Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thursday 03/12 A.M. Quickie:
Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, Big Day

The success of the Big East this season won't be defined by its epic regular season -- it will be defined by how many of the 8 teams playing in today's quarterfinals make the Sweet 16... or even the Final Four. The gold standard is 1985: 3 teams in the Final Four, including the champ.

So: How may of the Big East quarterfinalists will make the Sweet 16: 2? 4? 6? In the meantime, you can marvel that there probably hasn't been a quarterfinal round of any conference tournament ever that has been as loaded as this one is today. That leads today's SN column.

Meanwhile: Of course all the other Big Ten first round games are on TV... except Northwestern-Minnesota at noon. Not like NU isn't the best story of the Big Ten this season or anything.

Sporting News forced my hand: By naming Blake Griffin as SN's national Player of the Year now, that forces me to name my own Player of the Year now: Pitt's DeJuan Blair. (Now, now: I'm not saying Griffin isn't a great player -- just like no one is saying Hansbrough isn't a great player by naming Griffin as POY. I just think Blair has been better. Would love to see them match up.)

Enjoy the sprint to Sunday. Complete column here.

-- D.S.

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