One of the stories we’ve been following in this tournament has been the disappointment that the vaunted Big East teams have been. Of the record 11 Big East teams that made the NCAA tournament, only seven advanced to the round of 32. Of those seven, just two have qualified for the Sweet 16.
Now, to be fair four of the seven teams were in action against one another, so the max that the conference could have sent was five. However, the only two teams that did move on were ones that played other Big East teams in the round of 32.
The latest disappointment came from #2 Notre Dame, who were blown out by #10 Florida State 71-57. Big East player of the year, Ben Hansbrough did get his 18 points but it was on 5-13 shooting and he fouled out of the game. As a team, the Irish shot just 31.7% from the field. This loss joins other notable Big East upsets like Morehead State over Louisville, VCU over Georgetown & Butler over Pitt.
Notre Dame wasn't the only Big East squad to fall victim to a major upset when #3 Syracuse was upended by a #11 seed, but thankfully the conference saves some face because that #11 seed happened to be Marquette. The only other Big East squad joining the Golden Eagles in the sweet 16 will be the Connecticut Huskies, who advanced past yet another Big East squad, Cincinnati.
Vegas had set the over/under on Big East team wins at 15 1/2, which is no longer possible. We ran a poll before the round of 32 asking how many Big East teams would qualify for the Sweet 16 and 50% of the 850 votes were for “only the two they’re guaranteed to get.” At the time, I kinda thought the ballot was stuffed by some Big 10 and ACC fans that were a bit bitter over all the hype the Big East got all season… the voters may well have been bitter, but they were also right.