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2011 NCAA Tournament: Big East Basketball A Loser

ESPN.com has a good list of March Madness winners and losers. The winners, naturally, include Kansas (which finds itself in a bracket with only the 10, 11, and 12 seeds also still alive), the city of Richmond (which produced two of those low-seeded survivors, Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth), and Butler.

Losers include "Basketball IQ" (and given the number of gaffes the NCAA Tournament has seen, that's hard to argue with), Bruce Pearl ... and ... wait for it ... the Big East.

A record 11 teams entered the field of 68. Just two remain. It must be mentioned that two of the nine that have been dismissed were beaten by fellow Big East members, but the performance has still been well below expectations. The big culprits: Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and Louisville, all of which were granted top-four seeds but lost to teams seeded eighth or lower. If Connecticut or Marquette make the Final Four, that will enhance the Big East's body of work for this tourney, but right now that body resembles Terrence Cody's while running the 40 with his shirt off.

Unfortunately, ESPN isn't wrong - the tournament has been a huge downer for the Big East. Now Pitt and West Virginia fans are in the rather weird position of having to root for Connecticut and Marquette to salvage the conference's national reputation.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.