Red Right 88

Life as a Cleveland Sports Fan

Big Ten & Big East are big in name only

The Big 10 and the Big East certainly didn’t live up to their names in the opening weekend of the NCAA basketball tournament.

After inexplicably seeing seven of its teams make the tournament – four of which were only .500 in conference play – the Big Ten flamed out as only Ohio State and Wisconsin managed to make the Sweet 16.

Michigan State and Penn State were both one and done – not surprising when you consider they each entered the tournament with 14 losses on the season – and Michigan and Illinois quickly followed them over the weekend.

But that was nothing compared to the Big East.

Eleven teams “earned” a spot in the tournament – which is beyond ridiculous – and only two teams are left standing for the Sweet 16. And those two – Connecticut and Marquette – advanced over the weekend only by beating Cincinnati and Syracuse – fellow Big East teams.

If Connecticut and Marquette had to play non-conference teams this weekend, it’s very possible there would be no Big East teams left in the tourney.

Four Big East teams – Notre Dame, Georgetown, St. John’s and Louisville – all lost to teams seeded 10th or higher, and the Irish, Hoyas and Red Storm all lost their games by double-digits.

Oh, and the only No. 1 seed to lose so far? Pitt from the Big East, of course.

So the Big Ten and Big East have two teams each – the same as the Mountain West Conference (San Diego St. and BYU) and as many as the town of Richmond, Va. (Richmond & VCU).

Thanks for playing.

***

Bruce Pearl is reportedly out as coach at Tennessee, according to ESPN.

Pearl was charged with unethical conduct by the NCAA for misleading NCAA investigators, and Tennessee is set to appear before the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions in June.

Pearl has admitted to giving investigators false information when asked about a cookout at his home attended by high school juniors.

So Pearl lied to the NCAA about giving some high school kids hot dogs and hamburgers and paid the price with his job.

Ohio State’s Jim Tressel lied to the NCAA to keep some of his best players eligible for the 2011 season. Hmm …

It would be surprising – and a bit ridiculous – if Ohio State were to fire Tressel. But in light of what happened to Pearl, you have to wonder what the NCAA is going to have to say once it completes its investigation.

***

Remember how the UFL’s Hartford Colonials were “interested” in former Browns coach Eric Mangini to replace another former Browns coach, Chris Palmer, as the Colonials’ head coach?

Well, they went with Jerry Glanville instead.

***

The NFL is considering changing the kickoff rules for next season, which would certainly impact the Browns and kick returner Josh Cribbs.

We covered this last week, someone at The Plain Dealer must be paying attention.

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