On Wednesday, Rivals.com college basketball writer Steve Megargee published an article at the recruiting website titled, “Is Butler’s run proof that mid-majors are closing gap?” The article looks at the improbable Final Four runs by George Mason and Butler in 2006 and 2010, respectively. Megargee asks a simple question: Are mid-major college basketball programs catching the Big-6 ones who have seemingly limitless resources and talent?
Better yet, are two occurrences within five years of one another enough to consider the feat more than coincidence? Megargee sets some guidelines in determining who is and who is not a “mid-major” in the sport. He dismisses Gonzaga, Xavier, and Memphis for their continued success in the tournament as well as on the recruiting trail.
I accept that, as those teams clearly operate on a level above the rest of the non-Big 6 teams. Megargee even dismisses the Final Four runs of Marquette (2003) and Louisville (2005) who both played in a strong Conference USA and operated like Big-6 teams. Continue reading →
From the Conference that brought you one of the best basketball games in history...
As this blog’s Senior Big East Correspondent (I’m pretty sure I’m the only Big East fan that writes on here), I’m proud to bring you the best Big East Conference preview you’ll find anywhere on the internet world wide webosphere. This season, the Big East has had a strong showing top to bottom in the non-conference slate. To date, the conference is #1 in RPI, and has probably been the best conference. As conference play begins this weekend, we’ll get to have a real look at the mettle of these teams when faced with programs more familiar with them.
Cincinnati -The Bearcats started off the season strong with impressive showings against Vandy and Maryland in Maui, capped off by a tough loss to Gonzaga in overtime of the Finals of the Maui Invitational in a game Cincy controlled most of the way. Cincinnati climbed up the rankings, but hit a two game speed bump against Xavier and UAB. Their defense has been stellar, holding all opponents under 70 points in regulation. Their style of play embodies the traditional Big East physicality and grit. There is good talent on the roster with Gates, Stephenson, and Vaughn carrying the torch. Cincinnati is still in good position to earn an at-large bid. Non-conference Grade: B+
Are the Huskies a "Coachable" group?
Connecticut -The Huskies of UConn have been good to date, but not great. They have a few good wins over William & Mary, LSU, and Harvard, as well as a close loss to Kentucky. They were beaten solidly by Duke after all of the “athleticism” trash talk. They’ve struggled at times against far inferior opponents. UConn seems a lot like a team that isn’t quite as good as its players think they are. I don’t think the players are the “coachable” types. There is talent, but not a lot of depth (very similar to Georgetown last year). Kemba Walker should be one of the better point guards in the conference, and Dyson and Robinson have been there before. Robinson still disappears too often. They’re not a very good passing team, so if you can get them into a half-court game their offensive talents are marginalized. If you let them out on the break, Walker’s speed and Dyson and Robinson’s athleticism will make you pay. UConn is still in good shape to get an at-large bid, but they are nowhere near the conference title contender they were billed as in the preseason. Non-Conference Grade: B-