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How is this Big East Team Not on the Bubble?


Even with the absence of UConn due to academic sanctions, the Big East is still projected by many to have the most teams go to the NCAA Tournament. Disregard the fact that the Big Ten has the higher RPI as a conference, the Big East is still projected to have more teams dance. Forget the fact that six Big East teams were eliminated in the first weekend of last year’s NCAA Tournament, it appears that at least for one more season, we will have to put up with a questionable at-large bid or two coming out of the Big East. The team who is said to be almost a lock this season from the Big East, which I can’t understand, is Cincinnati.

The Bearcats are currently in 11th place in the Big East and comfortably projected by most in the 8 or 9-seed range. Now, I understand that UConn a few years ago finished 9th in Big East play and then won the National Championship, but that team had plenty of great wins in the non-conference schedule to build its resume to a No. 3 seed. That UConn team, led by Kemba Walker, won the Maui Invitational and had non-conference wins against Michigan State, Kentucky, Texas and Tennessee. In comparison, Cincinnati’s best non-conference wins are Oregon, Iowa State, Alabama and Xavier and they are 1-4 against the RPI Top 25 (defeated Marquette). They do have four wins against the top 50, but a 4-8 record against the top 50 isn’t stellar.

If you play against 12 teams in the top 50, is beating four of them supposed to be good? This Cincinnati team isn’t anywhere near the same category as the 2011 UConn team and has no business in the NCAA Tournament if they end up finishing in 11th place, where they currently stand. Cincinnati has also lost six of its last eight games, which isn’t exactly the same type of run UConn had going into the tournament in 2011 as a ninth-place Big East team.

What other teams currently projected comfortably in the dance seem a bit out of place? Will the selection committee have a different opinion on these teams than most in the media do? Discuss in the comments section below.

Article written by John Wilmhoff

Former beer vendor, college mascot and ESPN editor. This spring, you can also find me blogging about the Reds on Follow me on Twitter: @JohnWilmhoff

15 Comments for How is this Big East Team Not on the Bubble?

  1. jjk
    4:10 pm March 6, 2013 Permalink

    I agree. I’m in Cincinnati and have seen them play several times. Offensively they are pathetic & rely heavily on Kilpatrick to score. Their bigs have no offensive game at all. They rarely get out of the fifties, but that is fairly typical of most Big East teams.

  2. Big Blue Fan
    4:11 pm March 6, 2013 Permalink

    Because you get extra points for playing in the Big East and lose points playing in the SEC. They didn’t realize the Big East is way down this year

  3. Let's See...
    4:19 pm March 6, 2013 Permalink

    Let’s see…if Cincy has a 4-8 record against Top 50 teams, it’s the same as saying they have 1 win for every 2 losses. UK has a 1-4 record against Top 50 teams which is worse. Using your logic, UK shouldn’t even be on the bubble either.

  4. Thatguy
    4:20 pm March 6, 2013 Permalink

    Because its like playing football in the SEC, it doesn’t matter if you are actually that gret, you are playing in the best conference.

  5. bigblueincincy
    4:26 pm March 6, 2013 Permalink

    Cincinnati being a solid “in” still baffles me. I’ve seen them play numerous times and have yet to see what these people see. I agree with jjk, offensively challenged. Beat Alabama on a last second shot at home, beat a bubble iowa state team, beat a Xavier team that is way down this year and beat a pac 12 team that wasnt arizona. Sorry U.C. fans but there’s no way you are a 8 or 9 seed, let alone a solid tourney team.

  6. Wah Wah Wilmhoff
    4:26 pm March 6, 2013 Permalink

    2. before everyone starts shedding tears, this is the exact same thing in reverse that happens for the SEC in football. UK has beaten one lock for the tourney (Missouri, at home, in overtime). Cincy has more losses against top teams sure but they have an almost identical record as UK playing much better teams. Thats just the way it is

  7. B-man
    4:30 pm March 6, 2013 Permalink

    I think it just shows how down college bb is this year. UC is a 8-10 seed in most brackets. Everyone seeded higher than them is either (a) a conference champ from an ultra-weak conference or a bubble team. I love my Cats, but I can’t say they, Ole Miss, Bama or Tennesse should be ahead of Cincinnati solely based on resumes. Now, I will say this, I believe they could all beat UC, but the problem is, the “eyeball” test doesn’t mean much in tourney selection. UK’s biggest problem is, their games against top 50 RPI teams were played against a few of powerhouses (Duke, Louisville, FL) RPI-wise and played on the road. So, because they’re playing the big dogs (and not winning), they are being punished. Many other teams look better against 1-50 RPI competition because, they beat some 35-50 RPI ranked teams at home. Had UK had more 35-50 RPI opportunities (e.g. Missouri, Tenn), their 1-50 RPI wins might look better.

  8. B-man
    4:30 pm March 6, 2013 Permalink

    …By higher, I mean a higher number/worse seed.

  9. J in Orlando
    4:34 pm March 6, 2013 Permalink

    all this really doesnt matter…there are about 5-8 teams with the offensive AND defensive prowess to win it all, and none of them are in the Big East except Gtown

  10. Mc
    4:36 pm March 6, 2013 Permalink

    I compare the Big 10 in basketball to the SEC in football, only the SEC has credibility by actually winning championships; 7 in a row vs 1 since 1990. Same logic for Big East basketball. I don’t have a problem with UC getting in since they have some decent out-of-conference winS. Also sure the New Mexico loss somehow helps their RPI since New Mexico has the 2nd highest RPI somehow. I do think they should be moving down though as they’re struggling big time. Maybe a 10 or 11 seed.

  11. RICK
    4:55 pm March 6, 2013 Permalink

    Lost 6 out of 7, Hell lets let Western Ky. in .

  12. ed cayce
    5:00 pm March 6, 2013 Permalink

    sleeping giants out west this year. dook and b10 (or whatever the hell that conf is called) will be squashed like pissants

  13. Bobby Knight's Shrink
    6:34 pm March 6, 2013 Permalink

    No way the “Scarecats” should be in the NCAA Tournament

  14. Bobby Knight's Shrink
    6:36 pm March 6, 2013 Permalink

    By the way, if they lose to So. Florida, they have a LOSING CONFERENCE record, and , by rule, canNOT be selected as an at-large team ! Go BULLS !

  15. mashburnfan1
    10:20 pm March 6, 2013 Permalink

    Why is Missouri such a lock and projected 8 seed. They have not done anything either. Blown out by Louisvill and FL, the only real teams they have played. Alos losses to bad teams like us, Lsu, Tex Am. I don’t get it. Only decent win is VCU early in season.