Here’s a quick rundown on the weekend’s biggest losers from the NCAA Tournament. Here‘s the updated bracket. I’m getting my ass kicked (28th percentile), but feel free to brag about yours in the comments.
The Big East. After getting a record 11 teams into the Field of 68, only two remain: UConn and Marquette. Yes, Marquette. Neither team posted a winning record in conference play, but UConn and their star, Kemba Walker, got hot in the Big East tournament, and Marquette has been paced by the scoring of guard Daruis Johnson-Odom.
Big guns Pittsburgh and Notre Dame were both bounced in the second round, and the only two teams that advanced did so by beating other Big East teams. For those keeping track of this sort of thing, the Big Ten (Ohio State, Wisconsin), the SEC (Kentucky, Florida), and even the Mountain West (BYU, San Diego State) has as many teams in the round of 16 as the Big East.
That said, I’m not quite ready to jump on the “Big East was overrated” bandwagon just yet. Most conferences that get a lot of teams in typically underperform in the tournament, plus I personally had not bought into all of the hype anyway. I’d bet that a lot of people who did are just east coasters that turn their nose up at the rest of the country out of habit. Just my opinion.
The nomenclature of “2nd Round” and “3rd Round.” Just because the NCAA didn’t refer to this past weekend’s games as “first and second round” action, that doesn’t mean that they weren’t just that. Even the CBS people got tired of the charade, and started using language like “round of 64” and “round of 32.” This was a bigger joke than “Leaders” and “Legends,” and that’s saying a lot.
Referees working Arizona games. The Wildcats won both of their weekend games with help from questionable rulings, starting with a bizarre no-call on a last second shot that sealed their win against Memphis in their round of 64 game. Yesterday, Texas got a bum five-second violation called on them late in their game; Arizona scored on the ensuing possession. Game over.
There also was some controversy over two calls at the end of the Pitt-Butler game. I’m not a fan of swallowing the whistle at the end of games, and those both looked like legitimate fouls to me.