Big East Home Cookin’

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by Doug Potter

Men’s College Basketball is very different than the NBA, we know that. But why? We can throw away the obvious answers; age, experience, skill level, and the abundance of hefty salaries left and right. Why then do people enjoy watching the college kids shoot the rock more than the superstars in the NBA if the NBA has bigger, faster, older, more skilled guys playing the game we all love for a living? One reason: The Fans.

The fans at almost ANY college basketball game will include the likes of chest painting, chants, signs, and the rowdy student section, while the NBA resorts to playing hit music on the most recent top 20 countdown to keep the fans interested during the game. As much as it kills me to say this, the best place to watch a basketball game at ANY level has to be Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, NC, home of the Duke Blue Devils. The arena seats less than 10,000 but it’s clearly quality not quantity. The atmosphere, which includes the roughly 2,000 “Cameron Crazies” made up of the die-hard students of Duke University, is one of the hardest to play in for visiting teams. This is solely because of the fans and their drive to support their team, which greatly exceeds the drive of NBA fans.

We now switch our attention from one of the greatest college basketball programs of all time to this seasons’ deepest conference, the Big East. At one point two weeks ago, this conference had nine teams in the Top 25 and still currently has eight (with six in the top 12). The main reason for their success has got to be their ability to defend their home court. It’s next to impossible for a team in the Big East to win on the road. Literally.

After tonight, with UConn withstanding the storm brought on them by a good Villanova team earning them a good home win and Rutgers falling to a hot Louisville team at home, all Big East teams are now a combined 142-33 (.811 win pct.) at home! Now tell me the home teams aren’t putting something in their water! Looking even further, though, the current top 8 teams in the Big East standings (Marquette, Louisville, UConn, Pitt, Syracuse, Providence, Georgetown, and Notre Dame) are 83-6 (.933 win pct) when they put on their home white uni’s.

The most recent impressive home win came this past Saturday from the conference’s hottest team as the Louisville Cardinals defeated the previously top-ranked Pittsburgh Panthers 69-63 at home and with their win tonight, Louisville has now won five in a row with quality wins such as a much improved Kentucky team, Villanova, and Notre Dame. The Cardinals are now 14-3 overall after suffering from an abysmal start with losses to Western Kentucky, Dayton, and UNLV. They are now 5-0 in the conference and on the season they are hmm… 11-1 at home, what a coincidence!

The home cookin’ in the Big East this year is more apparent than ever. I’m not saying it won’t change eventually and start to even itself out, but for right now I think it’s safe to say we all can start a petition for the Big East tournament to be moved to a neutral site. (St. John’s now has 2 to 1 odds, which continue to rise, to be the Big East Tournament Champs)

16 Responses to "Big East Home Cookin’"

  1. Casey   January 22, 2009 at 11:56 am

    Slaggin’ on Duke and the mid-majors – that’s all right. The Hilltoppers, they only advanced to the Sweet 16 last year. Yeah they’re without Courtney Lee…but abysmal. Ouch! 🙂

    Louisville didn’t lose to Dayton. That was Marquette. The Flyers beat Marquette…by double figures may I add. Lou-ville lost to Minnesota along with Western Kentucky and UNLV – winners of a first-round game in last year’s NCAA tournament. Geez you big-time guys are so harsh. 🙂 No respect for the mid-majors.

  2. crossword pete   January 22, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    How DO you say the capital of Kentucky? Loo a vewl, Louieville, Lewisville, or Casey’s Lou-ville?

  3. crossword pete   January 22, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Doug, you are so right about Cameron. When I attended a game there I was absolutely dumbfounded by and totally impressed with the research and organization that goes into the “Crazies” cheers and chants for every game. A “script” is handed to students as they enter and the resulting unity creates havoc for any opponent.

  4. Wally   January 22, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Pete —
    I lived in Lou’ville for a year, so feel qualified to answer. It’s only 2 syllables run together real fast … and ya gotta say it with a faux southern drawl … kinda like Bob Davie, the former ND coach who provides white noise commentary for ESPN’s early Sat Big 10 games.

  5. Wally   January 22, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    Oh … and Lou’ville is not the capital of the commonwealth … Frankfort is.

  6. Casey   January 22, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    aw shoot – so it’s the apostrophe and not the hyphen? Dang! And i thought I had it right all these years. 🙂

  7. Wally   January 22, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    That’s right. You see … if it’s the hyphen, then it’s like : Lou. Ville. which is too strung out … too separate. But with the apostrophe, its Louville … all run together with no pause. Surely you can see that.

    It’s like N’awlins … very similar.

  8. Casey   January 22, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    HELMET STICKER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Mark Twain is absolutely beaming right now!! 🙂

  9. crossword pete   January 22, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    And Wally caught my joke. You pronounce the capital of Ky FRANKFORT! I but your apostrophe, but I think the second syllable is not “ville” but “vul” or “vewl”. Wally?

  10. crossword pete   January 22, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    Previous comment should read “I BUY your apostrophe”. Sorry for the typo.

  11. Wally   January 23, 2009 at 11:32 am

    The northern half of the city goes with “vil”, but the southern half goes with “vul”. Good catch, Pete!

  12. crossword pete   January 23, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    WOW! Is that like a civil war? I gotta tell ya’; the southern half would drive me nuts.

  13. Wally   January 23, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Yep. We lived on the northern side, but pretty close to the border. You could hear the occasional gun and cannon fire. And at night, you could see those “Vuls” lightin’ up their tobacco products in the distance. Being “Vils”, we just drank the whiskey.

  14. crossword pete   January 23, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    Puttin’ Lewis-ville on my bucket list for sure, maybe at Darby time, heh?

  15. Wally   January 24, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    We loved it there. Unfortunately it only lasted a year. The place really comes alive in February … what a hotbed for college hoops! It’s a confluence of fans and teams with great traditions: Lou’ville, Kentucky, Cinci, Indiana, W KY, etc. Then the Derby comes around … a weeklong party.

    It’s like the South, but it isn’t … there’s a mix of both and that’s probably what I really liked about it. Plus, THE MILD WINTERS! An inch of snow would cause the entire city to shut down. Don’t get much.

  16. Rey   January 24, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    Syracuse is pulling its best impression of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde when it comes to its play at home versus on the road. Very frustrating. It’s been a while since I’ve been to a ‘Cuse game, but the atmosphere there, in part because of its 30,000 fans, make it really tough for opposing teams.

    UCONN is continuing its strangle hold on this conference, breaking ND’s home win streak tonight 69-61. Harangody was the onlt Irish player in double figures. McAlarney went 3-15. Time to take him off of the all-Casey team? I hate UCONN because it seems like they dog it defensively 30% of the time. They continue to get by with their rediculous athelticism.

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