St. John's planning to honor Lou Carnesecca with game on 100th birthday, but no assurance it will be against UConn | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Sunday / May 26.
  • St. John’s planning to honor Lou Carnesecca with game on 100th birthday, but no assurance it will be against UConn

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    St. John’s athletic director Mike Cragg has put in a request with the Big East Conference to host a league game at Carnesecca Arena on Jan. 5, 2025 (a Sunday) to honor legendary coach Lou Carnesecca’s 100th birthday — but there is no assurance the opponent will be UConn.

    “It’s his 100th birthday [on] Jan 5, 2025 – and a Big East weekend,” Cragg said via text. “We asked for a big home game in his arena. That’s all.

    “The Big East makes the schedules … not us. We put in our special request to honor Coach. And make it special.”

    St. John’s coach Rick Pitino had previously said he plans to play 2023 NCAA champion UConn at Carnesecca next season, but league sources said there is “no assurance” that UConn would be the opponent the weekend of Jan. 5. The two situations are not connected.

    “Right now, the only game that’s going to be played in Carnesecca is Connecticut,” Pitino told reporters following St. John’s 84-79 victory over Hofstra at UBS Arena. “Every other game, we’re going to negotiate.”

    Asked if he was serious, Pitino said:

    “Oh, 100 percent. We’re playing them at Carnesecca. It’s definitely not a joke. I have my reasons.”

    On Tuesday, Pitino explained that his original comment was a compliment because UConn has one of the three best fan bases in college basketball, along with Kansas and Kentucky.

    “I don’t think Connecticut knows how to take a compliment,” he told reporters. “The fact we want to play them at Carnesecca is the ultimate compliment of all time, because the three best fan bases in all of college basketball for travel are Kentucky, Kansas and UConn.”

    The league and Madison Square Garden would have to sign off on a high-profile game like UConn-St. John’s being played on campus — and that seems unlikely at this point.

    A Garden spokesman said MSG had no comment on the matter at this time.

    UConn will visit St. John’s Feb. 3 at the Garden after the Huskies edged the Red Storm, 69-65, last month at XL Center in Hartford.

    (Photo via The Tablet)

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

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