If you can win the Big East you can win anything. That was the attitude of the 11 NCAA tournament qualifiers of the Big East that headed into the conference tournament (Mar. 8-12).
Much of the buzz in New York was about the officiating. Three Big East officials excused themselves from duty and questions were raised about officials' workload. The question moving forward is whether the excused officials will work the NCAA tournament and then what role will the officials play in deciding the games in the Big Dance (another side note that came up during the tourney was players slipping on advertising stickers like the orange Reese's sticker shown in the picture)
UConn needed five wins in five nights to win the Big East tournament; a daunting task to say the least. They pulled it out and head into the 68-team NCAA field with most impressive tournament-winning experience.
Besides the Wildcats and the other big guys like Pitt, Notre Dame, Syracuse and Louisville, I've singled out Marquette and Cincinnati as teams to look out for in the NCAA tourney.
Jay Bilas has inspired me to list each team's Sagarin rating along with their RPI. Bilas is an infamous opponent of using a team's RPI to predict tournament success and says it should never be used. I decided to order the teams in terms of their Sagarin rating in honor of him.
Here's a look at each Big East team headed to the 2011 NCAA tournament.