The vast majority of those who hadn't yet bought into the way of thinking that the Big East is not only the biggest but also the bestest of basketball conferences should have been converted Saturday.
The victories by
Here are a couple of other games played in the past month that also speak to the national strength of the conference:
*Texas 58, Villanova 55 (Jan. 14 in Austin): The
Wildcats came up oh-so-short on the home floor of a squad that is toying with
Big 12 competition, as illustrated by the Longhorns' 34-point shellacking of Eddie Sutton's Oklahoma State team Monday night.
The Huskies are, along with fellow
The others are Duke,
The loss of its frontcourt depth (via the departures of Marcus Landry and Greg Stiemsma), coupled with the unsightly loss to North Dakota State in Madison Saturday, dropped the Badgers from consideration for either of those two plateaus for the time being.
BOUNCING AROUND THE COUNTRY
*In hindsight (and after revisiting
his game-by-game performances), the one player I probably shortchanged the most
when I submitted my midseason John R. Wooden Award Top 30 nomination list was Steve Novak. But I assembled the list
prior to his marvelous performances last week in leading
*LSU has played its way into the
No. 19 slot of the Scout.com Top 25 but not into the Associated Press version's
of the 25 best clubs in the country. The Tigers' five losses (four of those on
the road, all to opponents likely to be in the NCAA Tournament) are by a
combined 11 points. They fell by just a point to
*For those who are curious about certain ratings in the Scout.com 25 that don't seem to make any sense (for example, West Virginia is only No. 13 this week yet is clearly one of the four or five best teams in the country right now), here's one of the rules I follow: If a team doesn't lose, it can't be leapfrogged in the ratings, no matter how unimpressive it might have been the previous weeks. Trust me, those things eventually work themselves out.
*Just when you think that J.J. Redick, after dropping in 41
points during Duke's loss to Georgetown on Saturday after a 28-rebound and
six-assist performance earlier in the week against North Carolina State, is
beginning to pull away in the Player of the Year races, Adam Morrison reminds you that he's
still alive and playing quite well for Gonzaga, thank you very much. The
6-foot-8 junior scored 41 points (hitting 14 of 23 from the field, including
five of seven 3's) and grabbed nine rebounds with just two turnovers during the
Bulldogs' 84-75 victory at the
Inducted into the USBWA Hall of
Fame last April, Frank Burlison is Scout.com's national basketball expert and is
also a columnist for the