| Sports

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Pitt prepares to say goodbye to Big East, make one last tournament title run

ACC Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Brandin Knight holds up the 2003 Big East championship trophy.
Related Stories

Kevin Gorman podcasts

  • Loading...
Sunday, March 10, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Playing the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden, in the heart of the media capital of the world, captured college basketball's characters.

From the signature sweaters of Lou Carnesecca and John Thompson to the Beast of the East nickname placed on Patrick Ewing, the Big East provided a colorful cast from the beginning.

“I don't think it can ever be replicated,” said former Pitt star Charles Smith, the 1988 conference Player of the Year. “The Big East will go down as the most exciting conference in college basketball. We had coaches who were personalities. You had players who were characters. They weren't just names.”

Eventually, Pitt became the toast of the Big Apple. The Panthers played in the Big East championship game seven times in eight seasons from 2001-08.

Julius Page played in four consecutive Big East finals, winning MVP in 2003, and always will remember the ride.

“To go there and have success made it more fun,” Page said. “That feeling — getting on the bus every single game and seeing all the fans in their school colors — that never gets old.”

The Panthers are hoping to make one last title run before joining the ACC this summer.

“It's sad to see it coming to an end like this,” said Pitt assistant coach Brandin Knight, the 2003 Big East co-Player of the Year, “but because of what we've been able to accomplish the last 10 years or so in the league and the Big East Tournament, the expectation there is that we're going to be there for the entire week, we're going to win.”

Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.




Show commenting policy

Most-Read Pitt

  1. Pitt O-line responds to coach’s challenge
  2. Former Steelers assistant Archer returns to Heinz Field with Virginia
  3. Pitt football team staying humble amid 3-1 start
  4. Pitt notebook: RB Ollison thriving with aggressive running style
  5. Same cast, improved results for Pitt defense
  6. Pitt women’s soccer makes history; West Virginia doesn’t want to repeat it
  7. Pitt notebook: Panthers keeping many players involved
  8. Defense is 1st priority at Pitt hoops opens practice
  9. Pitt holds off Virginia Tech in ACC opener
  10. Pitt notebook: Voytik proves value by baffling Hokies with running ability
  11. Pitt runner Boxheimer has national meet in sight