Everyone loves to whine about the East Coast Bias, but after watching the NCAA tournament this weekend, the whiners certainly had a complaint. All season, I heard the talking heads yammer endlessly about how great the Big East was. The conference put 8 teams in the tournament, almost all of which had superior seeds. Louisville was the lowest seeded Big East team with a 9. The Big East had two 2s, two 3s, and a one seed. They should have dominated the Sweet 16.
Instead, they advanced just Syracuse (their one) and West Virginia (a two). Meanwhile, the lowly Big 10 slapped three teams into the Sweet 16. What’s really impressive is that two of those teams advanced despite losing arguably their best player (Lucas for MSU, Hummel for Purdue). If the Big East was located 1000 miles from Bristol, CN, I wonder if they would have gotten the same attention.
It’s also fascinating to note all the coaches with Indiana ties that are advancing. This is not a criticism of IU hiring Tom Crean. He was the right hire, and needs at least 5 years before we can judge his work. He took over what was essentially a death penalty program. This is more a commentary on how bad the Kelvin Sampson hire was. Still when you see Matta, Painter, Drew, and Stevens all in the Sweet 16 it makes you wonder why someone like Sampson was ever brought in. Shoot, New Mexico had a rough second round, but Alford is proving he can coach too. It hurts having a Hoosier-free March. Well, not really Hoosier-free as much as “full of ex-IU players and ex-potetial IU coaches all having success at other schools” March.
I’ll just have to keep pulling for the Bulldogs to uphold Hoosier pride and also to keep making the Big East look fraudulent.