Posted on: March 21, 2011 11:45 am

Simply put, the Big East was overhyped

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.
Posted on: February 27, 2011 10:34 am
Edited on: February 27, 2011 10:35 am

Should BYU get a 1 seed

Personally, not yet. BYU and San Diego State have had good years, but besides beating San Diego State twice, the only other notable win is against Arizona at home. The other number 1 seeds in contention as of right now is Duke, Kansas, Texas, Pitt, Ohio State, Purdue, and San Diego State if they win out and win their tournament. Unless Kansas loses to Missouri and to a non rank team in the Big 12 tournament, they are pretty much guaranteed a number 1 seed. Texas losing yesterday will drop them out for contention for now, but winning out and beating KU again on neutral ground will boost their chances again. Pitt has a good shot at a number 1 seed, and with the Big East, a good Norte Dame could get a number 1 seed if they win out too. If ND wins out, that could allow two number 1 seeds to be from the Big East. 

The Big East is considered the best conference in basketball, and seeing them chew up half of the number 1 seeds isn’t unlikely. Likely the other two number 1 seeds will be chewed up by a Big 10 and a Big 12 school. Overall I think BYU lacks the overall resume that the other big conference schools have to be a number 1 seed, but BYU will have a good argument if they win out and get a little help from the other conferences woes; however, currently I think the number 1 seeds are chewed up by more deserving teams. 

Posted on: December 24, 2010 12:11 am
Edited on: December 24, 2010 12:17 am

Missouri vs Illinois, a rivalry renewed

This is just a quick thought, but as a Mizzou Tigers fan, I am glad to see the Busch Braggin Rights game has been renewed as a top 25 inter-conference rivalry. The score from last nights game may look like a little lopsided with Mizzou winning by 11, but until the last minute of gameplay, the game was a constant back and forth battle. Mizzou got a call in their favor that gave them the basket, two free throws, and then the ball back. Along with the intentional foul, they call a technical on Illinois. This last minute with the foul and technical was the game deciding moment. It will be argued among fans about the intentional foul was the right call, but the fact to the matter is Mizzou gained the lead when Laurence Bowers made the basket, and most likely would of gotten one free throw as most likely there would of been a free throw given for the push. 

Now that the explanation how a 11 point win was actually a good game, lets get back to why this rivalry is back. For the last decade, Illinois dominated this rivalry. Illinois won 9 straight games until last year when Mizzou won 81-68 when Illinois was in a down year. Now in 2007 and 2008 both games were close with Illinois winning by 3 in 06 and by a point in 07, but both teams weren't that good. Mizzou was still in the rebuilding phase during those years, and Illinois fallen off the map from their high point back in the early and mid 2000s. 

Until last night, the last time both teams were rank in the top 25 was back in 2003 when #21 Illinois beat #11 Mizzou by a point. That #11 ranking was flawed as the 2003 season for the Tigers ended up being a bust and they ended up losing in the first round of the NIT with the 2003 and 2004 season. To be fair, lets say 2002, #12 Illinois vs #11 Mizzou, was the last time that two actual top 25 caliber teams faced each other. In the early 2000s there were some good top 25 match ups, and in the late 80s was the peak for the rivalry when there were back to back top 10 match ups. Now the Mizzou program is back on track, and Illinois looks like they are coming out of their funk after a couple of disappointing seasons. I know they lost to Illinois-Chicago, but most teams encounter an upset here and there. But overall, it looks like the old school rivarly in which games  are back in forth contests with two of the best teams in the nation is back. 

This is exiting not just for fans of either school, but basketball in general. There aren’t a lot of long and traditional out of conference rivalries in basketball. Duke vs Michigan State has been exciting in the last couple of years, but that hasn’t been a long and traditional rivalry. The Busch Braggin Rights game has been played on neutral ground for 30 years, and the rivalry dates back to the 40s. That’s impressive, and considering how neither team has never been in the same conference makes it a more impressive feat. People can call me a fan boy for glorifying this rivalry, but no one can deny that last nights game was exciting, and it was a re-visit to the glory days when both teams were good and fought hard to the end. 

Overall this rivalry has it's up and downs as both teams aren't the most consistent powerhouses. It isn't a Duke vs UNC game, but to see a good rivalry outside of their conferences is a treat we all should enjoy. Yesterday was a good example of what a rivalry should be: game has been a constant back and forth battle, both sides are into it, one side is covered in yellow (Mizzou), and the other in orange (Illinois). Now that is a rivalry, and probably one of the best rivalries in basketball.
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