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The Big East tournament farewell party is underway here at Madison Square Garden.
It's kind of sad, really.
And it is also feels strange that UConn isn't here.
Providence associate head coach Andre LaFleur, a former UConn assistant, feels the absence of the Huskies.
"It's very tough not seeing UConn here because I know what UConn means to the Big East and the Big East tournament," LaFleur said. "So many of the best and greatest moments in the Big East tournament come from UConn. Not seeing their fan base here and colors here is very notable."
Providence made its usual quick exit this afternoon, losing to Cincinnati, 61-44, in second round action. The sluggish Friars scored a season low for points and shot a dreadful 28 percent. They're just 1-10 in their last 11 games in the tournament.
Next season, the Friars will be in the new Big East along with the other catholic schools – Seton Hall, St. John's, Marquette,Georgetown, DePaul and Villanova. Syracuse and Pittsburgh are heading to the Atlantic Coast Conference.
PC coach Ed Cooley will miss the old Big East.
"I was born and raised on the Big East," Cooley said. "You know what I mean? I don't think there's any better basketball in the country. … This is God's basketball here in the Big East, and it's unfortunate, the things that have happened.
"Embrace change and look forward to a better future."
Talking about the future, PC freshman Kris Dunn played his first Big East tournament game, finishing with four points, seven rebounds and three assists in 32 minutes as the starting point guard.
The season was a learning experience for the former New London standout and McDonald's All-American. He had to deal with a shoulder injury that forced him to miss the first nine games.
"I learned a lot of things from the coaches, players and my teammates," Dunn said. "They taught me to just be poised on the court and just give it your all and play hard."
Playing a homecoming game against UConn at Gampel Pavilion Saturday was one of his highlights. He had 11 points, four assists and two steals in the overtime loss.
"I saw a lot of friends and family," Dunn said. "It was great to play in my home state. UConn recruited me, so it was a big thing. The crowd was going against me. It was just a great atmosphere. Everyone that I knew from New London came up and supported me."
Dunn recently received an invitation to tryout this summer for the Under-19 U.S. basketball team.
"It was kind of a surprise," Dunn said. "It's just going to be a great opportunity."
For more about Dunn's season, check out the attached video.
Today’s American Athletic Conference Championship semifinal doubleheader is underway here at the XL Center in Hartford. A crowd in the 12,000-13,000 range is expected for the UConn-Tulsa game. Tip-off time is 5 p.m.