March Madness has inspired us. We’ve caught the tournament fever and starting on the Final Four weekend, we’ll be launching our own Big East Historical Tournament. Through the computer simulation Courtside Basketball from Lance Haffner games, using full stats from every team, we’re going to be setting a field of the best 64 Big East teams in conference history, and throughout April we’ll be simulating games and providing everyone the boxscores and updated brackets as we go through this tournament. So get your brackets ready, because we’re going to find out who the best ever is, and answer so many burning questions:
Can Emeka Okafor produce against Patrick Ewing? What swingman will lead their team further? Chris Mullin, Da’Sean Butler, Pearl Washington or Terry Dehere? Can Carmelo and Gerry Mac capture some of their 2003 magic? Or will that magic belong once again to McClain and Jensen of the Cardiac Cats? And can either Julius Page or Sherman Douglas shut down either Allen Iverson or Kemba Walker?
What we’ve done is given bids into this tournament to every team in Big East history who accomplished one of the following:
- Qualify for a Final Four
- Win the Big East Season Championship
- Win the Big East Tournament
- Earn a 1 or 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
- Every school also is guaranteed at least one team, even if they did not accomplish one of the above(except Virginia Tech).
It’s amazing, but these simple qualifications gave us way more than 64 teams, so we’ll have a play-in round that has the bottom 40 teams playing for 20 spots in the tournament. The bigeasthoops.com team has worked over the past week as the selection commitee and we’ve each ranked all these teams and we’ve nearly completed the seeding process. We could use some advice though. Here’s a list of 8 teams who are right on the BUBBLE to either go directly into the tournament, or they will have to play their way into the tournament. Who do you think are the 2 or 3 best of this bunch?
ON THE BUBBLE
2009 Pittsburgh - DeJuan Blair, Levance Fields and company on the bubble? Yea, that’s how strong this tournament field is.
1996 Syracuse – John Wallace took the Orangemen to the NCAA Final in 96
1991 Seton Hall – Oliver Taylor had the touch that won the Pirates the BE Tournament back in 91
1987 Providence – You may want to cover their swingman named Billy Donovan
2005 Boston College – Craig Smith and Jared Dudley gave BC a strong final season before they bolted to the ACC
2011 Notre Dame – MVP Ben Hansbrough will try his luck in this tournament. Hopefully for him it brings better results.
2009 West Virginia – Careful not to get Pittsnoggled by this team
1982 Villanova – Pinkney and Pinone led the Wildcats to the BE Season title
Although we are not revealing the brackets until Final Four weekend, here’s a look at the top tier seeds:
1984 Georgetown – Patrick Ewing‘s National Championship team
1999 UConn - Rip Hamilton, Khalid El-Amin and the National Champion Huskies
2003 Syracuse – Freshman Carmelo Anthony and Gerry McNamara led the National Champion Syracuse Orange
2004 UConn – Emeka Okafor and Ben Gordon led the huskies to the National Championship
We aren’t sure whether 84 Georgetown or 99 UConn will get the #1 overall seed. They were the only two teams in BE History to win the Season Title, the BE Tournament and the National Championship. Although we were at consensus that these four should be the #1 seeds, we at bigeasthoops.com were split on who should get the #1 overall.
2007 Georgetown – Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert lead the Hoyas
1985 Georgetown – Ewing and Reggie Williams fell one game short, but they look to win it all in this challenge
1985 St. John’s – Although Gtown and Villanova made big headlines that year, Chris Mullin led the Redmen to the BE Season title
1982 Georgetown – Sleepy Floyd and Fred Brown get a shot at redemption. Freshman Patrick Ewing will chip in too.
1985 Villanova – The National Champion Wildcats will look to pull more upsets in this Historical Tournament
2010 West Virginia – De’Sean Butler leads the Mountaineers towards another Final Four
2009 Louisville – Terrance Williams and Earl Clark lead an athletic bunch who won both the BE Season and Tournament in one of the Big East’s finest years
1996 UConn – Ray Allen will look to put the Huskies on his back and make a run towards the Final Four he never made
1986 St. John’s – Willie Glass and Ron Rowan lead the 86 Redmen
1989 Georgetown – Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo and Charles Smith look for big things in this tournament
1993 Seton Hall – Terry Dehere and Jerry Walker lead the Pirates’ strongest team in the field
1987 Georgetown – Reggie Williams and another strong Hoyas team enter this tournament
*We currently have Kemba Walker and the 2011 UConn Huskies as a 5-seed. We realize that if they end up winning the National Championship, they will be dramatically underseeded. Look for them to jump up to a 2 or 3 seed if they pull it off.
The Tournament Bracket will be released next weekend. We need some final days to iron out this bubble situation and then the play-in games will start as soon as the Tournament Bracket is released. We’d love some feedback. Are there any teams we’re missing from the top seeds?
Some people have spring break. Others are at work. Big Willie Style has spring break, and he’s coming at you today with a podcast on the Big East historical tournament. It’s our way of deciding the best Big East teams of all time. If you’re wondering, yes, it’s held at Madison Square Garden and Bill Raftery is our color commentator. Without further ado…