Monday, March 21, 2011

2011 NCAA Tournament: Big East kind of sucking canal water once again.

As my alma mater, the University of Washington, experienced yet another end-of-game meltdown of a game against perennial power North Carolina and lost in heartbreaking fashion, I find I can take comfort in the fact that the Bestest, Most Wonderfulest Basketball Conference That Has Ever Existed has already lost 9 of their record 11 teams this 2011 NCAA Championship.

Let me see here….

• Villanova (9 seed) lost to George Mason, who got destroyed by Ohio State.
• West Virginia ((5 seed) lost to Kentucky.
• Syracuse (3 seed) lost to fellow Big East conference member Marquette.
• Cincinnati (6 seed) also lost to a fellow Big East conference member UConn.
• Louisville (4 seed) lost to 13 seed Morehead State on a last second 3 pointer.
• Georgetown (6 seed) got destroyed by VCU, who had to play in the “first four” games on Wednesday.
• Notre Dame (2 seed) got absolutely humbled by a 10 seed in Florida State.
• Pittsburg (1 seed) lost in the stupidest ending to a college basketball game ever, to Butler.
• St. John’s (Toast of New York and 6 seed) lost to Mid-Major power Gonzaga.

Ah, so that’s not doing so well, is it, for a conference and all their media promoters at ESPN and CBS? I have heard several analysts say something like, “Well, two Big East teams had to lose, as those two games had Big East teams playing each other.” Personally, I like the flip side of the coin. Two Big East teams had to WIN those games. Who’s to say that, if those games were against teams from other conferences, the Big East teams wouldn’t have come out as the losers? It might be that the Big East should feel fortunate to have two teams in the Sweet Sixteen.

And it seems to me that this sort of happened to the Big East in LAST YEAR’S tournament as well. Eight teams were made it into the field in 2010 and all of them but West Virginia were gone by the Sweet Sixteen. The biggest bombs back then were Georgetown getting beat by 13 by Ohio University, Xavier over Pitt and my Washington Huskies over Marquette in the opening round.

A number of basketball aficionados were rather upset this year, when the field was expanded from 65 teams to 68 that it seemed that the entire reason for expanding the already large field was just so MORE BIG EAST teams could be invited! Do the math.... Going from 65 teams to 68 teams results in a net gain of 3. How many additional Big East teams were invited in 2001 from 2010? That was 8 in 2010 and 11 in 2011 which results in.... 3! How about that? It looks like to me that expansion was done just so we could invite more Big East teams, only for them to lose!

11 teams from a single conference? That’s more teams in the NCAA tournament than most conferences have conference members. In my mind, that's insulting to everyone else.

Maybe next year, they can expand the field again so we can invite the entire goddamn Big East conference, including TCU which is coming in as the 17th member next year. That’s what everyone wants anyway, right? Would that satisfy everyone’s little basketball ego? The rest of us would then be able to get our jollies off to have almost every single game in the opening rounds feature a loss by the Too Damn Big East.

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