Big East M5: 03.21.13 EditionPosted by mlemaire on March 21st, 2013
- So technically the first four games of the NCAA Tournament have already been played but today is the day that truly feels like the start as games tip off early and will be broadcast all day long. Speaking of folks who are excited, how can you not want to root for a team that has a fan base comprised of a hodgepodge of students, faculty, and of course 79-year-old Indiana transplants living in nearby Fort Myers. Yes, the ride has already been a fun one for Florida Gulf Coast and its fans, and I don’t think any of them care that the team’s chances of beating Georgetown are not very good. The Eagles may have thought they deserved a slightly higher seed, but the chips have fallen where they did and FGCU is apparently thrilled at the chance to play giant-slayer against one of the best teams in the Big East. It is more fun for us when Big East teams are playing well in the NCAA Tournament, but let’s just say that if FGCU were able to pull off a shocker, I wouldn’t be mad about it.
- I really can’t agree more with the opinion that “if you value a player based on how much worse his team would be without him, Otto Porter would be your pick for National Player of the Year.” The Hoyas were, at one point this season, a team that scored 37 points against Tennessee and got a 26-point beat down from Pittsburgh. When the Hoyas lost second-leading scorer Greg Whittington to academic suspension, Porter put the team on his back for the rest of conference play and Georgetown ended the regular season as the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament. Admittedly, this is an opinion that is shared by many others, but I still feel like calling it out because Porter really isn’t getting enough NPOY consideration and so I’ve taken on the job of single-handedly jump-starting his campaign myself.
- I called point guard Tray Woodall my key player on Pittsburgh in the Panthers’ NCAA Tourney capsuel, but Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette makes a pretty good case that streaky Lamar Patterson is actually the key to the Panthers’ tournament success this March. Big things were expected of Patterson this season and while he remains a versatile defender and dangerous offensive player, he has been inconsistent and seemingly nonchalant, resulting in an up-and-down year that he is not particularly proud of. The Panthers desperately need a good showing in the Big Dance to silence some of the critics and if Patterson can rise to the occasion and be the guy for coach Jamie Dixon, their chances of making run improve greatly.
- While this story about potential major and wide-ranging violations committed by the Syracuse basketball and football programs is somewhat old news, sources in the CBS story certainly do not paint a flattering picture of the sort of things that the NCAA is investigating. UConn fans are already having some tempered fun with the story, while head coach Jim Boeheim has already issued a surprisingly tempered “this happens every year and I don’t care” statement. This no longer feels like it is always something with the Orange, it IS always something with the Orange. The NCAA and its investigations have proven to be a giant joke, but considering the fact that NCAA investigators are sniffing around an alleged 2007 sexual assault and several academic suspensions at the school, brace yourselves for yet another story about some scandal that took place under Boeheim’s watch. At this point, is there anyone in the country who feels confident in saying he will be back on the sideline next season?
- It has been rumored for some weeks now because there are good reporters on the beat that Butler, Creighton, and Xavier would be the three schools likely to join the new Big East and, now that it is official, those three teams will join the former Catholic 7 to form a basketball-first conference that is already being over-hyped by giddy college basketball fans forgetful that DePaul has been terrible for nearly two decades. The door is still open for two more teams (good reporters say Saint Louis and Dayton are next) to join the conference in the near future, but for now, the new Big East is set and it will be fascinating for college basketball lovers to watch. These additions make sense on every level and for everyone involved. The Bulldogs, Bluejays, and Musketeers haven’t really been true mid-majors in a long time and there is a chance one of these teams could win a conference title in its inaugural season. They will get a bigger profile and some lovely television cash, while the new Big East gets three teams to further improve their basketball chops and make sure that media rights deal will remain a lucrative one.