After The 2nd Round: The Next Gonzaga, ACC and SEC Blow-Ups, Big East Beast

Marc DaleyAnalyst IMarch 22, 2009

DAYTON, OH - MARCH 22:  Earl Clark #5 of the Louisville Cardinals drives to the hoop against the Siena Saints during the second round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the University of Dayton Arena on March 22, 2009 in Dayton, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

This is a collection of thoughts after sweating the Louisville-Siena game:

  • It looks like there's a couple of programs that could be on their way to assuming Gonzaga-like status.  By this, I mean that they could earn at-large bids to the tournament with decent seasons year after year.  Western Kentucky came within a basket of reaching the Sweet 16 the second straight year and only loses one significant senior (of course, Orlando Mendez-Valdez is pretty significant). Siena loses leader Kenny Hasbrouck and key reserve Josh Duell but gets Edwin Ubiles back along with the rest of the roster. 
  • Two conferences beat each other up this season, but only one has come out of the first two rounds with their reputation as a beast intact. Marquette came within seconds of putting the Big East at an astonishing 13-1 for the first two rounds.  The ACC?  Not so much.  UNC and Duke carry the hopes as Boston College, Clemson, Wake Forest, Florida State and Maryland will be watching TV like the rest of us. According to the RPI website ( the ACC was ranked second in non-conference performance while the Big East ranked third.
  • For the first time since 1996 all the 2-seeds made it into the Sweet 16.
  • The SEC has to be glad this season's over.  Yes, I realize that several teams are still alive in the NIT, but the SEC is used to playing on bigger and brighter stages.  After LSU went down to North Carolina no SEC teams will be playing after the second round for the first time since 1989.
  • Finally, if Syracuse beats Oklahoma Jim Boeheim will get win number 800.  He thinks Hawaii is Syracuse in July.  He has never left the upstate New York city.  He was tempted to coach at Ohio State once but never seriously entertained it.  It will be interesting to see how the vaunted zone matches up against Blake Griffin and Co. but if the Orange pull it off congrats to the unofficial mayor of Syracuse.