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Filling the Void: The Big East’s Big Dance

Revisit the heyday of the Big East as Villanova and Georgetown square off in the Championship Game of the 1985 NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament

Patrick Ewing Jersey by Rudi Riet is licensed under CC BY SA-2.0

Filling the Void: The Big East’s Big Dance

Estimated Reading Time: 3 Minutes

We’re several weeks into our worldwide attempt to “flatten the curve” and have been offering daily escapes into the sporting events of yesteryear through our “Filling The Void” series. We’ve looked back on the inspiring, mind-boggling, and remarkable events as well as the ordinary, daily games we’ve been missing in our lives. We here at The Turf Sports sincerely hope you and your loved ones are staying healthy and being safe through these trying days. We’d also like to take a moment to send out a huge THANK YOU to all of those front-line folks keeping society going – from the medical community to those stocking grocery store shelves, delivering supplies around the country or helping us all fight this virus together in some other essential, invaluable way. You are all heroes.

Today: The Georgetown Hoyas face the Villanova Wildcats in the Big East-only National Championship Game

Before you watch this game, you should check out The Requiem for the Big East. It is by far one of the best college basketball documentaries ever created and gives you a full fledged, no holds barred look at the creation, rise, and fall of the Big East Conference. And 1985 was a big moment for the little conference that could, as two of their powerhouse schools took center stage in the biggest basketball game of the year.

Georgetown has been here before, and 1985 marks their second consecutive National Championship appearance, and their 3rd appearance in 5 years. In 1983, John Thompson’s Hoyas faced off against a Michael Jordan led North Carolina Tar Heels squad. And while Jordan took home the title, Georgetown and the Big East had made it to the dance.

Two years later, the Big East was the only conference there. Even before tonight’s main event, the Big East had three teams represented in the Final Four, with the odd man out being the #2 team in the Nation, St. John’s.

John Thompson’s Hoyas have been a mainstay on the college basketball scene since Patrick Ewing began attending Georgetown. Ewing was the top high school recruit for his class, and his choice to play in the Big East put the little conference on the map. In his senior year, Ewing has terrorized teams to the tune of 14.6 points and 9.2 rebounds a game. Alongside Ewing, role players like David Wingate, Bill Martin, Reggie Williams, and Michael Jackson helped the Hoyas to a #1 ranking and a 35-3 record entering the tournament.

The Hoyas were stomping on everyone in their path to the National Championship. Villanova, on the other hand, has fought hard every step of the way to get to this game. In fact, they probably shouldn’t even be here.

If Patrick Ewing was Georgetown’s biggest recruit, then Ed Pinckney was Villanova’s. Teaming up with head coach Rollie Massimino, Pinckney’s senior years rivaled that of Ewing’s, but to significantly less fanfare. Averaging 15.6 points and 8.6 rebounds a game, Pinckney wasn’t going to let the Wildcats be overlooked anymore.

Given the 8th-seed in the Southeast regional bracket, the Wildcats had a tough road to the finals that ran through some stiff competition. Their first game saw them defeat Dayton by a single basket, followed up by a second round matchup with a top-seeded Michigan team, who they beat by 4 points.

The Wildcats’ next matchup would be against Len Bias’ Maryland Terps, once again narrowly escaping with a 3 point victory. On their way to the Championship Game, the Wildcats finally got some decisive victories, defeating North Carolina and Memphis by more than several buckets each. And now, the Wildcats were facing their toughest competition yet.

In a David vs. Goliath Championship Game, could Villanova upset the powerhouse Hoyas? Or has their luck finally run out?

Only one way to find out.

Justin Colombo is a 2017 Broadway Show Softball League All-Star at 3B/SS. He's essentially the Manny Machado of the Kinky Boots team. Justin has been writing about Baseball since he was a little kid. Now that being an actor in NYC has given him a lot of free time, in 2015 he decided to take his passion public and founded Three Up, Three Down as a way to express his love for the game. From there, Three Up, Three Down grew from a hobby to an obsession. After years of growth and one insult from MLB's Historian, Justin launched The Turf, a way to expand into all areas of the sporting world. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter. LET'S. GO. METS.

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