Welcome to the refreshed Big East Coast Bias! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card [contest rules]. We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well.
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Growing up in the Northeast, it was pretty easy to get attached to college basketball. Unlike the Midwest and Southeast especially, college football isn’t and wasn’t super prominent, with few exceptions. There was Rutgers’ run in 2006 and 2007. There was Boston College somehow, someway, jumping up to #2 in the country (shout out to 2016 NFL MVP, and my favorite NFL team’s QB, Matt Ryan — make your 28-3 jokes at your own discretion).
Syracuse had Donovan McNabb, Hofstra did have Wayne Chrebet and there was also that one time that UConn made the Fiesta Bowl. Penn State and Pitt were the prominent football teams, but you found attachment that way most of the time if you were an alum or if you were a native of PA.
College hoops though? College hoops immersed the area. ‘Cuse, UConn, Seton Hall, Villanova; UMass, Providence, St. John’s, Temple; St. Joe’s (especially in ‘04), Penn, La Salle; the list goes on and on. If you’re from the Northeast and weren’t a fan of college hoops, it either wasn’t of your taste buds or you just chose to ignore it.
And obviously, the Big East Conference was the preeminent force in the land. I don’t need to beat it into your head. If you’re a reader of the site, you know all the history. You know all the moments. You’ve probably tried to mimic Kemba Walker’s stepback jumper. You know how much Madison Square Garden means to the Big East. You’ve grown accustomed to Bill Raftery providing the soundtrack for some of the conference’s best moments and games.
As time’s gone on, the Big East has evolved. It’s not the conglomerate it once was, but there’s still plenty of semblances of nostalgia scattered about. There’s still top-quality basketball. New York City and The Garden remains its home every March (try as other conferences might to steal the spotlight). And as far as this writer’s concerned, the Big East will always have a spot in my heart for helping me become fascinated with college hoops.
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