When the conference fell apart two years ago, the strength of the Big East conference was in serious doubt. Two years later, the conference has six representatives in the NCAA Tournament.
The conference announced the decision Wednesday after university presidents approved the new moniker earlier in the day.
It’s a rarity at this level, in any sport, for a head coach to have had no playing experience in college. It hasn’t prevented Williams from guiding Marquette to the Sweet 16 the last two seasons and a 60-30 regular season record in the Big East.
The death of the Big East as we know it hit home last week as 14 teams arrived at the World’s Most Famous Arena (Connecticut was ineligible). Next season, the “Catholic 7” will be reportedly joined by Butler, Creighton, and Xavier in a basketball-only conference that has paid to keep the Big East name.
Yesterday was a relatively drama-free Selection Sunday. Joe Lunardi was a perfect 68 for 68, as Middle Tennessee State, St. Mary’s, Boise State, and La Salle claimed the final spots in the field. Louisville, Gonzaga, Kansas, and Indiana earned the top seeds.
Jim Larranaga’s team has had a banner season, but they’ll likely have to beat Duke for a second time this season — this time with Ryan Kelly — to reinforce their potential to go deep in the NCAA Tournament.
The Seton Hall Pirates (15-17) waited until the final minute of regulation to make it interesting, but the team from South Orange rallied in overtime to a 46-42 victory over the South Florida Bulls (12-19).
Notre Dame will join the Atlantic Coast Conference starting next season, a year earlier than expected, following the split among the Big East’s football schools and seven Catholic schools that forming their own basketball-focused conference.