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.