Three Things I Learned From The Tournament’s First Weekend

1. The Big East confuses the heck out of me – Coming into the tournament I felt reasonably confident that the Big East was the strongest conference. Now I’m not so sure. In some ways they have been better than expected, while in others they have disappointed.

The Good – Villanova has been a pleasant surprise, and a very good indicator of what the future holds for the ridiculously young team; West Virginia asserted themselves nicely in two tough games, and they showed that you can be a sleaze bag and still be a great coach; Marquette did everything asked of them and should be proud; Louisville was ridiculously dominant, and though it is far too early to do such a thing, I am penciling in Louisville – North Carolina as the best game of the tournament.

The Bad – Notre Dame should be disgusted with themselves; apparently people were too quick to elevate Pitt to legend status based on a few tournament wins and should have instead paid more attention to their countless disappointments during the season; UConn has the luxury of getting a mulligan in the San Diego game because of the A.J. Price injury, but I am not totally convinced that they wanted that game badly enough to win with him in there; Georgetown lost to a very good and well seasoned Davidson team with an incredible player at the helm, but they gave up a pretty huge lead to do it.

Overall, the expectations for an eight bid conference would be four teams in the second round and two in the Sweet Sixteen, so they exceeded both nicely with six and three. The problem is that only one of those three teams, Louisville, is a legitimate contender, and they have to get past two incredibly tough opponents just to make the Final Four. I will have to re-evaluate this next statement if two of the three teams wins next weekend, or if Louisville makes it to San Antonio, but right now I have to think that the overall tournament is going to be a bit of a disappointment for the conference.

2. The winner will be… – I have no idea really, and probably less than I did before it all began. With some confidence, though, I can say that I think that the winner will come from this list – North Carolina, Louisville, Kansas, Wisconsin, UCLA. It pains me a bit to leave Memphis off, and I may come back and edit this post at a later date to avoid embarrassment if the need arises, but I just don’t think that anything the South has to offer measures up to the scariness we have seen in other groups.

3. I have a serious man-crush on Stephen Curry – Actually, I have known this one for quite a while now. I’ve been impressed by a lot of players over the last four days, but none more than Curry. The guy is quite a bit shorter than me and I’m too short to start for most power conference teams. He weighs about 12 pounds, which is coincidentally also how old he looks. He has a team around him that is solid and fun to watch, but the coaching staff certainly doesn’t have to worry about any of them bolting for the draft. Everyone in the world knows he is going to get the ball almost all of the time. Despite all that, though, he pretty much single-handedly has won two games for his team. Few if any other players have 55 points in the two games. Curry has that many in the two second halves alone. People will trip over themselves in the next couple of days to find ways to describe Curry as a March Madness discovery, but that’s ridiculous. He had 30 against Maryland in the tournament last year, and he has been a dynamic scoring machine during the regular season for the last two years.

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