Other schools' cheerleaders, just part of the pageantry at the Conference Tourney.
Since Wednesday is kind of a down day of NCAA Week for Marquette fans (we can get back to fretting over how we're gonna guard Noah Hartsock later), I thought we would take a moment to check in with your boy Warrior Brad. Brad had the opportunity to follow the Golden Eagles to NYC for the conference tourney last week. Since he was the first Anonymous Eagle to make that trek, we wanted to hear his tales of the experience. Here's his take:
Mr. K: You're a veteran of many conference tournaments, but this was your first time at the Big East Tourney. How much more awesome was it than every other tournament you went to?
WB: I've been to one each of the Big XII, C-USA and Big East tournaments. They have all sucked equally considering my team has lost their opening game in each tournament. Getting beyond that, the Big East tournament easily takes the cake. Where to begin? First off, Madison Square Garden is a special place to watch a game. There's a ton of juice in that arena and the low ceiling makes it extra loud. Even though the Big East is terrible this year, the quality of teams easily surpassed both C-USA and the Big XII.
Mr. K: One of the best things about conference tourneys is getting to see the other schools supporting casts -- cheerleaders, band, etc. So which school had:
The dorkiest band?
WB: We were 40 rows up from the bands, so it was a little hard to determine. But, I'd have to go with Louisville and their dorky white hats. You may notice a Louisville theme developing... The worst band was certainly Georgetown. I don't play an instrument, but they were gawdawful to my untrained ears. They did play the theme from "Inspector Gadget" though, which was fun.
The most "talented" dance squad (besides South Florida of course)?
WB: Mr. K, you know the answer to this. In the absence of the Memphis Tigers dance team, the choice is ALWAYS the Lady Birds of Louisville.
The most obnoxious, overly repeated cheer that you found yourself hearing in your sleep?
WB: The C-A-R-D-S Cards! cheer is especially awful, but I have to give it to USF's bullfighter song that they play incessantly. You may remember that from watching the USF-MU game on USFsports.com back when Jerel McNeal made the big steal and layup for the win in the late aughts. Hearing that annoying song 47 times at the end of the Bulls' atrocious games was nauseating.
More stories from our intrepid reporter after the jump.
Mr. K: The other great thing about the conference tourney is the chance to interact with every other school's fans. So:
Whose were the best?
WB: I had fun with Syracuse fans, believe it or not. I was delighted to see them lose, but we chatted it up with a lot of Orange. They were in good spirits besides some serious Scoop Jardine hatred.
Whose were the worst?
WB: West Virginia fans were the worst. From constant "MVP!" chants to Big XII signs to quite shocking (even for me) language, they were awful. This is even more impressive because they only had one game to drive me nuts and I was high off the buzz of my first game in the Garden.
Mr. K: Did you find yourself hanging around other fans of the former CUSA schools, like it was the first day at a new school and you see the group of kids you kinda sorta know, so you just naturally gravitate towards them?
WB: No, not at all. First of all, I spotted 3 DePaul fans. I ran into a lot of UL fans, but struck up no conversations. We had a bit of a parlor game trying to find Cincinnati fans the first few games. Same thing for USF.
Mr. K: Was their solidarity amongst the fans of the basketball only schools? Like every time you passed a Providence or St. John's fan, did you exchange a glance that said "Fuck the football schools"?
WB: It was more of a solidarity against Syracuse. For example, we were two rows below the upper press box, which was mercifully empty for most games. Before the Georgetown-Pitt game, I asked a couple of Georgetown student journalists if they could plug in my phone. The girl (kinda cute) responded with "Well, you aren't an Orange fan, of course I will." I like that, and she was kinda cute.
I also didn't trust myself around Providence fans. I knew I would go full asshole and make Keno Davis jokes.
Mr. K: Did you meet any Seton Hall skanks that invited you back to South Orange for a true Jersey experience? If you had, would you have gone?
WB: No, but we did meet a quite fetching Villanova fan from Hoboken, who was feeding her underage sister beers all game.
Me: "Um, dude, I think she's like 18."
Seatmate: "No, she's older than that..."
Hot Nova Girl: "Should my sister go to Nova or Georgetown?"
Hot Nova Girl's downfall was that she was dating a Notre Dame guy.
Mr. K: Everyone hates Syracuse, right?
WB: Does the pope shit in the woods? I did find most of them fun.
Mr. K: Of course, we all know, that this could very well be the end of the Big East Tournament as we have come to know. Was their a pall hanging over the festivities? Like a somber celebration of the passing of the Big East's greatness?
WB: There was a bit of a pall. It was brought up in EVERY conversation. We sat by some UConn guys on Day One and they swore up and down that this was their last year coming to the tournament after 20 straight years.
Mr. K: I don't really want to bring it up, but how were things when Marquette didn't perform as we had all hoped they would? Were the Louisville fans insufferable afterwards?
WB: There was an insufferable Louisville fan that sat in front of us for the MU game and the semifinal game. She (yes, she) was insufferable. She had a blender box that she cut up and used for a sign. The sign spelled out "CARDS" with her season tickets for the Cholesterol Bucket. She had spray-on tan and blond hair that was certainly a fire hazard. She screamed in the voice of the PA announcer at the Cholesterol Bucket every time a UL player scored. Then, we saw her at a bar about 20 blocks away from the arena on Saturday before the game and again on Sunday at LaGuardia. She was so horrible that the MU couple in front of us watched the 2nd half of the MU-UL game from the tunnel entrance.
Mr. K: Being that you were on hand for both, which loss was more confounding -- this one or 2003 against UAB?
WB: UAB for sure. Louisville is a good team and we played like crap even though we are a good team. That 2003 team was great and they played a mediocre UAB team and played like absolute crap.
Mr. K: Did you feel a little cheated that you went all the way to New York and ended up seeing a championship game that featured the powers of the Metro Conference?
WB: Oh yes, but the upshot is that we were able to score fantastic seats for the final. Even though I'm a transplant fan, I found myself rooting for every old school Big East team. Too many memories of Mutumbo and Mourning on Big Monday.
Mr. K: How many Yuenglings did you consume in your 4 days in NYC?
WB: They weren't all Yuenglings, but I probably put down at least a case of Pennsylvania's brew. At $6-10 a pop, that's a lot of lager.
Mr. K: I'm chartreuse with envy that I was unable to go with this year.... Wanna go again next year?
WB: I spent at least $600 only food and beer, so we'll have to see... Wait, hell yes, I'll do it. Let's book it.