Don't Buy Big East Hoop Hype

Conference hasn't lived up to its reputation in recent years
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2009 7:50 PM CDT
Louisville guard Jerry Smith celebrates after a basket against West Virginia on Saturday.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – With March Madness upon us, the hype machine is cranking up again about the Big East, with powers like Louisville, Connecticut, and Pittsburgh. Mike Celizic covered the conference’s period of dominance in the 1980s, but he’s no longer convinced, he writes for NBC Sports. The league has won only two NCAA basketball championships this century, fewer than the Atlantic Coast Conference and tied with the Southeastern.

Championships are not necessarily a fair assessment—luck is going to be a factor in any single-elimination tournament. But the Big East isn’t even getting to the Final Four very often—only three members have made it since 2000, compared to eight for the ACC, seven for the Big Ten, and six for the Big 12. “Win the title,” Celizic admonishes, “and I’ll be back on the bandwagon.”