Some stuff I’ve read today. First is from the blog of Kevin McNamara, sportswriter for the Providence Journal:
BOSTON - The media sessions for the Eastern Regional in Boston have begun.
Xavier coach Sean Miller and a few of his players have just wrapped up their interviews. Pittsburgh, X's opponent tomorrow night, is next.
The overwhelming thought after listening to Miller is how dominant his program has been in the Atlantic 10 and how the Musketeers have transcended the conference. This is a national program, even if most of the players come from the Midwest.
Xavier has been in three Sweet 16’s in six years and two Elite 8’s in 5 years. That’s a lot of winning. The next logical move is the Final Four. Not sure if this is the Xavier team that can do it, however. Pittsburgh is a very tough matchup and to bounce back and try to beat Duke or Villanova on Saturday is a tall order.
And then this from Rick Majerus via the blog of Tom Timmerman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
SLU coach Rick Majerus has often complained about the travel involved with SLU being in the Atlantic 10, a league where the closest opponent is Dayton and where all the other teams are in the Eastern time zone.
But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t like the league.
I was talking to him on Tuesday and I was asking him about the NCAA tournament loading up on teams from BCS conferences rather than smaller leagues like the A-10 (I forget the exact word I used), and he launched into a defense of the league:
”Our league is better than any of them,” he said, referring to non-BCS leagues. “There are four better in my opinion: The Big Ten, Big East, I’d say the Big 12 is better this year and it’s a toss up with the Big 10. We’re better than the SEC and Pac-10. Now, there are prejudices invovlved in that, but irrefutably we’re the seventh best. We got three teams in. And we could have had a fourth. Rhode Island was a viable option.”
Based on RPIs, the A-10 was seventh best, at least in the last numbers I saw.
What’s the difference in those leagues? “Money, marketing,” he said. “Everything in life is weighted toward money and power. There’s a Big Ten network. There isn’t an Atlantic 10 network.”
BTW, I’m sure Majerus meant to include the ACC in his top 4 leagues and either mis-spoke or Timmerman mis-typed!