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Big East's flameout in tourney proves league was vastly overrated

March 21, 2011 - Cory Giger
The Big East Conference has been proven to be a fraud during the NCAA Tournament, having flamed out with only two of its 11 entries reaching the Sweet 16.

Heavyweights Pitt, Notre Dame, Syracuse and Louisville are all gone, despite being seeded 1, 2, 3 and 4, respectively. The only two still playing are UConn and Marquette, which both finished tied for NINTH PLACE in the league during the regular season.

I'm as big of a Big East fan as there is, having followed the conference for 26 years, and it turns out the league was remarkably overrated this season.

You won't get an argument from me about 11 Big East teams making the NCAA Tournament. They all deserved to be there because they were better than anybody else on the at-large bubble.

The league was deep, but we were all fooled into thinking the teams were good because they were all beating up on each other.

Now that the rest of the country has had its crack at the Big East, we realize how much parity there is among the big conferences and just how close so many mid-majors are to being equal to the big boys.

Pitt's stunning loss to Butler was the most eye-popping of the Big East's collapses, and Notre Dame getting destroyed by Florida State was nearly as bad.

For as much as I criticize Pitt for its early round disappointments in the tournament, I have to admit that my favorite team, Syracuse, also frequently chokes against much higher seeds (like 11th-seeded Marquette this year). Jim Boeheim has been to three Final Fours and won the title with Carmelo Anthony in 2003, but he underachieves in the tournament as much as any coach besides Jamie Dixon.

Having watched some of just about every game that's been on so far, it's clear that Ohio State is the best team in the field. If the Buckeyes keep shooting 3s like they have their first two games, they will win it all.

Hopefully you're doing well in your bracket, and good luck the rest of the way. I went heavy on Big East teams and took Syracuse all the way, so I'm pretty much toast.

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