Mens Big East Basketball Report
2006 Big East Basketball
The Big East Basketball Conference has 16 teams, including Connecticut, Villanova, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Georgetown, Marquette, Seton Hall, Cincinnati, and Syracuse. Those are the top eight teams in the league and every one of them seems to be bound for March Madness.
Why would 50% of the teams from one conference almost be assured of a post-season berth? Consider this season’s Mens Big East Tournament where Syracuse, the eighth place team, defeated nationally ranked Georgetown (23) and Connecticut (1) along with Cincinnati to make it to the conference finals. Then there’s Pittsburgh (15), the fourth place team in the Big East, defeating West Virginia (19) and Villanova (2) along with Louisville to make their way to the finals.
Along with having the two top-rated teams in the nation, Connecticut and Villanova respectively, the Big East has unranked teams like Syracuse that can take them on, out play them, and beat them. It’s a conference in which 12 of 16 teams, 75-percent, have winning records and seven of 16 teams are .500 or better when playing other Big East teams. Of the teams destine to make it to the Final Four, many prognosticators think that two Big East clubs-- Connecticut and Villanova— will be there.
It’s one thing when teams within a league are evenly matched, it’s another when they can play and consistently beat schools out of their conference. This is a league that has a large quantity of competitive teams with high quality play from each of those clubs. Quantity and quality define the Big East.
The fact that almost one-eighth of the NCAA Tournament field will come from this conference is amazing. And the fact that both the number one and number two teams are out of the conference final, which will now be a battle between the number four and eight teams, reveals the depth of this particular league. To compare the Big East to its rival conference—the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)—of the 12 teams in the ACC it looks as though only four—Duke, North Carolina, Boston College and NC State—will be headed to the Big Dance.
Of the top 44 teams in the official 2006 NCAA Men’s Basketball Rating Percentage Index (RPI), the Big East has eight teams while the ACC has 4. No other conference has eight clubs in the top 44. The RPI formula gives more weight to road victories and penalizes teams that lose at home. One-half of the Big East teams have done well on the road, which not only helps their RPI number but it indicates a certain amount of toughness, strength, and maturity—all of which are needed to win the NCAA Tournament, where just about every game is a road game.
Of course last year’s National Champions—North Carolina-- were from the ACC. Weighing percentages, trends, and stats, this year’s champion has a good chance of coming from another conference-- the Big East Basketball Conference.
MadduxSports.com is the authority when it comes to the Big Dance, check out the 2006 tournament coverage which includes spreads and don't forget to grab your March Madness brackets and winning march madness picks.
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