I am a man who digs brackets.
Instead of being sociable or attempting to decipher whatever it was that woman at the front of the room was going on about, I spent my youthful winter hours at school drawing up mock pairings for the Conference USA or Metro tournaments. I found knowing how the tournament would look if the season miraculously ended that day to be of greater importance than having friends or knowing how to read. Passion demands sacrifice.
I would do this almost daily until the actual tournament was played, at which point I would revert to drawing haphazard squiggly lines on a piece of paper and trying to play it off like I was creative (a point of contention that was surprisingly not aided by my NPR lunchbox or Frasier backpack).
It's the first of several times we'll do this, but here's how the new 14-team Big East Tournament would look if it began today:
|First Round - Tuesday, March 12|
|Second Round - Wednesday, March 13|
|Quarterfinals - Thursday, March 14|
|Semifinals - Friday, March 15|
|Championship Game - Saturday, March 16|
--Syracuse, Georgetown and Marquette are currently in a three-way tie for first place at 10-3 that is impossible to break using the Big East's established set of tiebreakers. Georgetown and Marquette split their two meetings, but Syracuse has yet to play either team this season. The Orange will face the Hoyas twice and the Golden Eagles once. So for the purpose of this bracket, the top three seeds were assigned based on overall record...or national ranking, both work.
--Louisville has played one less game than Notre Dame and owns a half-game edge on the Irish for the final double bye. If the two had matching records then Notre Dame would earn the four seed based on its head-to-head victory. Have you guys heard about that game? They should say something about it on ESPN.
--Connecticut is currently in sixth-place at 7-5, but the Huskies are ineligible for postseason play this season.
--Pittsburgh, Villanova and St. John's are all currently tied for sixth-place with matching 8-6 records. Pitt and St. John's play each other on Sunday, but Pitt earns the six seed for the moment by way of their victory over Villanova, which beat the Red Storm in overtime back on Jan. 6.
--Cincinnati is a half game behind the trio at 7-6.
--DePaul (2-11) leads Seton Hall (2-12) by a half game for the No. 12 seed, and is a game and-a-half ahead of last-place South Florida (1-13). The Bulls' only league victory remains a head-scratcher over Georgetown.
Feel the magic.