Thursday, March 9, 2017

Championship Week: Ray Floriani's Photo Essay

NEW YORK -- The two locations are separated by about a 20-minute on the No. 2 train. The swipe of a MetroCard opens a world of possibility to the college basketball connoisseur.

As the schedule decreed, the Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Basketball Championship would be played in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. On the isle of Manhattan, the Big East would gather for the 35th consecutive year at Madison Square Garden.
On a sun-kissed Wednesday, the afternoon doubleheader in Brooklyn treated fans to Miami and Syracuse, followed by Duke and Clemson. Miami won a thriller that coach Jim Larranaga called a ‘great college game’. It was, and almost as if you would be hard-pressed to expect less. Clemson then battled Duke gamely before going down in defeat.
A break between sessions gave the always unique opportunity to see the fans of the evening games arrive and partake in the pregame festivities. Commuters are heading home. Fans outnumber them on their arrival. They will not enter the scorebook, but in their own way, they play a game, sweating every possession out; exhausted and exhilarated, especially if their team claims a win. Anticipation for the evening contests heightens.

The 7 p.m. gasme at Barclays saw Virginia Tech defeat Wake Forest in an offensive display for those inclined to enjoy such matchups. After that, it was off to the ‘World’s Most Famous Arena.’ On arrival, the final moments of a close St. John’s victory over Georgetown played out, complete with drama reminiscent of the bygone days. DePaul then fell to Xavier in a game ending past midnight, a game where points were hard to come by and contrasted the offensive exhibition a few hours earlier at Barclays Center.

A full day with different conferences, different teams and their own styles of play. All part of a true basketball smorgasboard. A day like this that reminds college fans how special the game is. And as if we needed a reminder, the reason it is called March Madness.

The subway artist entertains straphangers waiting for their chariots:
Heading to Barclays Center:
Syracuse's cheer squad, showing their school spirit:
Former Manhattan and Seton Hall head coach Bobby Gonzalez, always a welcomed visitor wherever he goes, took in the ACC action in Brooklyn:
A view of Brooklyn at nightfall in between sessions:
Wake Forest warms up prior to entertaining Virginia Tech:
In-game action between Wake Forest and Virginia Tech:
Leaving Brooklyn, en route to Manhattan:
At Madison Square Garden before Xavier and DePaul tip off:

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