So much for the idea that the PAC-10 didn’t deserve the two bids they received this year. One round in, and both California and Washington are still standing.
Not only are they still standing, but they took on and knocked out teams from the elite Big East Conference in Louisville and Marquette.
Granted, it was just not a very good opening round for the Big East, with three of their NCAA selected teams falling to an underdog.
The Big East put 13 teams in post-season play between the NCAA and NIT Tournaments. That is an impressive number, but considering how many teams are in that conference, how impressive is that really?
Especially considering that six of those teams are out in the first round.
That isn’t to say that the Big East isn’t a dominate Basketball conference. They just come across like the SEC does in football: A power conference that is considered elite whether it is or not every single year.
It isn’t so much about the Big East being over-rated this year, but the PAC-10 being underrated.
We all know the regular season was ugly. The same issues that plague the national perception of the football teams were applied to the basketball programs.
Parity in conference is viewed as weak.
Not that the PAC-10 didn’t do everything they could to add to that perception this year by losing to some pretty bad teams during out of conference play.
The main issue was there was no dominate team for most of the year for everyone to point at and say-them, they are the kings of the PAC-10. Washington was supposed to be that team, but took most of the season to figure out how to win on the road. California likewise had issues.
With no team jumping out ahead the national perception became the PAC-10 was not just down this year, but plain BAD.
No denying that this was a very down year for the PAC-10 in Basketball, but Washington and California are proving that quality basketball is still played in the PAC.
The second round, however, won't be quite so easy for the two PAC-10 teams.
Washington is going up against a very good Mountain West team in New Mexico, and California is taking on Duke.
Even if both teams lose in the second round, which isn't that unlikely considering they are both underdogs, they still proved they deserved their bids to the tournament.
For a year where there was talk of only the conference tournament champion making the tournament, and then probably going to be in the first round, the NCAA tournament has allowed the PAC-10 a chance at a little bit of redemption.