Tuesday, March 22, 2011

'The Big L-East'

They speak for us all.

I know how you feel right now.  Your previous excitement about Mach Madness and how unstoppable your brackets will be in your pay-to-play pools has by now likely dissipated into torment, frustration, and utter disbelief.  All year long you heard the experts saying that the Big East is the best conference ever and deserves 13 NCAA Tournament bids.  And then Morehead State happened.  O.K., there had to be an upset somewhere in the first round and Louisville was it.  Later on that day Gonzaga -- the vintage 1990s tourney Cinderella -- brutalized fan favorite-to-make-a-run-to-the-Final-Four St. John's and effectively dover the Red Storm and anyone (including me) riding their bandwagon off the steepest of cliffs.  Villanova and Georgetown limped into the tournament, but surely there is enough talent on those teams to handle the likes of George Mason and Virginia Commonwealth of the Colonial Athletic Assosication.  Nope.  If that wasn't enough, how about the most consistent Big East team for the entire season and No. 1 seed Pittsburgh getting their hearts ripped out by Butler, and No. 2 seed Notre Dame with Big East Player of the Year Ben Hansbrough getting waxed by Florida State (somewhere, Charlie Ward and Warrick Dunn are smiling)?  Should've saw it coming though.  Last year everyone was clamouring about the Big East too, and the only team to make the Final Four from that conference was West Virginia; which was probably the least lauded team of the pack ranked in the top of the Big East standings.  The same thing has almost happened this year.  Marquette and Connecticut are the only two teams left in the NCAA Tournament out of the 11 selections from the conference.  The Golden Eagles hovered around .500 in the Big East all season while the Huskies seemed destined for a first round tourney exit before Kemba Walker basically carried them to five wins in five days to win the conference tournament. 
Sights set on Final Four.
So what is the explanation for this?  Do they beat up on each other in the regular season and are too worn out to perform in March?  Are they overlooking teams that play outside of conference because of arrogance?  This time of year, it's hard to explain anything that happens in a basketball game using rational thought.   If that were the case, all four No. 1 seeds would make it to the Final Four every year.  Either way, don't slit your wrists if you had a bad weekend and your bracket is about as useful as nuclear wasteland, because most of America is probably with you.  Just sit back, enjoy this weekend's games, and root for your friends who still have hope in their brackets to fail miserably. 

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