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TV Review: Requiem for the Big East

I feel the same way.
The folks at ESPN sent me a screener of the new 30 For 30 documentary Requiem for the Big East. I poured over it a couple of times now. And while it is incomplete, it is fantastic. Some thoughts on the documentary below.
  • It was great seeing it put down on video and told from some of the people that were there the origins of the conference and how it was Gavitt's ideas and hard work that got the whole thing going.
  • If you're a Syracuse, Georgetown, St. John's, or Villanova fan, you'll probably really enjoy seeing the various highlights and attention to those teams paid in the film. They book end the movie with shots from the Syracuse/Georgetown 2013 BET game, and they give a good chunk of time to Georgetown's early dominance, Villanova's surprise National Championship over Georgetown, lots of Lou Carnesecca old and current, and Chris Mullins.
  • Lou Carnesecca looks old as all hell. But he's clearly sharp and still with it. It broke my heart when he said he wasn't that hurt about teams leaving the Big East except for Syracuse.
  • A few talking heads, specifically Michael Wilbon, contradicts the main point in the documentary that football, capitalism, and the league's own success is what broke up the Big East. Wilbon, over a shot of Nancy Cantor, says it was greedy and weak minded school presidents. Judge for yourself.
  • The documentary does a really great job of highlighting the important, as it turned out, of the league denying an invitation to Penn State to join. It was probably the first domino falling in terms of the conference breaking up. It just took a while for it to matter.
  • It does a great job of showing all the big personalities that dominated the coaching ranks of the early days of the Big East.
  • Sorry, no 6 OT talk. No real mention of UConn either to be fair. Despite the fact they won a few National Championships as a member. Jim Calhoun has a few talking head moments, but that's all from UConn. Same for Rick Pitino.
  • They talk about the BET but they only talk about some from the early 80's. Obviously there have been some pretty good ones since then.
  • There was one moment that really got me. They talk about the death of Dave Gavitt and how the day Mike Tranghese found out about Syracuse and Pittsburgh leaving was the day that he found out Gavitt had passed away. They then cut to Jim Boeheim talking about that and about how it's been his whole life. He clearly fights back a tear. The room I viewed the movie may have been very dusty that day.
  • No real talk about Notre Dame, or Tranghese, or especially John Marinatto being competent enough to stop any of the expansion/raiding of the league. No one deserves a ton of blame but Marinatto was totally inept and Tranghese could have taken some other steps.
Overall, you'll like what you see, especially as a Syracuse fan. It is definitely the incomplete story of all things Big East, but it gives you a good dose of history and the personalities, both players and coaches, that built the league into what it was. If I were grading it like one of our Football report cards, I'd give it a solid B. Requiem for the Big East premiers this Sunday at 9:00pm Eastern on ESPN. You should definitely tune in or set the DVR. It should be appointment viewing for all college basketball or Syracuse fans.

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