The most famous basketball tournament in the history of college basketball is the Big Five. And the Big Five was played in the most hallowed halls of college play: the Palestra. Now, for the first time, a complete story of this Philadelphia rivalry is revealed.
Robert Lyons offers the story of the Big Five from its very beginnings in 1955. At that time, many of the Big Five schools—La Salle University, University of Pennsylvania, St. Joseph's University, Temple University and Villanova University—weren't even talking to each other, and everyone predicted the tournament would end before it began. Conducting interviews with coaches and players—including famed Temple coach Harry Litwack's last interview before his death—Lyons offers the play-by-play on the how the Big Five became an institution, and how it was ultimately undone by college basketball's own success.
Lavishly illustrated with photographs of players, teams, coaches, and the Palestra itself,Palestra Pandemoniumis an immediate classic, offering a chronicle of the most monumental college basketball tournament. Anywhere. Author note: For over thirty years,Robert S. Lyonshas covered professional and college sports for the Associated Press. The former director of the La Salle University News Bureau, editor ofLa Salle, the university's alumni magazine, and instructor of journalism, advertising, and public relations at La Salle, he is now president of RSL Communications. He lives in the Philadelphia area.