Connecticut, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Villanova, and Syracuse advance to Sweet Dieciseis

We all knew that the Big East would do well this year, but coming up with nearly 1/3 of the entire Sweet Dieciseis seems remarkable. For Connecticut, the Sweet Dieciseis is nothing new. In recent years, the UCONN huskies have made it to this point to the tournament a number of times. This year is no different, and so far, Jim Calhoun’s mighty Huskies have dominated post season play, trouncing all their opponents by significant margins. Their tournament performance has been steller.

You have to hand it to Villanova and Syracuse: by all accounts it appears these teams may have been under-seeded in the tournament, perhaps better suited to the #2 spot. Both Villanova and Syracuse have steam rolled their way into the Sweet Dieciseis. The Orange Men have won their games in convincing style, leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind that this team will be moving forward in the tournament.

Louisville had a close one today with #9 seed Siena. The game grew close towards the end of the second half, and many were thinking that there could be a major upset. Had Siena won, they would have been one of the lowest ranking participants in the Sweet Dieciseis.

True to form, however, Louisville pulled out all the stops and brought the game home for a final tally of 79 – 72. This result is even more surprising in view of the awesome performance of two Siena players: Edwin Dubiles, 24 points; and Alex Franklin who contribued 19 points to the final result. The Louisville squad didn’t best any of these point totals, but showed a lot of depth, with many players contributing strongly to the dramatic win.

In the end, the Big East’s dominance in this years NCAA basketball tournament remained strong. It’s possible we might see them butt heads as the Elite Ocho shapes up. Even more intriguing is this possibility: 3 teams of the Final Cuatro from the Big East? A few days ago, many would have said no. Today: well, that seems entirely probable.