Saturday, February 9, 2008

A little credit for the Big East

But only a little.

Watching the Georgia Tech/UConn game today, I had a great blog entry planned out where I would rip apart the Big East more than I already have because one of their "top teams" can't even take out a mediocre ACC team at home. But then UConn kind of showed up and kind of kicked the snot out of Georgia Tech in the second half. Oh well. I disagree completely with any more than six, MAYBE seven teams getting into the NCAA Tournament out of any conference.
I just can't buy into Syracuse or West Virginia getting into the Big Dance while a second West Coast Conference or Mountain West Conference team, hell, or even a third Missouri Valley Conference team is left to rot in the NIT. Right now I'm only in support of four ACC teams getting the nod. Why waste a #9 or 10 seed on a fifth ACC school when you can give a team like Creighton or San Diego State (that name drop is a stretch, I don't think three MWC teams will ever get in, but just go with it) a shot to make some real noise?

Went of on a little tangent there, straying about 180 degrees from where my headline indicated I was going.

UConn was very strong tonight. Thabeet slowed in the second half, but you would never tell by his his box score with 24 points, 15 boards, and six blocked shots. They've earned their ticket to March Madness. I won't be surprised if they win out going into the Big East Tournament. Their tough remaining games are hosting Notre Dame and West Virginia, and visiting Villanova.

Unfortunately I didn't watch the Notre Dame/Marquette game. It looks like it was a good one. Stat of the game: Marquette 5-8 from the free throw line. Notre Dame 24-31.
19-point difference. That will usually do it.

I really enjoyed the Louisville/Georgetown game. Another great storyline was created through halftime to draw fans back into the game. Georgetown was up eight at the break, and let's be honest. When the #6 team is leading an unranked team by eight at the half and has clearly dominated the game so far, you lose interest, regardless of who is home and who is away.
Then Rick Pitino came back out of the lockerroom. He was no longer sporting his white suit for the "white out" night. He changed at halftime into his normal black suit. It was great. I commented awhile back when Duke has their "Go Green" night, but the Cameron Crazies gave up on that at halftime when they were down by nine. This was the exact same thing.
Louisville came right out of the gate with a 15-6 run to take a 38-37 lead. A 15-6 run doesn't sound that great, but imagine the momentum swing when they took the lead. The Cardinals held the Hoyas to 20 points in the half and won 59-51.
Sticking with our stat of the night: Georgetown 3-4 from the free throw line--they normally make more than their opponents attempt. Louisville 18-24--including David Padgett who went 8-10 from the line with several clutch free throws at the end of the game. No big deal? He's normally a 60% shooter from the stripe.
The Big East won my heart...for a night.

In a huge Big 10 matchup, Purdue went into Madison and beat the Badgers, 72-67. I think it's time the Boilermakers get some respect. They've won nine in a row, two of which came against number eight (with the most sarcastic of tones) Wisconsin. They're 10-1 in the Big Ten, alone in first. Put them in the top 25 already. They will finally appear in the rankings on Monday, but the glory might not last long. Michigan State invades Purdue on Tuesday.
Since I've flirted with the topic of NCAA Tournament bids with the Big East and ACC, I might as well hit the Big 10 while I'm here.
I'd only let the top four teams in, those being Wisconsin, Purdue, Michigan State, and Indiana.
I don't have Ohio State's SOS or RPI, but they've got no big wins--in conference or out of conference. They've got a rough schedule to end the year, so they should play their way out of the tournament.

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