To anyone who has listened to me over the past several weeks, I've been saying the Big East is the most overrated conference in history. With the hype machine in college basketball at an all-time high that's not an exaggeration by any stretch. Through the first game of the Saturday portion in the NCAA Tournament, I get the feeling those same people that were saying I was crazy, those Big East die-hards, are starting to back-track as the evidence has been put forth right in front of them.
Just look at the Big East teams that have already been eliminated. Villanova (lost to George Mason), West Virginia (lost to Kentucky in third round), St. John's (lost to Gonzaga), Georgetown (lost to VCU) and Louisville (lost to Morehead State). That's a lot of teams, to say the least. Every single one was an upset besides the West Virginia loss to Kentucky Saturday. On top of that, look at the conferences that beat these Big East teams: Colonial, SEC, West Coast, Colonial (again) and Ohio Valley.
Is that what happens to the greatest conference in the history of the universe? I don't think so. In my Final Four picks I had exactly zero Big East teams. I had just two teams in the Elite Eight (Pittsburgh and Notre Dame). I'm not surprised the conference has struggled greatly in the tournament, but for the losses to come so quickly, against mediocre conferences at best, is surprising. And for those trumpeting the exploits of the Big East have become very, very silent.
You can't blame them now. After all, what in the world could they say? But the crow has to taste pretty darn bad.
There are still six teams left in the tournament, although that number is guaranteed to drop to at least four by the time the third round comes to a close. But after what's happened in the early going, does anyone have full confidence that Marquette, Syracuse, Cincinnati, UConn, Notre Dame or Pittsburgh can win the championship? The only team that comes even close is Pittsburgh, but that's just because the Panthers have probably the easiest road to the Final Four out of the Southeast.
Can a Big East team end up winning the entire thing? Absolutely. But that will never change the fact that this conference didn't live up to the hype. Not in the least.
The Big Least.