• 61°

College Basketball: Madison Square Garden set for Coach K

Associated Press
NEW YORK — It’s easy to think Madison Square Garden is a building that only comes to life these days when the New York Rangers take the ice.
The New York Knicks haven’t been playing home — or road — games because of the NBA lockout.
However, there will soon be the sound of basketballs bouncing and sneakers squeaking in “The World’s Most Famous Arena.”
As it has for every season since 1934, college basketball takes its turn on the grand stage.
“This is the Mecca for college basketball. There’s something magical when you walk in,” said Scott O’Neil, the president of Madison Square Garden Sports. “I don’t know if it’s the history of the 77 years, or the slate of games we have. … There’s not a place like this in the world.
“The Palestra is an amazing fieldhouse,” he said of Philadelphia’s fabled building, “but this is an arena, the best basketball arena in the world.”
This season’s schedule gets under way Tuesday night with the Champions Classic and that doubleheader will start with a chance at college basketball history.
No. 6 Duke plays Michigan State in the opener and Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski — barring a huge upset in the first two games — should be going for victory 903 which would move him past Bob Knight, his college coach, and into the top spot on the Division I wins list.
The second game that night has No. 2 Kentucky against No. 13 Kansas. Just another doubleheader New York fans have come to expect at the Garden in recent years.
The roster of college teams gets off to an impressive start every season because the Big East Conference plays its tournament there every March. But Duke, Pittsburgh, Gonzaga, Kentucky, Kansas and Texas have become, if not yearly, regular visitors to New York City.
“The Knicks and Rangers, their fans are fantastic, passionate and that certainly runs through the base of New York,” O’Neil said, “but there’s something different when it’s your alma mater and when you see the arena split with fans on each side. It’s different.”
“It is the best gym in the world besides the Fieldhouse,” Kansas’ Elijah Johnson said, referring to the Jayhawks’ on-campus Allen Fieldhouse.
And the Garden, which will host 51 college games this season, is on the way to a new look that will take three years in all. The first offseason of the transformation finished with a revamped lower bowl that has suites down near the court and the locker rooms have been upgraded to where they are considered among the best in sports. The fans can now walk on expanded concourses and choose from concession stands and clubs bordering on elegant.
“This building is made up of memories and moments. This is the one that rolls around through the souls of New York.
“College basketball is a pretty important part of this building,” said Joel Fisher, executive vice president of MSG Sports.

Comments

Comments closed.

Crime

Concord man charged with woman’s murder in drive-by shooting

Ask Us

Ask Us: Have city, county elected officials received COVID-19 vaccine?

Local

City gives away nearly 100 trees during ‘We Dig Salisbury’ event

Local

Political Notebook: Bitzer expects most ‘Trump-like’ candidate to be favorite in state’s Senate race

Crime

Blotter: Concord man arrested in Rowan for indecent liberties with children

Coronavirus

Half of US adults have received at least one COVID-19 shot

Nation/World

Police: FedEx shooter legally bought guns used in shooting

News

Hester Ford, oldest living American, dies at 115 … or 116?

Local

Size of pipeline spill again underestimated in North Carolina

BREAKING NEWS

Kannapolis Police searching for suspect who fled scene of homicide

Education

RSS superintendent talks district’s future, strategic plan survey

News

Complaints and fines pile up against unpermitted landfill in southwest Rowan County

College

Catawba baseball: Crowd comes out to say goodbye to Newman Park

Lifestyle

History is a great teacher: Farming has helped shape Rowan County

Business

‘A safe place for them’: Timeless Wigs and Marvelous Things celebrates fifth anniversary

China Grove

County will hear request for more tree houses, hobbit-style homes in China Grove

Coronavirus

Livingstone College partners with Health Department to administer 500 Pfizer vaccinations

Education

‘Elite and it shows’: Staff at Partners in Learning at Novant celebrate news of national accreditation

Business

Biz Roundup: Food Lion earns Energy Star award for 20th consecutive year

Columns

Ester Marsh: What body type are you?

Nation/World

The queen says goodbye to Philip, continues her reign alone

Nation/World

Worldwide COVID-19 death toll tops a staggering 3 million

Nation/World

US, China agree to cooperate on climate crisis with urgency

Nation/World

Sikh community calls for gun reforms after FedEx shooting