After the SB Nation editorial I wrote about yesterday, here’s an antidote: in the New York Times, Nate Silver has a lengthy, even-handed treatment of the Big East’s disappointing March Madness performance:
So far in the tournament, the Big East has played a total of 14 games against teams from outside its conference. (This excludes two cases where two Big East teams played each other.) According to the projections that we issued before each game, the Big East should have compiled either 9 or 10 wins in these games. Instead, it won 7. That isn’t great, but it’s roughly equivalent to a 100-win baseball team going 7-7 over a two-week stretch, which would be unremarkable.
The gist is that the Big East might have been somewhat overrated, but probably not by a whole lot, and that bad luck played some role in the conference’s tournament struggles. Also, the conference has a ton of depth but not much in the way of “elite teams.”