If I can make it there
I can make it anywhere
It's up to you
New York, New York
While the players on the 16 teams coming to Madison Square Garden this week for the 2012 Big East Tournament may not be pumping too much Frank Sinatra through their headphones there isn't likely a single one of them that would question this message about making it in the Big Apple.
And, if anyone does then he should kindly consult Kemba Walker and the 2011 UConn Huskies.
Featuring some of the biggest brand names in college hoops and taking place on the sport's most hallowed ground, the Big East Tournament is considered the ultimate proving ground for teams on the cusp of the NCAA tournament. Last year, UConn arrived at Seventh Avenue and 32nd Street in free fall, having lost 4 of their last 5 games. They were the No. 9 seed in the Big East tourney and seemed destined for a line not much better in the Big Dance and likely a quick exit.
But Walker ignited his team and the Huskies burned through the competition for 11 straight victories. First, they took the Big East Tournament title with five wins in five days and then they navigated all the way the through the madness of March to cut down the nets in Houston.
Syracuse enters the 2012 Big East tournament as the odds-on favorite but perhaps one of these teams -- none lacking for confidence -- can ride an individual's heroic performance past Jim Boeheim's exceptionally balanced Orange. Marguette, Georgetown, Notre Dame and Cincinnati all seem the likeliest candidates to topple the top seed but don't forget about this year's No. 9 seed -- the UConn Huskies.
Although Walker is now plying his trade in the NBA, coach Jim Calhoun has finally returned to the team after dealing with health issues throughout the season and could be able to inspire another run from a talented but uneven group.
VOTE ON WHICH BIG EAST TEAM YOU THINK WILL WIN THE 2012 CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT:
*Odds courtesy of Bovada.