Blog Entry

Simply put, the Big East was overhyped

Posted on: March 21, 2011 11:45 am
To start off, I'm not saying the Big East sucks. In fact, they are a good conference, but what is considered a down year in terms of quality teams and players, the Big East was clearly affected. Unfortunately the media, particulary ESPN, for weeks kept talking about how this was the most complete conference EVER and deserved 11 bids. I never bought into that and I believed they only deserved their normal 7 to 8 bids, but not 11 bids. On top of that the seeds they got were so favorable that they shouldn't even perform as bad as they have, but here we are with only 2 Big East teams left while as many teams from Richmond, VA are in the Sweet 16. Personally this post is show the bias in how the Big East hype was inflated

Here are three teams that got an easy pass. Villanova and Georgetown got favorable seeds at 8 and a 6 seed. First, Villanova and Georgetown struggled so badly down the road they shouldn't got theri seeds. Missouri got punished for struggling down the road and got an 11 seed. MO deserved that seed for their inconsistent and poor performance as of late, but when Villinova and Georgetown commit the same acts, Villanova gets and 8 seed while Georgetown gets a six seed. That is pathetic that Villanova who had 2 wins since Feburary 9th which were against Seton Hall and Depaul, and it took an overtime game to get that win against DePaul. While Georgetown couldn't beat any tournament quality team since mid-February with their only win against South Flordia and for 21 wins they are awarded a six seed. I understand the argument for doing well throughout the season for being awarded a good seed, but there is such a double standard here. Mizzou went to overtime against Georgetown, and finished with a similar record to Georgetown on terms of standing and conference play, and yet G-Town had significanlty better seeding than MO. In regards to Villanova, they are just sad and shouldn't be in the tournament. When I saw them in the tournament over Missouri State with 26 wins, it brought back memories of the mid 2000s when a 23 win MO State was left out while and 18 win Seton Hall made the tournament. That's pathetic.

Briefly I want to mention Marquette. First of all they are going through a good tournament run, but does that mean they deserved to be there. I'm sure people are still arguining VCU shouldn't be in the tournament, and yet there are a Sweet 16 team too. Let's use the season argument which was probably used for Villanova and G-Town's seeding. Marquette had zero wins against big schools before Big East play, they lost to Duke, Wisconsin, Gonzaga (I know they are a mid-major, but they are one of the most consistent mid-major I consider them part of the big boys), and Vanderbilt. Only Vanderbilt was on the road, therefore they had 3 home games and they couldn't pull a victory. And during Big East play, they were 3-7 against other top 25 Big East teams during the season. They became an ingigma that can beat ND one week, and lose at Seton Hall down the road. Overall their marquee wins to losses of the same caliber teams was sad. Most of their wins came from beating bad teams, and their 21 wins seem very inflated and didn't deserve to be in the tournament. Overall I think the main reason they are in the tournament is because the media keeps talking about that the Big East is so tough that it's ok to have a mediocre record as the conference is tough. But yet, Marquette can't even pull victories against other good teams from other conferences. Final line is they didn't deserve to be in the big dance and are only there because of their media hype.

I can go on and on about other teams and their seeding, but I made my point thorugh these three teams. I will finish this rant is the experts reasoning on why the Big East is struggling. Jay Bilas said the Big East teams are struggling because they were "limping into the tournament." Basically he says theri Big East teams are worn out and the main reason why they are performing below par is because they are tired. Are you kidding me? Is the Big East the only conference tournmaent leading up to March Madness? No, but you would relaize that if you ever left the New York City area. How is UCONN who played 5 rounds in the Big East touranment made the Sweet 16? Especially considering they had less time to rest compared to ND and Syracuse who had a two more days off from the Big East tournament leading to their first match in the big dance. Answer that Jay Bilas! Seriously, there are so many flaws with that stupid argument. Teams from the ACC, the Big 10, and Big 12 all had tough conference tournaments and schedules, and yet their teams are performing as expected, or even better than expected in certain cases. Maybe the reason the Big East is struggling is that several of their teams were overhyped without much substance to their hype. Another reason is that ESPN always seems to overlook mid majors, but it's understandable when they send half of their studio to the Big East tournament and lack knowledge on smaller conferences which is why I'm not completely surprised that the smaller teams took down some of these Big East giants.

Since: Mar 10, 2011
Posted on: March 22, 2011 5:11 pm

Simply put, the Big East was overhyped

I never said you were a Big East hater and I read your whole post. I tried to show a simpler reasoning for the seeding of Big East teams than the nebulous excuse of east coast bias or the ESPN hype machine. Because UConn played so well out of conference, all 7 teams that beat them (such as St. John's - who also beat Pitt and Duke) got a deserved boost. How to interpret a 9-9 team that beat Wichita St, Mich St, Kentucky, Texas and Tennessee? You say 9th place UConn is legit but won't confer that legitimacy to their Big East victors. It may be a confounding situation but it shouldn't be explained away as power conference bias or hype. It is what it is and contributed directly to the conference as a whole being judged to be better than their collective performance this past week in a one-and-done setting. RPI isn't skewed by polls or opinion - it's merely winning percentages and we shouldn't waste time vehemently agreeing with each other on the drawbacks of overinterpreting it. But as I said, it's the devil we know and UConn's confounding record positively affected it for the conference. Every stat (such as Kenpom) is likely skewed when judging teams that played UConn this year. That's what you didn't properly address in your original post (you went with hype and cherrypicked evidence) so I chimed in with my comment. You want to nitpick Villanova, fine by me - Nova's February schedule resembled UConn's 5 game run of opponents at MSG - Nova finished 9-9 and that included an unimaginable, last second, 4pt-play loss at Rutgers that had to be seen to be believed - nonetheless, they were a few missed free throws from "upsetting" the better seeded GMU.

Since: Jan 4, 2008
Posted on: March 22, 2011 2:24 pm

Simply put, the Big East was overhyped

What bothers me about your comment is I didn’t comment on UCONN in a negative light. UCONN was one of the teams I liked from the Big East as they prove themselves to be more legitimate by beating good teams out of their conference. I also admitted that the Big East is a good conference, but not good enough to justify 11 bids. If you literally read the beginning of my blog in which I explicitly said I consider the Big East a good conference, but their 11 teams and suppose dominance was overhyped. But obviously you didn’t, and you go on a huge rant how UCONN is great and I’m another Big East hater, even though I point out inconsistencies of treatment towards certain teams and the flaw of the reasoning for the Big East performance. 

So far the Big East teams, particularly the more mediocre teams such as Villanova that would be considered a bubble team in other conferences, played horrible and haven’t help their case for their seeding, or even being in the tournament. Keep in mind if UCONN played better doesn’t make your conference as a whole better. If you were in a small conference, it does, but with 16 teams and only having a couple performing well doesn’t justify the Big East is great. UCONN playing well doesn’t justify Villanova or St Johns was tournament worthy. 

I do take RPI and the amount of wins as an indicator of what a team is, but these numbers can be skewed quite a bit by the poll rankings and their belief of which conference is strong. While wins can be an inflated number with an easy non-conference schedule which is the path Cincinnati took. Look at college football, that’s a prime example of BCS mediocre schools trying to get 4 to 5 guaranteed wins before conference play, therefore they only need a couple of wins to qualify for a bowl game. 

Since: Mar 10, 2011
Posted on: March 22, 2011 1:46 pm

Simply put, the Big East was overhyped

UConn beats Wichita St, Michigan St, Kentucky, Texas (at Texas), and Tennessee and goes undefeated out of conference.  Then that resume is used to bulk up 7 teams' resumes when they beat the 9-9 Huskies during league play (Louisville and ND twice, Marquette, St Johns, Syracuse, Pitt, and WVU).  Essentially, UConn's talented but inexperienced freshman (and their inability to avoid freshman let downs - especially at home against Louisville, Marquette, and ND) elevated the entire conference by not taking better care of business against the "overhyped" Big East.  Your rant blames the selection committee, ESPN, and the ever-reliable east coast bias bogeyman.  Instead, it should blame Kemba Walker for elevating a group of talented but inexperienced freshmen and sophomores into the rarified air they're breathing right now.  UConn this season was the rising tide that lifted all other boats.  If they'd played as well as they have in the last 7 games (as well as in Maui and Texas) all season, no one would be complaining about an "overhyped" Big East.  If the Huskies had simply held serve at home they would have finished 13-5, Marquette wouldn't have the road victory it hung its hat on, and a few teams like Syracuse, Louisville and ND might have been seeded a few lines lower (like Texas was).  But it didn't turn out that way and the Big East as a whole got quite a boost - a boost that is less subjective than you might admit.  My guess is you don't think that an opponent's opponents (RPI) shouldn't be taken into account by the selection committee.  But the RPI is the devil we know.  Your next rant should be about the devil we don't know that would supplant the RPI (and how that devil won't overhype the Big Least).  Kenpom's tempo-free stats?  Maybe Charles Barkley?  
And yes, I'm a UConn fan so everything revolves around them in my world.  But in your world... forget it.  It's lucky they were able to win 5 in 5 days to earn their automatic qualifier.  Phew!  In your world, 9th place in the Big East would have precluded an invite to the big dance and UConn would have slouched towards a second consecutive NIT appearance (that otherwise had been reserved for Missouri State). Kemba reduced to playing postseason basketball on the Eastern Sports Programming Network... the HORROR!

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