Every year, the media fawns over the Big East, and every year, the conference tends to disappoint when the chips are down. Let me make a comparison for a moment.
I'm in my mid-30s...happily married and really love my wife. But, I'm not blind. So, when I see good-looking women, I typically notice. But, when back on campus, when I see a group of young c0-eds looking like college girls do- cute, having fun, it's noteworthy. A friend of mine used to say, "it's not that the young girls are all that good-looking, it's just the fact that they're always in groups. Once we get a bit older, women are seldom in groups anymore...so men can't help but take note of a group of OK-looking younger women."
Fair point. The Big East is a group of OK-looking women. Sure, there's a decent one or two in the group of 16...but the media is just awed by the group, more than anything. Sure, Georgetown and Syracuse got it going on...but really, 'Nova and Louisville are nothing more than nice-smelling shampoo and pretty hair. Nevermind.
The point is, there are some over-rated teams. Some are over-rated because they beat a few other over-rated teams (read as UConn). Others are over-rated because everyone thinks they're better than they're playing right now (that makes no sense, by the way...you are what you are) but really don't deserve any praise (read as MSU). Others still defy logic- they've proven nothing and their only past success is pretty shady (read as Memphis).
But the real head-scratcher of the top-10, for me, is San Diego State. Let's take a look at the Aztecs, shall we. They're led by a coach who had success in a previous life- Michigan's old pal, cheatin' Steve Fisher is at the helm for the Aztecs who play in the always rugged Mountain West.
According to the RPI, they're not even the best team in their conference, BYU is. The Sagarin system and Ken Pomeroy agree that BYU is more-formidable as well. But the human-based polls disagree with this assessment. SDSU checks in at #7...In America...in men's college basketball.
But why? Is it because of their quality wins? Well, they've beaten a few teams in the 40-55 range- 2-loss St. Mary's, 2-loss Wichita state and 5-loss Cal. Nothing in there that suggests they deserve the respect they're getting.
"But boilerdowd, Purdue has only beaten a few teams in the top-50." That's true, but here's what Purdue's not:
-They're not ranked as highly (10/11) (SDSU is 7)
-Their composite ranking (RPI, Sagarin & KenPom) is 10.3...SDSU's is 11.3.
-They're not a team that ended last season unranked and lost in the first round of the NCAA tourney (as they have every time they've ever played in it, mind you).
Human polls are flawed and biased. Computer polls, while flawed, don't have the built-in bias. But, I guess it makes sense when a team hails from a power conference, has a proven record of recent success and has two potential All-Americans, they'd be the media darling. Oh wait, that team isn't the media darling- they're the one that only gets reminded perpetually about what it doesn't have. At the same time, SDSU has no major recent success, hails from a mid-major has solid players, but none that have been mentioned as All-Americans, yet they're the media darling. I'll chalk this one up to another reason why I as a Purdue fan have a chip on my shoulder...And Matty's boys should perpetually play with one.