Well, I previewd the Big East season what seems both like eons ago and yesterday. So how did I do? Am I an idot, a genius, or something in between? In other words, should you take anything I say about the Big East tournament? Well, it's time to grade myself!
What I said:
- Louisville (NCAA) They're my pick thanks to an easier schedule than the Huskies
- Connecticut (NCAA) They have the most talent, but a very rough road.
- Pittsburgh (NCAA) I pick them here largely because they get my next two teams at the Peterson Events Center, where they don't lose many games.
- Syracuse (NCAA) Someone will oust one of the "top four" and my pick is the Orange. I choose them because I believe they have the best combination of returning scorers and new talent from my "tier three" teams.
- Notre Dame (NCAA) I choose them to be bumped from the top four because I believe they are the least set up for the long haul. Their talent makes them capable of beating any team, but its concentration in two or three players makes them vulnerable.
- Villanova (NCAA) Experience wins my vote among some hard to separate squads.
- West Virginia (NCAA) The Mountaineers return more talent than most realize, and have an excellent recruiting class. They will have the best defense of several BE teams relying on forwards and no center up front.
- Marquette (NCAA) I hate to pick a team with this much talent this low, but teams 1-7 are that good.
- Providence (NCAA) They have the schedule to make something of a run, and more talent than you think.
- Georgetown (NIT) There. I did it. The Hoyas are reloading and I think it costs them. If they prove me wrong (higher than 8th place) I'll eat my crow.
- Seton Hall (NIT) I throw them up here largely because of Cincinnati's injuries, but also recognizing that here are some good pieces in place here.
- Cincinnati (CBI) They were going to be my surprise NCAA pick until they lost three players. Watch out for this team in 2009-2010
- Rutgers (none) They have enough players I like to keep them out of the bottom three.
- St. John's (none) Down at this level, experience is king, and they have grown together as a team and are well-coached.
- DePaul (none) I give them a slight edge over the Bulls.
- South Florida (none) I could really see a 1-17 conference record here, with a home win over DePaul.
Lovingly copied and pasted from my earlier entry. Overall, not too shabby.
What happened, and my grades:
Final Big East standings
1. Louisville 16-2 (correct) [A+] I think I nailed this one in every way. Picked them, and for the right reason. They were too good to not take advantage of a little more favorable schedule than the other frontrunners.
2. Pittsburgh 15-3 (plus one) [A-] I don't penalize myself much because I was a game away from getting 2 and 3 right...I had the right two teams, in the right order, and I think assuming a split in games between top 5 teams is perfectly reasonable.
3. Connecticut 15-3 (minus one) [A-] See above.
4. Villanova 13-5 (plus two) [B-] I was pretty close on Nova, but dead wrong on Notre Dame...and so the grade for THIS team is still reasonably high.
5. Marquette 12-6 (plus three) [D] I was wrong about what this team was capable of without any size. They would have a double bye if James hadn't been hurt (I think they go 2-2 or even 3-1 down the stretch without him) and I cannot take any extra credit for being right that they'd struggle at the end sine they probably wouldn't have healthy.
6. Syracuse 11-7 (minus two) [B] Well, I was basically at coin-flip status on whether Cuse or Nova would sneak into the top 4..and I picked the wrong one. But, Cuse did finish in the top third to make me look like less of an idiot.
7. West Virginia 10-8 (correct) [A+] I got another one right! this one I take credit for, because I was one of few people I saw willing to pick the Mountaineers higher than the 9th or so most folks said. They always exceed expectations, and this year they have more talent (though much of it is young) than most are aware.
8. Providence 10-8 (plus one) [A] I think I deserve a lot of credit for picking Providence to finish ninth, even though they in fact finished eighth, because ninth was better than most gave them, and the only reason I had them at 8 instead of nine was a very reasonable assumption that Notre Dame would finish in the top half of the league. I'm only penalizing myself for ND once.
9. Cincinnati 8-10 (plus two) [C] I didn't think cincinnati could finish this high after all those injuries, and they were a couple of "shouldv'e hads" here at the end from serious NCAA tournament contention. I give them a ton of credit, but me little credit since I thought their injuries were killer.
10. Notre Dame (minus five) [D-] I don't give myself an "F" because I DID have them out of the top 4 and I said "they are capable of losing to (St. John's) or beating (Louisville) anyone. I had no idea they'd wind up THIS bad with that much talent, though.
11. Seton Hall (correct) [A] I remember when some Pirates fans called me out for picking them to finish outside the top ten in the league and being the last team from the league into the NIT...
12. Georgetown (minus two) [A+] OK, I didn't get the spot exactly right, because Cincy surprised me a little, but man was I right about this team. I don't have to eat all that crow I was afraid I'd have to eat! Go me! (Really, I'm proud of this pick...I even called Gary Parrish out when he counted GTown as one of his favorites to win the National Title, saying "I'm not convinced they're even one of the top 8?[forget the number] teams in the Big East')
13. St. John's (plus one) [C+] I said the right things about them, but I'm mad at myself because I picked them to finish in this spot first but changed my mind before posting, instead giving the spot to Rutgers...
14. South Florida (plus two) [C] I was wrong, but not all that wrong. Gilchrist was a bigger shot in the arm than I thought, and they were WAY better than DePaul.
15. Rutgers (minus two) [C+] I'm surprised with this low a finish, because they had some pieces in place to be better than this. Still, I wasn't that far off on my pick.
16. DePaul (minus one) [B] I didn't pick them dead last like I should've, but that's as much due to my error in judging the Bulls. Why is a team with Koshwal and Tucker this bad?
That gives me a GPA of (with + and - counting for a third) of 2.95...so it's a "B" minus. Not great, but not too bad when predicting an 18-game leagu season with an unbalanced schedule. I feel pretty smart, but not ingenious. A genious would've broken the right way on Cincy, St. John's and been a little closer on Notre Dame.
Also, I picked: 9 teams NCAA, 2 teams NIT, and one team CBI. I think instead we will see 8 teams NCAA (I think Provy sneaks in, and if not there's room for BE tourney damage from the next three) and 4 teams NIT (how can the NIT NOT take the BE leftovers...espcially with Seton Hall's season-ending win over cincy?). So I had the right total (12) of postseason teams but drew the line in the wrong place. Now that that new retardo tournament for the basketball impaired has been announced, I think there's a good chance St. John's lands there...but I couldn't have known about that silliness when I picked.
The next set of predictions:
Big East Tournament Opening Round
9 Cincinnati defeats 16 DePaul. Do you see an 0-18 league team winnign one in the garden? Not I.
10 Notre Dame defeats 15 Rutgers. Notre Dame is desperate to get through this thing and frankly better than Rutgers.
11 Seton Hall defeats 14 South Florida. The Pirates have more playmakers, and would probably like to play in the NIT over the CBI.
12. Georgetown defeats 13 St. John's. Another desperate team facing an opponent with less talent.
Big East Tournament Second Round
9 Cincinnati defeats 8 Providence. OK, I contradicted myself. I said PC would get into the dance, and they probably won't if they lose this one. Still, it's tough to beat a team thrice in a year.
10 Notre Dame defeats 7 West Virginia. I struggled with this pick, but ultimately I take the team in more dire need. ND is good when they play together.
6 Syracuse defeats 12 Seton Hall. Boeheim has his players getting the most of their abilities now, and as such they will be too much for the Pirates.
5 Marquette defeats 12 Georgetown. Even James-less The Eagles are pretty good.
Big East Tournament Quarterfinal Round
1 Louisville defeats 9 Cincinnati. Despite claims otherwise, they are worthy of the top seed...Pitt and UConn are perhaps better, perhaps not, but U of L is Final Four caliber and Cincy is not on that level.
2 Pittsburgh defeats 10 Notre Dame. I don't think the Irish have a win this big in them playing a rested Pitt team after playing two of their own. I pick Pitt over WVU here if that happens too...though as I said, three wins against one team is hard.
6 Syracuse defeats 3 Connecticut. I went against my better judgment on this one because Cuse does play well in the Garden.
4 Villanova defeats 5 Marquette. These teams were evenly matched when James was healthy, so now I think the 'Cats have a big edge.
Big East Tournament Semifinal Round
2 Pittsburgh defeats 6 Syracuse. Pitt is the only team who plays better here than the Orange, and they make it 8 of the last 9 championship games.
1 Louisville defeats 4 Villanova. As long as T-Will stays hot I think this is a safe pick.
Big East tournament Championship
2 Pittsburgh defeats 1 Louisville. Homer? Not really. I just think Pitt was left with a sour taste in its mouth after losing a tight one at Freedom Hall, and they always come to play in the BE tournament. And really, when was the last time Pitt didn't lose to U of L in the regular season only to avenge it in the conference tournament? This time, it's for the championship.