Garden Party

4:02 AM.

Big red numbers to match my blurry blue eyes.

“I’m really up this early,” I ask myself out loud to no one in particular.

On Tuesday morning – early on Tuesday morning – I woke up to train into Penn Station and watch the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden. This seemed like a great idea in October. I’d work super early on Tuesday, ride up mid-day, catch up with some friends before the games and train back after the second game. And then promptly crash on Wednesday.

4:03 AM. I wanted to punch October me squarely in the face.

As I’ve mentioned in previous blog entries, I’m lucky enough to get a vote in the AP Top 25 for college hoops this season. So, I thought I’d take a few trips. The first one couldn’t have been an easier call. I like to think of my visit to MSG as a holiday gift to myself. It’s also a good excuse to actually go out and see some of the team that I have the honor of ranking them throughout the season.

Georgetown, Texas, UConn and N.C. State all took place in front of a mild crown at the Garden on Tuesday night. The biggest takeaway? N. C. State is the best team of the foursome that I saw on Tuesday and the Garden crowd turned into a UConn crowd for one night. That was unusual.

The point of the Classic is to promote the awareness of cancer and donate money toward a hopeful cure against the dreaded disease. My Dad spent a great deal of time dealing with skin cancer. You likely know someone who may not have been as lucky as my father, who has made a full recovery.

To understand how big New York City really is, you have to imagine a huge building inside of a huge building.

Penn Station in Manhattan takes a solid hour to figure out – and even that’s a reach. Inside the maze that doubles as a mall, Penn Station will spit you out if you can’t keep up with the flow. There’s no stand to the left there. This isn’t a people mover at the airport. As the insurance commercial goes, this is New York.

It’s tough, unforgiving and demands you step up your game.

The Georgetown Hoyas put in a very presentable performance against a Texas team that lacked basic basketball skills. Georgetown looks good, and will be ranked in the top 15 this week, but we still haven’t gotten a decent read on this team. There’s Indiana, Duke and everyone else at this point of the season. After their thrashing on Tuesday, Rick Barnes said he was “really disappointed in the (lack of) will and that we didn’t continue to fight.” Barnes called zero timeouts during a half that the Longhorns shot 29%. This team lost to Chaminade by a ton in the Maui Invitational. They aren’t good.

Both N.C. State and UConn look to make a deep March run and kept the late-arriving crowd interested in a solid game won by the Wolfpack. I really like N.C. State. Picking the Pack as No. 2 in the preseason poll was obviously too high, but you can see the pieces are there for a possible ACC Championship and Final Four run. UConn’s a little different. The Huskies couldn’t hit key free throws late in the game.

All in all, it was a wonderful visit to the house where they once played a six overtime basketball game that no one will ever forget. Nothing memorable took place on Tuesday night. I just went to Madison Square Garden. No big deal.

Let me know how you feel on Twitter. Tweet me @WBALDash. 


One Response

  1. Lucky…yes, very lucky

    Sounds like you were rooting for State – does that mean you now also pull for the Coaches?

    Kevin J Dachille

    (617) 797-2923

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