a 75-74 victory. 

    Allen also won the battle of the Allens in the NBA as he is still shooting three-pointers while all Iverson left us with one of the best press conferences in NBA history. 

6. Three Big East Teams Make 1985 Final Four

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    In 1985, the Big East put three teams into the Final Four. 

    Villanova, Georgetown and St. John's all made it into the national semifinals at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. 

    Georgetown defeated St. John's, 77-59, while Villanova took down Memphis State, 52-45. 

    Georgetown and Villanova faced each other in the championship game, which is a moment that will live in Big East history forever.

5. Syracuse's Miraculous Big East Tournament Run

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    Syracuse entered the 2006 Big East tournament as the number nine seed. 

    In their first game against Cincinnati, Gerry McNamara hit a game winning one-handed three-pointer.

    That was just the beginning of the historic finishes by Jim Boeheim's team. 

    McNamara sent the Orange's quarterfinal game with UConn into overtime, which was eventually won by Syracuse in the extra period. 

    Against Georgetown, Eric Devendorf played the role of hero by scoring a layup with 1.5 seconds left. 

    In the final against Pittsburgh, the Orange won by four points, their largest margin of victory in the tournament. 

    The clutch run by the Orange was stopped in the first round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, when they lost to Texas A&M. 

4. Scottie Reynolds Drives the Length of the Court to Beat Pitt

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    In one of the most memorable games in NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament history, Villanova beat Pittsburgh in the elite eight. 

    After Pitt's Levance Fields tied the game at 76, Scottie Reynolds took the in bounds pass and drove the length of the court to score the winning bucket. 

    Reynolds' game-winner advanced the Wildcats to the Final Four, where they lost to North Carolina in the national semifinals. 

3. Cardiac Kemba

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    2011 was the year of Kemba Walker and the UConn Huskies. 

    Walker scored 130 points in five games of the Big East Tournament including his game-winner over Pittsburgh in the quarterfinals. 

    UConn became the first team in Big East tournament history to win five games in five days to clinch the Big East tournament title.

    The Huskies were not done after winning the Big East tournament, they went on to shock the whole nation won they won the national title.

    Jim Calhoun's team defeated Butler, 53-41, to win their third national championship. 

2. Syracuse and UConn Go Six Overtimes

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    The best game in the history of the Big East tournament occurred on March 12, 2009 when Syracuse and UConn played in the tournament quarterfinal. 

    The Orange and Huskies six overtime game almost ended in regulation but Eric Devendorf's shot was disallowed after he failed to shoot before time expired. 

    In the third overtime, Andy Rautins' three with 11 seconds left continued the game that no one wanted to end. 

    After plenty of missed potential game-winning shots in the first five overtimes, Syracuse pulled away in the sixth overtime to win 127-117. 

    The next night, the Orange won in overtime against West Virginia in the semifinals.

    Jim Boeheim's team could not pull off the unthinkable and win the championship, they lost to Louisville by 10 points in the final. 

1. Villanova Upsets Georgetown to Win NCAA Title

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    The most memorable moment in Big East history comes from the 1985 National Championship game between Villanova and Georgetown. 

    Villanova were the eighth seed in the South region and performed the unthinkable with a win over number one seed, Georgetown. 

    Ed Pinckney and the Wildcats pulled out a two point victory over the defending champion Hoyas, 66-64.

    While Villanova and Georgetown will still be paired together in their new conference, they will always be tied back to the all-Big East National Championship game.

    What do you think is the most memorable moment in Big East history?

    Comment below or leave me a comment on Twitter @JTansey90.