Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now



A Look at Big East Basketball, Then and Now 4

Posted on February 19, 2011 by Ray Thompson

A young Lou Carnesecca coaching Chris Mullin at St. Johns.

In 1985, The Big East conference dominated the national rankings and the NCAA tournament, sending 3 teams to the final four (Georgetown, Villanova, and St. Johns) with two of those teams vying for the national championship.

Georgetown and Villanova played one of the greatest finals games in history and to this day this game is considered one of the biggest upsets in college basketball. A game in which a heavily favored Georgetown team, coached by John Thompson, and lead by a dominant Patrick Ewing lost to underdog Villanova, a team coached by Rollie Massimino and featured Ed Pinckney winning the MVP as Villanova won the tournament in stunning fashion by a margin of two points.

The Big East was special that year for the amazing amount of talent that was in the conference combined with a crop of energetic coaches, in the prime or in the early years of their respective careers, matching wits in what was at the time the best college basketball conference.

Three time Big East player of the year Chris Mullin played on that St. John’s team coached by Lou Carnesecca (remember those sweaters), A young Gary Williams was coaching a solid BC team featuring Michael Adams in the backcourt, and Syracuse had a great team that year featuring Dwayne “Pearl” Washington and Rony Seikaly coached by one of the greatest basketball coaches in history, Jim Boeheim. These players are now legends, many of whom went on to NBA careers. It was their journey through the Big East conference, the elite conference in the nation in 1984 – 1985, that helped make them the great players they would become.

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