The NCAA bracket 2011 was crowded with Big East teams. Their top school on the NCAA bracket 2011 was Pittsburgh, as the only Big East No. 1 seed. Since the Panthers won the regular season title, and have waited a decade to reach the Final Four, this looked to finally be their year. But instead, the Panthers had their most unlikely near miss ever, in Butler’s most unlikely Cinderella triumph ever. As such, the NCAA bracket 2011 now leaves a lot more questions about the Big East’s power.
Pittsburgh and Butler fought to the last few tenths of a second, thanks to fouls. After Butler went up by one with under three seconds left, a foul on Sheldon Mack looked to doom the Bulldogs. But when Pitt only made one of two free throws – and committed a foul themselves on the rebound – Butler got one free throw of their own for a 71-70 shocker.
Now the NCAA bracket 2011 for the Southeast region has been blown up, as Butler now plays Wisconsin, and Florida faces BYU. But beyond that, the Big East now no longer has a favorite for the Final Four, much less the national championship.
Since two third round games are between Big East teams, two of their last seven schools were guaranteed to be eliminated. But besides Cincinnati’s loss to Connecticut, West Virginia and Pittsburgh also became the latest to get knocked out.
Heading into today, the NCAA bracket 2011 has just four Big East schools left. Connecticut is in the Sweet 16, while either Marquette or Syracuse will join them today. But if Notre Dame doesn’t defeat Florida State, only two of the conference’s 11 teams will be in the second week.
Pittsburgh was their best hope for a national title, which the conference hasn’t won in several years. Both Connecticut and Syracuse are No. 3 seeds, and have Duke and Ohio State in their region, while Notre Dame has Kansas in theirs. Unless they pull off upsets, it is likely that no Big East schools will make the Final Four.
If the NCAA bracket 2011 has no Big East teams before long, it will overshadow all of the conference’s achievements this season. They got a record number of schools into the tournament, yet it means nothing if they can’t deliver when they get there. For all of the conference’s dominance in the regular season, they often come up just short in March.
The Big East is often compared to the SEC in football – yet the football SEC has won championships for the last several years. Thus far, the NCAA bracket 2011 has longer odds for a Big East champion, unless Connecticut, Syracuse and Notre Dame pull a surprise or two next week.
ESPN- “NCAA Tournament Bracket – 2011”
Louisville Courier-Journal- “The Big East’s struggles”