Rick, that's what you get when you've got a TV gig lined up just in case your Louisville team craps out in the first game against Morehead State. You of all people should know not to tempt the Gods like that.
All week we've been listening to Charles Barkley mouth off about his disdain for Big East Basketball. And unfortunately, despite the fact that it remains obvious he actually has no idea what he's talking about, he still looks like a savant.
I feared this outcome, but I had no idea it would be THIS bad...
The Big East is 9-9 in the tournament and the odds of seeing one Big East Final Four team seem grim, let alone multiple ones.
1-seed Pitt is out. As well as 2-seed Notre Dame. So is 3-seed Syracuse, 4-seed Louisville, 6-seed St. John's, 6-seed Georgetown, 6-seed Cincinnati and 8-seed Villanova.
Only UConn and Marquette remain, and it almost feels as though they survive by default, given that they had to beat a fellow Big East team to get there.
To say the opening weekend was a disaster for the Big East would be an understatement. It was something worse...validation to those who think the conference is a bloated, over-valued collection of good-but-nothing-special teams.
You and I know there's more to the story. That success in the tournament is based on various factors. That a team's conference doesn't advance, only teams do. The Horizon League wasn't the 2nd-best conference in the nation last year just because Butler went to the finals. Just as the Big East isn't one of the worst conference in the nation because most of it's team are gone already.
Big East commish tried his best to make good out of the situation but only ends up sounding like a PR-trained tool:
The results obviously aren’t what we were hoping for," Big East Commissioner John Marinatto said.
"The body of work that our schools created over the course of the year certainly overshadows what happens in the tournament," Marinatto said. "In the tournament, you have to get lucky, you have to be fortunate. Everything has to come together."
Really, John? People value regular-season results over post-season results? What sport do you know that works like that? No one cares who won the regular-season title, they only remember what you did in the playoffs. And the Big East screwed the pooch on that one.
Ultimately I don't think this really proves or justifies anything. But perception is reality. And unless UConn and Marquette both make magical runs to the Final Four, that perception won't change. Even if they do, it still probably won't. In the off-season ahead, we'll be reminded that at the end of the day, regular-season wins are nice but ultimately futile in the big picture.
The Big East needs to win Tourney games and it needs to send more teams to the Final Four. Point blank period. Until then we'll merely live up to the expectation we've created for ourselves.
Especially Pitt. Good lord, what a waste of a good team. Again...