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Big East Becomes Big Disappointment

After having 11 teams entered this season, the Big East is down to two remaining hopefuls. Just Marquette and Connecticut remain in the NCAA Tournament after Notre Dame and Pittsburgh were upset victims this weekend.

So much for all that talk  of the Big East being a dominant basketball conference. We started with 11 teams in the big dance. That number is now down to two.

Connecticut and Marquette are the last two Big East teams standing in this years Men’s NCAA Tournament. As much as I hate to admit it, maybe Charles Barkley was right when he continued to claim the conference was overrated.

Villanova was the first to go after falling about late in their second round game against George Mason. It was one and done for the Wildcats and former New Jersey hoopsters Corey Fisher, Corey Stokes, Dominic Cheek, and Dallas Ouano.

The Wildcats were not the only Big East team to be one and done. In fact, three others lost their first game in the tournament. No. 6 seed St. John’s just did not have enough game without D.J. Kennedy and lost to No. 11 Gonzaga. Georgetown entered as a six seed and lost to a Virginia Commonwealth squad that many thought had no business being in the tournament at all.

Louisville also lost their first game. The No.4 seed Cardinals inability to rebound cost them against 13th seeded Morehead State and Kenneth Faried.

If you are keeping track, four of the eleven Big East teams lost their first game. So much for that dominant conference.

West Virginia got past a pesky Clemson team in the second round, but would end their season with a loss to Kentucky. Cincinnati beat a good team in Missouri and Connecticut topped Bucknell in their openers. The Bearcats and Huskies would have to meet each other this weekend, with Connecticut moving on and the Bearcats going home. Not much you can do about that, one Big East team had to loss there.

The same thing happened when No. 3 seed Syracuse met No. 11 Marquette last night. Marquette advanced after upsetting No. 6 seed Xavier. Syracuse had defeated Indiana State in their first game. Guess what happened? Another high seeded Big East team lost. Marquette is moving on to the sweet sixteen after beating the Orange of Syracuse.

Sure, that’s an upset but it does not compare to the other two disappointments we saw this weekend. No. 1 seeded Pittsburgh fell to No. 8 seed Butler. There was a wild ending in this one as some players committed ill advised fouls. A lot of brackets were broken after the Panthers lost as many people had them going at least as far as the Final Four.

Notre Dame, a No. 2 seed, lost to No. 10 seeded Florida State last night. Yet another NCAA Tournament disappointment for the Fighting Irish. As the tournament approached, Notre Dame had been in the discussions for a No. 1 seed. Can you say overrated?

So what’s next?

No. 11 Marquette will come to Newark to take on No. 2 North Carolina in the East Bracket. The Golden Eagles are playing good basketball right now but the Tar Heels will be tough to overcome. Would have been interesting to see Syracuse in this spot with some what of a crowd in their favor.

In the West Bracket, No. 3 seeded Connecticut and superstar point guard Kemba Walker will be in Anaheim to take on the No. 2 seeded San Diego State. UConn is one of the country’s hottest teams and the Big East’s last hope for Final Four representation. It won’t be easy, even if they get past San Diego State. A matchup with the Duke/Arizona winner will not be easy either.

The Marquette/North Carolina winner will take on the winner of Ohio State/Kentucky.

So, the question is, was the Big East overrated? Or did they just get hit with some teams on hot streaks? Did the tough Big East schedule wear the teams out?

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