Big East Hoops Dominance

Last Updated: January 4th, 2009 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor)

Earlier in the college basketball season I broke down how the ACC and the Big East stacked up against each other to be America’s best basketball conference. Notably pointing out how deep the Big East has become, and that soon they would be considered the best conference in the nation if they were not already. As the first quarter of the college basketball season has begun, the Big East has really proved the dominance among the college basketball ranks around the land. The Big East broke an NCAA record in early December when they put an amazing 8 teams in the Associated Press Top 25 Polls. Those schools proved that those rankings were not a one week wonder as well considering they have continued to have seven teams in the Top 25 through the start of 2009. Again this week when the Associated Press releases the Top 25 and the Big East has a chance to improve their own record.

The Big East entered last week with 7 teams ranked among the Top 25. Those teams were from the likes of #2 Connecticut, #3 Pittsburgh, #7 Notre Dame, #11 Georgetown, #13 Syracuse, #15 Villanova, and #18 Louisville. However, Marquette and West Virginia are the two next teams receiving the most votes to enter the top 25. Considering the past week it is very likely that 9 Big East schools will be ranked when the polls are released. #24 Ohio State dropped a loss to Minnesota this week that should knock them out the top 25. West Virginia trampled the Buckeyes a week ago by 28 points. The Mountaineers definitely deserve a top 25 ranking and they will get it. Marquette had a big win over Villanova to ring in the New Year and also a solid win over Cincinnati earlier today. #23 Michigan was defeated by unranked Wisconsin and could slide out of the top 25 as well placing Marquette into the mix. #21 Minnesota also dropped a game this week, but bounced back beating Ohio State. The Golden Gophers have only one loss on the season and I would expect them to stay among the best 25 in the nation.

Considering the rest of the 7 teams from the Big East that are ranked can stay, the Big East will most likely put 9 teams in the AP Top 25. Both #15 Villanova and #18 Louisville suffered losses this week. Louisville fell to UNLV and they will have to beat Kentucky today to try and stay in the mix. The Cardinals could be in jeopardy of dropping out of the top 25, but it may not be probable that they drop out from the #18 spot from a week ago. If everything works out the Big East will again show why they are the best conference from top to bottom with the opportunity to place 9 schools into the rankings.

Even if the Big East does not reach 9 teams, they still have another chance at making history by seasons end. The Big East has the chance to place 10 teams into the NCAA Tournament in March becoming the first ever conference to do so. The Big East already holds the record for sending the most teams to the NCAA Tournament sending eight teams. The Big East sent eight teams to the big dance in 2006 and again last season. This year the Big East will attempt to be the first conference to ever put a double digit amount of teams into the Tourney. Providence (10-4), St. Johns (10-4), and Cincinnati (10-3) all have a chance to join the other 9 teams that are among the nations top 25. If anyone of those 3 schools can survive conference play with a fairly good record, then they will the Big East a great opportunity to place 10 teams into the March Madness.

Despite the number of quality teams in the Big East, the conference would love claim a National Champion this year adding to their dominate performance. North Carolina has remained the top team in the nation this season in college basketball. However, the Big East has had two teams behind the Tarheels just waiting for to take the nations top rank. Connecticut suffered a tough defeat from Georgetown earlier and the week and Pittsburgh will jump to the #2 position in this weeks rankings. Pittsburgh has the early looks to be the only team in the nation that could challenge North Carolina. The Panthers are a prefect 14-0 and coming off a blowout over #8 Georgetown. Pittsburgh appears to be the class of the elite Big East and perhaps their tough schedule will prepare them for something special come Tournament time.

The Big East top teams will all have a chance to make deep season runs at the end of the year during the NCAA Tournament. The Big East has had 5 teams this season at one point or another receive a top 10 ranking. Those schools will go to war with each other all season. The premier competition will likely have them the best prepared conference in March if they are not worn out from the brutal conference play. Despite if they can pull off a National Championship, you must marvel and the depth and the quality of teams the conference produces. The Big East is incomparable among the best conferences in college basketball in terms of depth. There success this season is unparallel to start the year and we will have to see if it pays off at the end of the season.

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Posted in NCAA Basketball - Last Updated on Sunday, January 4th, 2009 @ 3:55 pm (EST)
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