Here's Wednesday's Dear Gary ...
Dear Gary: Although I agree that the Big East is a good conference, to constantly hear about how it eclipses every other conference is a crock of Notre Dame. UCLA beat Notre Dame by 29 points, and -- since I just checked the record -- NO BIG EAST SCHOOL BEAT NOTRE DAME BY A LARGER MARGIN OR EVEN CAME CLOSE. ... I am neither a Pac 10 fan or a Big East fan, but numbers are numbers. ... The situation with the Big East reminds me of last year's ACC hoopla. Everyone said the ACC couldn't be touched, but by the Sweet 16, the chaff had blown away, which left only the TOP of most of the conferences. Doesn't that lead us to believe that in fact to continually tout one conference as "Supreme" is not only unfair but absolutely untrue. Parity is parity. With respect, (I continually read your column).
I think you make a lot of sense here, Lindsay.
But let me say this: When people talk about how "tough" the Big East is, or whatever, I don't sense anybody is pretending the league has teams that cannot be touched. Rather, I think the point is simply that the Big East -- and this is debatable now, I know --has more good teams than the other leagues, and that's it. I'm sure everybody still understands the best teams in the other leagues -- UCLA in the Pac-10, Oklahoma in the Big 12, North Carolina in the ACC, etc. -- are every bit as good as the best teams in the Big East. And using that theory as a guide, what should happen in any NCAA tournament is that the fourth, fifth and sixth teams from the Big East should start to disappear as we move forward, leaving only the best one or two (or maybe even three) along with representatives from the Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10, SEC, ACC and a few non-BCS leagues, too.
That's the nature of the tournament.
That's usually how it goes.
But, to me, that doesn't mean that playing a tough Big East schedule isn't the scariest thing in college basketball, because I believe the Big East schedule is primarily responsible for destroying what were at one time good seasons for Georgetown and Notre Dame, and that if Georgetown and Notre Dame played in the SEC West they'd both be in the Top 25 and by extension safely in the NCAA tournament. But they don't play in the SEC West; they play in the Big East, and that's a tough thing to do these days, even for what should on paper be very good teams.