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Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun talks with guard

Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun talks with guard Kemba Walker during the first half of the West Regional third-round NCAA tournament college basketball game against Cincinnati. (March 19, 2011) Credit: AP

The Big East has taken a beating over the last couple of days. It's understandable considering the hype the conference has received with 11 teams getting bids to the NCAA Tournament.

Connecticut and Marquette are the only two left. It's kind of surprise that those would be the two teams left when you consider the seasons Pittsburgh and Notre Dame had.

Critics seem to forget that tournament at-large bids are based on what teams do during the regular season. The Big East had the best season of every conference. That said, is 11 teams is too many from one conference? Should any conference get more than 50 percent of its teams into the tournament.

Villanova, which had lost five straight games before the tournament, probably should've been left home. Marquette, despite its run to the Sweet 16, should've probably been left home, too. This isn't a rant about the teams that were snubbed, but for one conference to get almost 70 percent of its teams into the tournament is entirely too much.

How the Big East does in the tournament is irrelevant. Actually, that goes for all conferences. The CAA will get some nice publicity for getting three teams in and sending one of those teams -VCU- to the Sweet 16. But that doesn't mean the CAA will deserve three bids next year. Those bids have to be earned through solid scheduling and equally solid play.

That notwithstanding, the Big East will continue to get beat up in the press until one of its teams wins a title or at least makes a Final Four. Can UConn carry the conference flag? The way Kemba Walker has been playing, we wouldn't put anything past the Huskies. Marquette will have a tougher climb against North Carolina, but you never know.


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