Big East bashing palpable as Notre Dame pummeled by Florida State


Perhaps it was because it was buried late on a Sunday night, or maybe it was just because the Irish shot 32 percent from the floor and got a dismal output from their star, Ben Hansbrough.

Either way, the real second round of the NCAA Tournament concluded with the ninth Big East team exiting stage right, as the Irish were soundly spanked by Florida State in the Seminoles most impressive offensive performance of the season. Now, only two Big East teams remain…both which beat a conference foe to get to the second weekend.

Yes sir, it’s time to cue up a hearty selection of Big East hate.

Of all the talk that the Big East had become a superconference (really, who writes this crap?), the drubbing that Notre Dame took tonight at the hands of a fairly Chris Singleton-less Florida State club capped off a fairly embarrassing four days of games that saw Louisville fall to an Ohio Valley Conference team just a few hours into the Madness, Pittsburgh become the first No. 1 seed to lose, and Georgetown get embarrassed by a mid-major.

Only UConn and Marquette remain as BE representatives, and only the Huskies legitimately possess the right amount of talent to reach the Final Four. But both these squads clipped the wings of a fellow conference team. Basic deductive reasoning tells me that someone had to advance, and that there’s next to nothing to laud about this conference’s long weekend.

On a damage control rampage, Big East commissioner John Marinatto told the New York Times today that, “the body of work that our schools created over the course of the year certainly overshadows what happens in the tournament,” adding that a lot of luck is needed in the tournament too.

Marinatto, while somewhat correct, will certainly get scrutinized by his comments. I’m probably in the majority when I say that a strong regular season can’t overshadow a weak post-season, and I look at the NCAA Tournament as where a conference can really earn its street cred or become the butt of some brutal jokes.  Despite the best non-league record against BCS-conference teams, the latter is about to come in droves.

Tomorrow morning there’s going to be a lot of chatter that we overvalued this 16-team conference, ranging from its talent disparity to its pageantry. Others will add that the Big East is deemed the best conference in college basketball because it dominates the TV listings, or that it’s most popular in some of the country’s loudest and largest media markets that eagerly evangelize this brand of ball.

Either way, expect some unkind words to be hurled at the East Coast these next few days. I’ll be sure to have my armor up.

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Nick Fasulo is the manager of Searching for Billy Edelin. Follow him on Twitter @billyedelin.

Kennesaw State blows eight-point lead in 16 seconds, loses to Elon

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Kennesaw State entered Monday night at 1-6 on the season, but with 19 seconds left, it looked like the Owls have their second of the season locked up. Kendrick Ray made a pair of free throws with 19 seconds left to put KSU up 89-81, and all they had to do was avoid a complete meltdown to get out with a win.

They couldn’t.

A Luke Eddy layup with 16 seconds left cut the lead to six, and after KSU’s Nigel Pruitt missed two free throws, Dainan Swoope his a three with seven seconds left to make the score 89-86.

On the ensuing inbounds, Kennesaw State threw the ball away … and then proceeded to foul Eddy when he was shooting a three. This is what that disaster looked like:

Eddy would hit all three threes before, shockingly, KSU turned the ball over again. Elon could not capitalize this time, sending the game to overtime, where the Phoenix outscored the Owls 14-4.

Elon won 104-94.

Here’s what the comeback looked like on the play-by-play:

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Rick Pitino: Louisville ‘just ignored’ in top 25 due of scandal

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Louisville beatdown Saint Louis at the Barclays Center on Sunday night, a 77-57 win that was much closer at halftime than the final score might indicate.

The win moved the Cardinals to 5-0 on the season, and that, in turn, got Louisville into the back end of both top 25 polls.

They’re 24th in the AP Poll and 22nd in the Coaches Poll, but that happened on Monday morning. On Sunday night, Pitino made sure to get a rant in about how this team is viewed and why pundits and voters should overlook the scandal currently plaguing his program.

“I think people are looking at that and they’re not really studying the team,” he said, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal, adding that he thinks the team is “just ignored” because of the accusations leveled by self-described madam Katina Powell in the book she published back in October.

And here’s the thing: he is 100 percent correct. Louisville was overlooked in the preseason because the scandal, when combined with the fact that the Cardinals are integrating so many new pieces into their rotation, made it tough to see how they would be able to compete at a level that we’ve come to expect out of Louisville teams.

I know that because it’s why my colleagues at NBCSports.com, against my wishes, refused to allow me to rank Louisville in the preseason top 25. In other words, I’ve had first-hand interactions with the haters. But if we’re going to be honest here, scandal or no scandal, Louisville probably wasn’t going to find their way into the preseason top 25, not when they had to replace Terry Rozier and Montrezl Harrell.

And scandal or no scandal, no team from outside the top 25 is going to play their way into the top 25 by beating the likes of North Florida and St. Francis (NY) without some shenanigans — like Fred VanVleet getting hurt, like Indiana collapsing, like Arizona and Cal and Notre Dame playing their way out of the top 20 — happening around the country.

So Pitino is right: the scandal probably did have an impact on how his team was viewed in the preseason.

But Pitino the scandal isn’t what kept them out of the top 25 until Monday.

That weak non-conference schedule and roster turnover was why.

And if we’re going to be honest here, it probably should have kept them out for another week.