Nine months removed from becoming the first conference to earn three #1 seeds in a NCAA Tournament, the Big East is looking to break its own record and send as many as nine teams to the Dance come March.
Through November, the conference has three teams ranked in the top 10, with seven ranked teams overall and sporting a 79-12 record.
Las Vegas can be a dangerous trip for ranked teams. The sights and sound can be enough to distract anyone, much less a group of people in the 18-23 year-old age bracket. But there's also another issue, one that #16 Louisville ran into on Saturday afternoon: there's a pretty good college basketball team in that town. UNLV, expected by many to be a factor in the Mountain West, using a run that covered about a twelve-minute stretch from the end of the first half to the beginning of the second, knocked off the Cardinals 76-71 in front of a frenzied crowd.
The Saturday schedule is lacking in big-time matchups but there are some intriguing games on the slate. La Salle and Villanova face off in a Big 5 game at the Pavilion and Dr. John Gianinni's team has the talent and depth to hang around with the Wildcats. And with it being the Big 5 you never truly know what's going to happen. Louisville had better be on "upset alert" in Sin City; Lon Kruger's Runnin' Rebels are deep with talent and experience, a recipe for consistent success.
Ranking players is more art then science. How do you compare the potential of freshmen with seniors who have already peaked? How much does physical talent come into play versus intangibles and experience? How big a role do numbers play?