That's the first real memory I have of Big East basketball. I'm not even making this up for effect.
It was 1995. My family had finally taken the plunge and signed up for...wait for it...cable television. I was young. Third or fourth grade, and nearly all of my college basketball consumption to date was through March Madness on CBS.
I really liked Duke, but I also really didn't know any better.
Then when the number of available channels on my family's living room television ballooned from five to 55, I became exposed to a whole new world. Most importantly, Championship Week.
In the 1995 Big East Tournament, Croshere was a sophomore role player at Providence College, a team that had a lost a lot of key players after winning the whole damn thing the previous season.
In the Friars quarterfinal game against Syracuse, the first sporting event broadcast on cable in my home, Austin absolutely went off. He scored a career-high 28 points - 18 points in the game's final 10 minutes - and led the Friars to a dramatic upset overtime victory.
The New York Post's Howard Blatt called Croshere "an outrageous force" in his game recap. It was truly mesmerizing theater, and something you couldn't have watched on channels 6, 8 or 13.
Austin Croshere. My first memory of Big East basketball. Seriously, folks. That guy had a profound impact on my youth.
The following year Ray Allen and Allen Iverson put on a show for the ages in the final, and it confirmed to me that I would never be able to live a fulfilling life without Big East basketball.
Watching Big East teams compete against the backdrop of Madison Square Garden the second weekend of every March is one of the most exciting yet comfortable annual experiences, and naturally my interest in the league's post-season tournament has bled into it's regular season build-up.
As the founder of the now defunct and fairly Big East-centric SearchingForBillyEdelin.com, I'm thrilled to be joining SB Nation's Big East Coast Bias as a college basketball contributor.
Frankly, I feel like this pocket of the blogosphere is one that I am most familiar with. Geographically speaking, I was born, raised and live in these parts, and understand where Big East basketball fits within the culture of the I-95 corridor, and how many of the newly joined programs might not actually be such a bad addition to such a competitive and meaningful league.
Mark Ennis has done a fantastic job building a community here, and I jumped at the opportunity to come on board for the 2012-2013 season to stretch my tentacles into an engaged audience that will probably both love and hate me equally.
In addition to my work here, I will be contributing to Mid Major Madness, SBNation.com and perhaps making some appearances on the network's fantastic YouTube channel.
The Big East may be in a bit of a state of flux, but that shouldn't prevent us from bidding adieu to Mike Brey, praising Pitino's attire, or heckling the Georgetown Hoyas. Counting down the days to Calhoun's retirement was also something we could have looked forward to, but I suppose we'll have to consider this a zero sum game: one legend leaves the Big East, and someone like me steps in.
You didn't really have a say, but thanks for letting me jump into the BECB fray. Here's to ranting...