TCU to the Big East? No thanks


TCU to the Big East? No thanks

By Mary Paoletti

Welcome to the Big East, TCU.

Go ahead and read that as a sarcastic greeting. It is. Nobody wants you there.

This is a football move. Understood. But first of all, being sort of located in east-ish Texas doesn't qualify you for membership.

And secondly, you Horned Frogs are joining in all sports so this affects Big East basketball and that's a problem. There are already too many teams and the beloved home-and-home series concept has been all but wiped out. Which is garbage.

Syracuse beats UConn in the Carrier Dome? The Huskies want a revenge match in front of their howling home crowd.

And this is just one more move toward the ruin of the best basketball conference in the country. Yeah, I said it. Am I biased? You betcha. But am I right? Generally always. See for yourself.

1979 -- The Big East is born when Providence, St. John's, Georgetown, and Syracuse add Seton Hall, Boston College and Connecticut to its band of brothers in basketball domination. Choirs of angels sing, all war briefly ends (Bonjour, Cold War dtente) and Michael Jackson releases Off the Wall.

1982 -- Pittsburgh joins just two years after Villanova. The conference has reached the apex of awesomeness. Just take a moment to let this sink in.

1984 -- Georgetown wins the National Basketball Championship.
1985 -- Three Big East teams -- Villanova, St. John's, and Georgetown -- make it to the Final Four. Villanova wins the whole darn thing. Just another testament to pwnage.

1991 -- Somebody decides that the Big East needs more football schools. Stupid idea. Miami, Temple, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, and Rutgers all pile on. Clearly, this is when things start getting faily.

1995 -- WVU and Rutgers change their football-only contracts. Notre Dame gets a non-football membership.

1999 -- UConn wins. Everything.

2001 -- Virginia Tech decides it wants to play basketball with the big dogs. This is a mistake.

2003 -- Syracuse wins the National Basketball Championship.

2004 -- UConn wins another title. NBD.

2005 -- Virginia Tech realizes its mistake and runs away to the ACC. Miami and Boston College run right along behind the Hokies. Thus begins the new era of hatred for Boston College, no longer as an opponent but as a dirty traitor New England school that whored itself out for football money.

Five teams move to the Big East from Conference USA Louisville, Cincinnati, South Florida, Marquette, and DePaul. The idea of bringing in big name train wrecks like Rick Pitino and Bob Huggins is kind of exciting. And Tom Crean's Golden Eagles are doing good things so bring 'em on.

2006 -- The Big East sends eight teams -- yeah, that's a record -- to the NCAA Tournament. Pat Forde has a nervous breakdown. Doug Gottlieb turns to P90X in his confusion.
2008 -- Eight teams go to the tournament again. For one shining moment, ESPN appears on the verge of imploding. Nothing happens. Bummer.
2009 -- Instead of the top 12, all 16 basketball teams are invited to play in the conference tournament. This is ridiculously dumb. The top four teams now get a double-bye to the quarterfinals. Who thought that people want USF to have a chance for an early round upset? Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

2010 -- TCU is slated to join the Big East in two years. This announcement is made barely a week after North Korea hits Yeonpyeong Island with shelling. Coincidence? No way.

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

BOSTON, Mass – Malcolm Subban says that he believes that he can still be a No. 1 goaltender in the NHL.

While that’s admirable on some level for the sheer, brazen self-confidence involved in saying this after getting yanked from a 5-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild at TD Garden, pretty much all of the evidence points out the contrary. Nearly two years after getting pulled from his NHL debut in against the St. Louis Blues after giving up three goals on six shots, Subban was pulled from Tuesday night’s appearance after giving up three goals on eight second period shots with the Bruins desperately in need of a quality start in goal.

He maintained a defiantly confident tone after another humbling NHL effort against Minnesota, and that’s a testament to the maturity and mental toughness of the person behind the goalie mask.

“It sucks. Obviously, I’m just trying to finish the game, let alone win one. Obviously it sucks, but what can you do now, right?” said Subban, who has now allowed six goals on 22 career shots faced in two starts. “Obviously I want to be a number one goaltender in the league. I was a high pick for a reason. I have the potential, and I just have to show it. Obviously I haven’t done that so far yet, but I think I’m getting closer to it. Honestly, I think I can do it right now. I just got to show it. Obviously, I didn’t [do it] today, but tomorrow’s a new day.”

Given the stunningly bad quality of his two NHL starts combined with a thoroughly pedestrian body of work at the AHL level over the last three years, there is literally zero tangible evidence Subban is tracking to be a franchise goaltender. Instead he’s the emergency goaltender called on by the Bruins only after Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin have both been shelved by injuries, and he’s now flunked the two pop quizzes when the NHL team needed him to come through.

Meanwhile, a sizeable selection of goaltenders taken after him in the 2012 NHL Draft class have already proven their NHL worth and broken through at the elite level: Matt Murray, Frederik Anderson, Connor Hellebuyck and Joonas Korpisalo.

Subban was hoping all along to break through this season in Boston, but things went south on him quickly with a Bruins team not playing well in front of him. The first goal was a fluttering Charlie Coyle shot that trickled between his glove hand and the top of his leg pad. The third goal was a softie low and to the glove side, power play strike authored by Ryan Suter. It added up to poor goaltending and shoddy defense, but it also added up to a Bruins goaltender that didn’t even give his hockey club a chance to win.

“It could be a combination of both. There are some goals – I’m not going to lie – there are some goals that we thought our goaltenders should have had. But I’m not here to talk about a goaltender who’s in one of his first few games because he let in a couple of bad goals,” said Julien. “We were terrible in front of him and we weren’t any better, and that’s the big picture. That’s more important.

“I don’t care who’s in net. I think when you have some injuries you need to be better in those situations and we weren’t good enough tonight. It doesn’t matter if Tuukka [Rask] is in net and we had injuries up front, or we’re lacking players here or there. You’ve got to let the system take care of the game. If you play it the right way, you have a chance to win. When you don’t, you don’t. That’s what happened [against Minnesota].”

There’s no question the defense in front of Subban wasn’t nearly good enough, and Adam McQuaid and Torey Krug in particular struggled to lock things down in the defensive zone. The wide open shots from the slot - like the Chris Stewart score in the second period that arrived 12 seconds after Minnesota’s opening goal - are indicative of a hockey club that’s not sticking to the game plan once things start to get a little wonky.

But this is about a player in Subban that should be entering the NHL stage of his career after being a first round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, and anybody would be hard-pressed to see him as an NHL goalie after failing in each of his first two NHL starts. Combine that with the lack of dominance at the AHL level over the last three years, and there’s a better chance that Subban will be a major first round bust for the Bruins rather than suddenly develop into a late-blooming No. 1 goaltender in Boston.

The scary part is that Subban and fellow young netminder Zane McIntyre are all the Bruins have for Wednesday night’s game at Madison Square Garden, and perhaps longer than that if Rask can’t make rapid progress with his lower body injury.

Maybe Subban can be a bit better than he’s shown thus far, and the four goals allowed to Minnesota were not all his fault. The bottom line, however, is that Subban should be up for doing this job right now. Tuesday was a big chance for the young goalie to make a statement that he was ready for it.

Instead he looked like the same goalie that’s been pulled from two of his first four AHL starts this season, and plays like a goaltender that’s never going to truly be ready for the call in Boston.