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.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!