Day 1 of the NCAA tournament couldn’t have gone worse for what many believe is/was the best conference in College Basketball. Big East teams went a combined 1-3 yesterday, with their sole win being a 2 over a 15. This has to have Syracuse and other Big East teams playing today at least a little bit concerned.
#2 seed, Villanova was down 8 with 4 minutes to play to #15 seed, Robert Morris and needed Overtime to finally overcome the Colonials. Marquette was stunned by Washington in the final seconds as the #11 seeded Huskies were able to defeat a Marquette team some folks had making a run to the Sweet 16.
Notre Dame was a bubble team for the majority of the season but their excellent late season play and wins in the Big East Tournament got them a berth into the field of 65. That being said, they played like the bubble team they had been the entire season yesterday versus Old Dominion. While Old Dominion is no slouch, the Irish need to be able to win first round games like this. Harangody wasn’t healthy, and it showed yesterday.
The biggest upset of the tournament thus far came at the hand of the Georgetown Hoyas. Seeded 3rd, they were up against the Bobcats of Ohio University (not Ohio State, Ohio). At one point Ohio had a 19 point lead over the Hoyas as their defense simply couldn’t stop them. They gave up an astounding 97 points, the highest all season, and never had control of the game. Hats off to Ohio, and back to the drawing board for John Thompson III.
Where does this leave today’s Big East teams? Can they erase the wound the rest of the field of 65 left on the Big East? 4 more Big East squads play today, Syracuse, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, and Louisville. The first 3 teams are all heavy favorites today (yet so was Villanova and Georgetown) and I expect Syracuse and West Virginia to win handily. Pittsburgh is a tricky team to figure out, and while I do think they’ll win rather easily, Oakland is no gimme. It’ll be close, at least for the first 30 minutes of the game. Louisville though, could become the next casualty for the Big East. They are going up against 8th seeded California and a Pac 10 school has already defeated a Big East squad once (Washington over Marquette). I picked Louisville in my bracket, but that means nothing. We’ll find out around midnight tonight whose still dancing. My question to our readers though: Is the Big East just finding some bad luck at the wrong time, or is the Big East conference just not as good as we thought?