Saturday, January 05, 2008

Big East High in Parity, Lacks Nonconference Resume

With the addition of Marquette, Cincinnati, Louisville, DePaul, and South Florida (to offset the loss of Boston College) in the 2005-06 season, the Big East became a 16-team mega-conference looking to challenge the ACC for dominance on the national frontier. This met with mixed results the first two years, with the conference finishing second in '06 and fifth in '07 based on average RPI rank. This season, the Big East ranks second behind the ACC after the nonconference season. Still, conference teams have struggled with their chances to defeat ranked opponents on the national stage.

Pittsburgh- RPI- 6- The Panthers have the second biggest nonconference win in the Big East, defeating Duke. In addition, Pitt has defeated top 100 RPI teams in Washington and Duquesne and lost to Dayton, ranked 9th in the RPI.

Syracuse- RPI- 11- Three losses to top 20 teams, Ohio State, UMASS, and Rhode Island. 6 wins over teams ranked 100-50.

Providence- RPI- 23- Two losses to top 100 teams, one to 126-ranked South Carolina. Defeated four teams ranked 100-50. Also beat #30 Florida State.

Marquette- RPI- 26- Lost to Duke, only top 100 win is also best victory in the conference defeating Wisconsin.

West Virginia- RPI- 40- Lost to top 50 teams Tennessee and Oklahoma, defeated three top 50 schools.

Connecticut- RPI- 42- Lost to top 50 teams Memphis and Gonzaga, no top 100 wins.

Villanova- RPI- 56- Lost to top 50 team NC State and boast two top 100 wins.

Notre Dame- RPI- 64- Lost to top 100 teams, Baylor and Georgia Tech in the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands. Defeated #83 Kansas State and #86 Brown.

South Florida- RPI- 71- Lost to three top 100 teams and #165 Buffalo. Also defeated Florida State.

Seton Hall- RPI- 76- Lost to two top 50 teams, St. Mary's and NC State. Also lost to #123 Penn St. Beat top 100 teams Virginia and James Madison.

Louisville- RPI- 105- Lost to teams ranked 9th, 96th, and 142nd. Defeated teams ranked 37th and 33rd.

DePaul- RPI- 129- Arguably the worst team in the league has five losses to top 100 teams and two to teams out of the top 100. No top 100 wins.

St. John's- RPI- 134- Lost to four of the five top 100 teams they played.

Cincinnati- RPI- 160- Four losses to top 100 teams, three to other schools. Defeated #33 Miami (OH).

Rutgers- RPI- 179- Lost to #2 UNC, only top 100 opponent. Four other losses to worse teams.

Since most of the Big East has played a very good nonconference schedule, competing against 63 top 100 teams., the average RPI of the league is high. Still, they have won only 28 of those games and only two against big time programs Duke and Wisconsin. Only two teams in the Big East sport losing records, having defeated plenty of cupcakes while losing to the majority of good teams they have scheduled.

The lack of quality wins for the conference will hurt every team in the Big East. Since only Pittsburgh and Marquette can boast wins over top-notch major conference programs, victories over the rest of the league are difficult to judge. Is 11-7 in the conference good enough for an NCAA at-large bid? Big East teams on the bubble will be at the mercy of the committee since none have collected big time victories in November and December.

This post, part of a weekly series from BlackandGreen on, can be found at the weekly blog here.


Anonymous said...

DePaul beat Villanova

Anonymous said...

non-conference was the theme of the thread, those 2 teams are both in the big east

Jameson Fleming said...

The problem is most the Big East teams schedule minor conference teams instead of mid-majors. Syracuse has a great S.O.S because of the mid majors they scheduled, they also did luck out because they were all good.