Bob Knight: ‘Big East Without Any Question Best Conference’

Bob Knight should not be upset I’m picking on him. Rather, he should be proud his word means enough for me to give them attention. OK, now that we have this out of the way, I cannot believe he definitively calls the Big East the best conference in the country. He was a guest on Sporting News Radio Tuesday, and got off this comment:

Leagues go from year-to-year. Like this year, without any question, the Big East has the best conference — the toughest teams, the most really good teams, are in the Big East. And I saw that watching the Big East tournament this past week — that’s why I picked Pittsburgh as a real likely contender in this tournament. I’m anxious to see if they can play as hard and as well defensively in this tournament as they did in the last tournament they were in.

To clarify for you Bob, in case you’re already backing off your prediction Sunday, you didn’t pick Pitt as a real likely contender in the tournament — you picked them to win the whole thing. Hedging on the pick much? Anyway, I was fairly confident, in one of those about to finish your sentence type of moments, that Knight was about to give the Pac-10 some serious props. Because after all, that was recognized by most experts as the top conference in the sport this year. I can respect a differing opinion, such as that of Knight, but how can he so definitively declare the Big East the best without any question? At best, it would be slightly better than the Pac-10, with some questions. But there’s no way it’s the best without any question. Right, because South Florida and Rutgers were such powerhouses this year. What you have to say about them, Bobby boy?

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  • http://psamp.blogspot.com tecmo

    6 top 25 teams is hard to argue with. Now, I know you’re a Pac-10 homer (and I’m a Big East homer), but I think Knight is dead on. The Pac-10 has two “really good teams” (using Knight’s terms), but there’s a gap between them and teams like Washington State and USC. Pitt won the tourament by beating 3 top-25 Big East schools (2 of which were ranked higher, and one that they lost to just a few weeks prior). You can argue that any of the Big East schools in the top 25 are “really good teams,” based on the fact that the top seed didn’t win the conference tourney (unlike the Pac-10). The Big East has a stockpile of teams that could make a run, while the Pac has 2 definite contenders, followed by some ok teams.

  • http://blogimoreravens.com Dewey

    South Florida and Rutgers > Oregon State (0-18)

    When the bottom-two teams in a 16-team conference could beat the worst team in a 10-team conference…

    The Big East is the best, hands down. The Pac-10 is pretty weak outside of UCLA and Stanford, and even so I don’t think Stanford stands a chance against G’town, Pittsburgh, Louisville, or even Connecticut. Hell, I think Marquette could beat ‘em, too.

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca

    All you have to do is consider last year that Syracuse could not make the NCAA tournament despite being a 20-game winner.

    Injuries did us in this year, but even so, we were NINTH in the conference and still had a legitimate shot at the tournament, until we lost to Villanova.

  • http://psamp.blogspot.com tecmo


    Not hating, but do you have any link to the “most experts claimed Pac-10 was the best this year” fact? I know they have 2 of the top 3 freshmen, and 2 teams in the top 10, but I can’t remember experts saying that. It might be because I’m a blind Big East homer

  • http://larrybrownsports.com Larry Brown

    Tecmo, I’ll see if I can find links … but without a doubt, I know when I heard analysis on TV and radio, almost always the analysts were saying the Pac-10 was the top conference. Perhaps people changed as the season went on, but I know for sure that at the beginning of the year, it was the consensus top conference. One for sure is Mike Decourcy at Sporting News — I know that because I hear him each week. I’m almost certain another was Gottlieb, as well as Lavin at ESPN. As for objectivity, I left the discussion open saying it’s a close call, unlike Knight who says there’s no question.

  • spjeepter17

    First off it is hard to compare a conference with 10 teams to a conference with 16 teams, but here are the average team records-
    Big East= 18.9 – 13.0 Pac10=19.8 – 12.5
    Occording to my calculations this would mean that the average Pac 10 team is better than the average Big East team. Like I said, sometimes your perspective can be effected by the shear number of teams that are in the Big East. Sure they have a few more good teams, but they also have a few more bad teams. Also it is important to note that the Pac 10 is one of a few conferences that actually plays a balanced schedule, that’s right, each team has to face the other teams twice, once at home and once on the road. This means that you simply cannot get away with getting lucky one time at home against a top team and have your stock rise that high because undoubtedly you will play them on their court. Ask Stanford, ASU, Arizona, WSU, and Cal how hard it is to suffer 2 losses to a team like UCLA instead of only one. Look at the tournament seedings, even the second place team in the Big East (Notre Dame) got past over by the number 3 team in the Pac 10 (WSU). Syracuse with 20 wins didn’t even make the tournament because the selection committee devalued those wins. The Big East has 8 teams in the tourney, while the Pac 10 has 6, whiel 6 is the lower amount, it is 60% of the Pac 10 whereas the Big East only has 50% of their conference int he tourney. The comparisons can go on forever, but when you look at simple fact the Pac 10 is just better. Oh yeah and did any Big East team get a number one seed? I didn’t think so!