Friday, March 10, 2017

Big East Tournament Quarterfinals: Ray Floriani's Photo Essay

NEW YORK -- The Big East quarterfinal round: Four games, eight teams.

Six have earned their spot thanks to their season’s body of work. The other two are here having moved on victorious in opening-round action the prior evening.
It is a day on which all the teams and their devout fan bases bear hope, hope of moving on and advancing. Championships cannot be won until business is taken care of in the earlier rounds. Everyone realizes this. The opportunity is there in front of the eight teams.
On this Thursday, the first of four games tipped off at noon. The final buzzer of game four sounded ten minutes short of the stroke of midnight. Nearly twelve hours of lead changes, runs, individual heroics and accompanied disappointments.

On this day, we saw firsthand why Villanova is in virtually a class of their own. A veteran group embracing a team concept. We saw one player dominate and will his team to victory. Angel Delgado of Seton Hall, we are looking at you. Two teams, Xavier and Creighton; dealing with the loss of a key player earlier in the season, to regroup and in this case, make it to the semis. Please do not forget the coaches pacing the sidelines, making the adjustments and naturally essential players in the drama.

Four games and a wealth of stories to be told. Among the spectacle and not to be forgotten were the spirit groups and fans. From those choosing amber replenishment to those, faces painted and carrying a souvenir-filled bag up the Garden escalator, not to forget those posing for selfies in the ‘World’s Most Famous Arena.’

The quarterfinal day and night send four home, but leave us with four. Each year, we are not without a special memory or more from it all.

Madison Square Garden souvenir stands before the first of four games tips off:
Villanova head coach Jay Wright field a question following record-tying win over St. John's:
The Seton Hall band in action:
Dusk approaches in midtown Manhattan in between sessions:
Xavier disembarks from their bus on entry to the Garden:
Butler's cheer squad sets up their pregame quarters:
Xavier head coach Chris Mack meets the media after a semifinal appearance was secured:
An overhead view of the Garden before the night session tipped off:
Another round in the books:

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