This year, we've mostly stopped doing our Bulls Recon series, because watching nearly everyone ditch the Big East for greener pastures while USF is left behind doesn't exactly make me want to collaborate with people. Tl;dr, screw those guys. But since UConn is in the same predicament, we'll still work with our friends at The UConn Blog. I answered some questions from them earlier, and now here are Andrew's answers to mine.
1. Cincinnati excepted, everyone else in the conference is the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked, yes? What are your thoughts on our collective sense of abandonment?
Eh, it's kind of a mixed bag. I don't mind Rutgers and Louisville at all, those two got paid and did it at a time when everything was clearly falling apart. I have a bit of a harder time with Syracuse and Pittsburgh: it was Pitt that recommended the league turn down the ESPN offer, and more importantly the justification for those two bolting at the time was: "Oklahoma is about to turn the Pac-12 into the Pac-16, the world is ending." Well, the world wasn't ending, and as a result the justification has now turned to: look how everything fell apart, we needed to leave when we did. That's pretty circular, no?
I don't mind the Catholic Seven leaving, but I do mind this notion that they've somehow "saved" Big East basketball. That's a lazy sportswriters notion. USF has done as much or more for basketball in this conference than Seton Hall, Providence, DePaul and St. John's have done over the past six or seven years. The Seven as a whole have won two Big East Tournaments in the last 16 years, and the only one in the last decade to do it is Georgetown. It's great for them that Fox is overpaying for now, and Butler and whoever will add some much needed quality, but that group is still going to have a lot of deadweight in it.
2. I barely even remember that Temple is in the "they're getting left behind" group even though technically they are. Do we still act like they're a newbie and not feel bad for them?
Yep. As far as I'm concerned they're lucky to be here. They were so bad they got kicked out of the Big East because the conference wanted to invite 1-AA UConn to play, and the only reason they got back in when they did is West Virginia happened to bolt at an inconvenient time and Steve Addazio got one good year out of Al Golden's players. Addazio (who I expect to flop at BC) got out while the getting is good and I fully expect Temple to nosedive to their rightful place in the universe.
3. How long do you think we're all stuck in this league? Do you think all three of us will get out eventually?
I bet at least two of the three of us, if not all three are gone by 2015. I think we're all just sitting around rooting for Maryland's lawyers at this point, and I feel more comfortable rooting for them then I do anyone in charge of Franken Big East. For what it's worth Jim Calhoun, who is just a little more clued in than I am, said that he didn't expect UConn to be hanging around more than a year, pending resolution of the Maryland lawsuit.
4. By how much has Kevin Ollie exceeded your expectations? Are you more upset that UConn can't play in the NCAAs this year (which they would have definitely made), or more excited for the future of the program with a hot young coach in a very winnable league?
He's exceeded them in every way possible by every amount possible (seriously, I have like two complaints, and both are minor basketball things). I'm not even upset about the NCAA thing anymore. Sure, it's annoying, but with UConn's injuries down the stretch I'm not sure how far they would have gotten (the Big East Tournament band is a bit more upsetting). Now I'm excited for next year, and to see what this team can do after focusing on that 2014 bid for two straight years.
5. Are UConn fans going to crash the Big East tournament to remind everyone who's walking out of here with the most national titles in their pockets?
Nope. We're more of a quiet mic drop sort of people. I think our only rooting interest will be that Georgetown doesn't win the thing. Both schools are tied with a record seven BET titles right now, and I'd like it to stay that way.
6. USF nearly beat the Huskies in the first meeting and seem to match up fairly well with them (or rather, their weaknesses are also UConn's weaknesses). Shabazz Napier kind of rescued UConn the first time -- what do the Huskies need to do to make this game a more comfortable win?
Well, Shabazz is a gametime decision, and Niels Giffey and Enosch Wolf will both be absent, so I'm not sure UConn is locked into a "comfortable win" mode. I still think UConn can win (Neither Giffey nor Wolf were huge contributors in that game and Napier had next to no impact in the first half), and probably does so without overtime, but without Napier in things can get screwy. I'm comforted by the fact that you have just as little size as we do. I'll take UConn 63-57.