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Big East Had Many Good Teams but No Great Teams

It was widely acknowledged that college basketball was down this year. There was one bonafide superstar — The Jimmer — and you could possibly argue that the heroics of Kemba Walker were in a similar class. Relatedly, Duke, Ohio State, and Kansas were all very good, but few would argue they were great teams. Freshman like Harrison Barnes and Jared Sullinger got plenty of hype, but again, there weren’t many driving forces in college basketball this year. In my estimation, the one consistent theme was that the Big East seemed to be the top conference in the country.

Throughout the season, 7-8 Big East teams found themselves in the Top 25 rankings. Pitt, Syracuse, UConn and Notre Dame got high up on the charts while West Virginia, St. John’s, Louisville, Georgetown, and Villanova all filled up Top 25 spots as well. Come tournament time, a record 11 teams from their conference made the Big Dance.

Sending 11 teams to the tourney should be an indication that the Big East was the best, but it is somewhat misleading.

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Pac-10, Big East, Big Ten Conference Movement Makes No Sense

Conference jumping. It’s the latest trend hitting the world of college sports. Perhaps it will one day become an official Olympic sport, featuring slightly more polyester pants than golf and certainly less coordination and nose plugs than synchronized swimming. Showing no respect for traditional conference alignments, or 5th grade geography teachers for that matter, colleges are switching league affiliations from coast to coast on Boise taters and Texas State toast. Quite possibly, U-Haul may want to begin sponsoring bowls at this rate.

Remember the good ol’ days when the Big Ten actually had that many teams and the folks at the Big East actually owned a compass? Well those times are as outdated as Bear Bryant’s houndstooth hat. Today, universities have begun to mislead a generation of youths. If Lewis and Clark had only possessed foresight they might have been able to smell the salts of the Pacific-10 at around Boulder or Salt Lake City and done a 180 instead of schlepping all the way up the Oregon coast. Sacagawea would not have minded. In fact, she might have been able to show Larry Scott that Utah is not on the Pacific.

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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?