There's no way around it: The Big East didn't fair overly well (2-4) in the NCAA tournament and as a result, will have no presence in the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since the 1992-3 season. St. John's (blown out by Robert Morris in first round) and Georgetown (lost to Florida State in second round) didn't make a dent in the NIT, either.
The Big East's three unimpressive post-season victories came against Milwaukee (No. 175 in KenPom), Louisiana-Lafayette (No. 117) and West Virginia in the NIT (No. 66). Clearly, the conference didn't exactly do anything notable that put doubt in the selection committee's justified decision to invite four Big East teams to basketball's most famous event. Providence was arguably the best Big East team at the end of the season and it showed by winning the conference tournament and going blow for blow with North Carolina in the first round. Xavier went down without a fight against North Carolina State in the first round, ending their season with just one win in their last five. Villanova put up more of a fight against a game UConn team than Creighton did in Baylor's romp last weekend.
Putting a little bit more weight into post-season performances, the KenPom ratings have the Big East as the sixth best conference right after the SEC and slightly in front of the AAC. This shakeup comes after the Big East sat around the third and fourth spots in the conference rankings for most of the season.
With programs like Creighton and Marquette keen to regress next season, it may be up to Seton Hall to make a difference next March. What do you make of the Big East's poor post-season performance? How do you see the conference panning out next campaign (an early look)?
Thursday's game/TV schedule
|South||No. 10 Stanford Cardinal (-3) vs. No. 11 Dayton Flyers||FedExForum
|715p||CBS||Kevin Harlan, Len Elmore, Reggie Miller, Rachel Nichols|
|West||No. 2 Wisconsin Badgers (-3.5) vs. No. 6 Baylor Bears||Honda Center
|747p||TBS||Marv Albert, Steve Kerr, Craig Sager|
|South||No. 1 Florida Gators (-4.5) vs. No. 4 UCLA Bruins||FedExForum
|945p||CBS||Kevin Harlan, Len Elmore, Reggie Miller, Rachel Nichols|
|West||No. 1 Arizona Wildcats (-8) vs. No. 4 San Diego State Aztecs||Honda Center
|1017p||TBS||Marv Albert, Steve Kerr, Craig Sager|
We are all Dayton Flyers tonight and even some Stanford fans may be pulling for the Flyers after reading this moving article about a Dayton fan who lost his son... It would also be nice to see Wisconsin take down an athletic Baylor team that overpowered Creighton to reach their third Sweet Sixteen in four years... UCLA and Kyle Anderson will look to upset top-seeded Florida in a rematch of the 2006 national title game and 2007 national semifinal. Third time's the charm, right?... The Aztecs are up against Arizona in the late game that is also the most lopsided on paper with Vegas now giving the 'Cats eight points.
An anonymous Pirate fan named 'John' leads the SOJ bracket pool (51 pts) with shupirate98 (50 pts) and 1989Pirate (50 pts) right behind him. John has Arizona winning the title while the other two readers have Florida taking it all.