NCAA Tournament Instareaction: Big East TeamsPosted by George Hershey on March 16th, 2014
Four Big East teams were selected to participate in the NCAA Tournament, a solid showing for the new league. At one point it looked like up to six teams could be dancing, but even more recently it was a realistic possibility that only two teams would earn bids. Below are a few quick thoughts on the four Big East selections.
- Villanova has to be very happy about its region: The Wildcats will play in Buffalo the first weekend, and if they make it to the second week, will remain nearby at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. The Wildcats will miss ssome of the most dangerous top-three seeds, such as Duke and Syracuse, and will probably face Iowa State, a beatable Big 12 team with some flaws, in the Sweet Sixteen. The top seed in the region is Virginia, a great team deserving of the honor, but Villanova was only one spot behind them on the official seed list, so Jay Wright’s team should be feeling confident that it can beat anybody in the region.
- Creighton’s #3 seed was surprising: Most, including Doug McDermott, thought that the Bluejays would be a #4 seed in this Tournament, but they ended up on the #3 line, similar to Marquette’s placement a year ago. The Bluejays do not have the easiest path, with a potential second game against Baylor in San Antonio and a trip to Anaheim for the second week if they advance that far. Creighton is similar to Wisconsin in many ways and should match up well if they are to play the Badgers. If they end up playing Arizona for a spot in the Final Four, Ethan Wragge could exploit the Wildcats’ frontcourt by drawing them outside their comfort zones.
- Xavier really needed its win over Marquette in the Big East Tournament: The Musketeers were the second-to-last team placed in the field and will play North Carolina State in a play-in game on Tuesday night in Dayton. Most experts thought the Musketeerse were a lock two weeks ago, but a loss to Seton Hall must have dropped them back pretty far. If they win their first round game, Saint Louis will await them in the next round. The Bilikens have not looked good recently, losing to St. Bonaventure in the A-1o Tournament and dropping four out of five contests after winning 19 straight. Xavier is in a great spot for a play-in team.
- It’s amazing how close Georgetown was to making the tournament: After releasing the bracket, Georgetown was revealed as one of the first four teams out. If they had not lost to DePaul on Wednesday night, they likely would have earned a bid, a sad and frustrating reality for the Hoyas and their fans. Their strength of schedule was highly respected by the committee, but a couple bad losses appears to have been too much to overcome.