Saturday, January 7, 2006

Bigger East

With NCAA hoops conference play underway, I have to say I'm more than a little pleased to be in Big East Country for the upcoming college basketball season. The only shortcoming of the conference's schedule this year is that with sixteen teams, every program doesn't get a home and away match with ever other program. Our own Syracuse Orange aren't likely to be heading up the conference elite this season, and their chances of reaching the conference tournament championship: slimmer than last year (although they'll still pick up a few wins against the top teams and finish in the top six--behind UConn, Louisville, Nova, WVU and Pitt?). All the same, it's really hard not to be encouraged about Villanova's outlook. They posted a convincing road win at Louisville in the Big East opener for both programs the other day. I was lucky enough to attend the 'Nova-UNC game in the regional semifinals at the Carrier Dome last spring. It might have been North Carolina's toughest game in the entire tournament. Villanova had a legitimate shot at winning (game ended in favor of UNC, 67-66), except for a few late 50-50 calls going the other way. So save me a seat on the 'Nova 'wagon this year, at least to the Final Four, given everyone's healthy. If pressed to formalize other early hunches, I'd say they'll be joined by Illinois, UConn and Duke (yeah, the new Big East gets two to the FF this year). Want eight? Add in NC State, Florida, Memphis and Gonzaga.

We'll see if any of this holds over the next two months.

Bookmark and Share Posted by at January 7, 2006 11:30 AM to Sport