The Big East: The Bigger Domination

Big East basketball doesn't get nearly the credit, prestige, or overall recognition for being a dominant basketball, if not the most dominant college basketball conference the league has seen recently.

Everyone points to the ACC, the media praises them high and low. That's history, that's tradition. But if you are a "what have you done for me lately?" type of person, you wouldn't be praising any other conference more than the Big East.

Connecticut and Syracuse will give the Big East, the best conference in America this season, half of the Final Four bracket. You heard it here, you might be watching it this month. I also expect Boston College and even West Virginia to surprise us all and get further than imagined.

The Huskies, the No. 2 seed in the Syracuse Region, open defense of their national championship Friday at 2:45 PM against No. 15 Central Florida at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass.

Antonio Kellogg, a freshman on the University of Connecticut men's basketball team, is out for the rest of the season because he has broken team curfew rules several times.

UConn's backcourt could be in trouble without Kellogg, who is also an all-around defender. His suspension leaves Williams, who hasn't fouled out of a game in his career, as Connecticut's only true ball-handler. Williams has logged 30.6 minutes per game in 29 starts this season.

"I'm out here on my own," Kellogg said during an earlier interview. "There's a lot of easy stuff to get into. You know, college is nothing but room to get in trouble. You've got to stay focused on that right path and know what you can do and what you can't do."

Kellogg has had enough chances already in his first year with the Huskies. He had academic problems during his first semester and, in addition to his curfew troubles, has had some off-the-court problems, including an incident in a dormitory on the Uconn.

Recently, Kellogg has exchanged verbal blows with UConn assistant coach George Blaney after being pulled during the first half of Friday's loss to Syracuse in the Big East tournament semifinals.

The problem for the Huskies now is that there is no backup at point guard for Marcus Williams in the NCAA tournament.

Even with that said, the Huskies will win their third title overall and become the first team since Duke in 1991 and '92 to win consecutive titles.

If UConn fails to achieve back-to-back titles, look at another team in the Big East to potentially do the trick. Syracuse, which is No. 4 in the Austin regional, has a short bench but can frustrate teams with its 2-3 zone defense and has two stars in Hakim Warrick and Gerry McNamara. Hmm, have they won a title recently, too? I am starting to see a trend...

Additionally, what about West Virginia? They are playing with the best of them right now, and right now is all that matters. West Virginia has already been the Cinderella of one tournament, why not another? They made the Big East tournament memorable by advancing all the way to the title game before losing to Syracuse, 68-59, on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.

Save the applause for the dominant league until the end of March, when they bring home another title. Or better yet, save until next season, because this conference will never be the same. Big East basketball, as strong as it is now, will be bigger than Jose Canseco during his "prime" next season. The conference will bulge from 12 to 16 teams, as Boston College tucks its tail and greed between its legs and heads to the ACC while Louisville, Marquette, DePaul, Cincinnati, and South Florida climb aboard.

Comments and Conversation

March 19, 2005

Bulent Baydar:

You will obviously be proven to be waaayyy off on this commentary on the big east vs. the ACC.. Give me a break, dude.

March 19, 2005


Hmmmmmm… What was that again?

March 19, 2005


Looks like we jumped a little early on that Cuse wagon, but I do agree, everyone is quick to jump on the acc, even though Uconn beat them last year to win the whole thing, Duke, Gtech.

March 20, 2005

T. Olson:

Do you feel stupid now?

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