Fear not Pitt, Villanova, and Syracuse fans. Despite losing to lower ranked and perhaps inferior teams in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament, there is no reason for concern. Your team maintains as good a chance to make a Final Four run as it did just a few days ago.
A brief look at recent Big East Tournament history will show that there is little to no correlation between Big East Tournament success and NCAA tournament success.
Since '03, only two times has the winner of the Big East Tournament gone on to make the Final Four. In '04, UConn went on to win the national championship, and in ’07, Georgetown made the Final Four.
Syracuse was walloped by UConn in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament, but were clearly not deterred as they went on to win the national championship.
On the other hand, after Pitt ran through the Big East Tourney like a freight train, beating Providence by 10, Boston College by 26, and UConn by 18, they would fall to a lower ranked Marquette team in the Sweet 16.
Syracuse won the Big East Tourney, only to lose to heavy underdog thirteenth seed Vermont in the first round of the NCAA.
Four Big East teams went further then the first round. Most notably West Virginia, who Syracuse beat in the Big East finals, made it to the Elite Eight.
Syracuse, after a mediocre regular season, made a heroic run through the Big East Tourney on the back of Gerry McNamara. They were given a five seed after they had been on the verge of missing the NCAA tourney. In a disappointing effort, in first round, they fell to twelfth seed Texas A&M. Five Big East teams made it past the first round.
Pitt, who made it all the way to the finals of the Big East lost to Bradley in the second round, while UConn lost in the quarterfinals and then fell two points short of the Final Four.
Pitt won four games in four days to win the Big East Tourney, upsetting three teams along the way. They had major hype entering the tourney, which was without a doubt unwarranted, as they would lose to lower seeded Michigan State in the second round, by 11.
Then there was Georgetown, who made it to the finals of the Big East. As a two seed, they lost to tenth seed Davidson in the second round.
Villanova and Louisville, the two “losers” in the Big East tourney, who both lost in the quarters, made decent runs to the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight, respectively.
Pitt lost badly to WVU in the quarter finals, but still earned a one seed, and came within one heartbreaking shot of the Final Four. The team they lost to?
Villanova lost in the semis and then went on to make the Final Four. They lost to the eventual champion Tar Heels. UConn, similar to Nova, lost in the quarters. The committee still awarded them win a one seed, and they went on to make the Final Four.
You see now? If history tells us anything, it’s that you should sit back, relax, and just enjoy the next few days of conference play. After a long and tiring 31 game season, your team is getting some much needed and earned rest. Come next Thursday and Friday, they will be as fresh as the prince of Bel Air, and ready to take on the field.
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