The promos are all set. Looie and Rollie drink red and white in the Blue-grass. Grandmaster John challenges Colonel Sanders to a game of chicken. That's about it for the 1985 Final Four in Lexington, Ky. Welcome to the Return of the Big East tournament, starring Georgetown, St. John's and Villanova in their original roles and featuring Memphis State as Seton Hall. With all the Jesuits and Vincentians and Augustinians running around, maybe they should call this The Least Coast CYO All-Star Review. Father Guido Sarducci can throw up the first ball.
What has happened to turn our so-called national tournament into a parochial festival? Well, relax. Remember, Georgetown and St. John's were the favorites to win the East and West Regional anyway. And just because Rollie Massimino coached his ample tail off so that his veteran Villanova crew—third place in the Big East—could win the Southeast doesn't mean a dynasty is brewing up in the mean-streets megalopolis. What? Boston College should have won the Midwest? Got beat by Memphis State on a fluke? Would have whipped Oklahoma too? BC spoiled an all-Big East party in the Final Four by the hairiest of margins? Oh. Well, that's true.
"We knew for a long time our league was this good," said St. John's coach Lou Carnesecca. "But this year has been the most competitive ever. Bloodbats every night. Real bloodbats." 'Nova's Ed Pinckney kept saying that having played against Georgetown and Ewing, Big East teams were prepared for anything. In other words, the Tar Heels' Warren Martin, for instance, must have seemed like Warren Beatty. "I guess you'd have to say we're pretty good," said Massimino, referring to the six years-young conference. "We're like a family, the guys and I. John [Thompson]. Little Looie. My good friend at BC, Gary Williams.... That makes it easy for us to do it." Whatever that implies, what has happened this year is a historic first: three teams from the same conference in the Final Four. Georgetown must be laughing all the way to the bloodbat.