Could the Big East do a Pac-10esque nosedive next season?
After the Big East's monster 2008-09 season – two teams in the Final Four, three No. 1 seeds in the NCAA tournament – people wondered if it would tail off this year. (It has, but not by much).
As for the Pac-10, it's stuck in mediocreville. Oregon State is 9-12 and 3-6 in conference, but only three games out of first. Five teams are 4-5 in league play. Cal and Arizona lead – with combined records of 26-16. And part of the reason is because so many of the conference's best players are now in the NBA.
It makes Rob Dauster wonder: Could the Big East suffer the same fate next season?
Think about how much talent will be leaving the league this season. Five of the top six scorers are seniors. Of the three favorites for conference POY, two are seniors and the other is an expected lottery pick.
Ten teams have crucial seniors, while a handful of players (Wes Johnson, Greg Monroe, Devin Ebanks, Lance Stephenson, Yancy Gates and Mac Kowshal) are likely to bolt after this season.
Perhaps more importantly, this year's freshman class isn't as loaded as previous classes have been. If the league can't replenish that talent every year, a drop-off is inevitable, right?
Or not. Syracuse seems to be doing just fine without its three top players from last season. Villanova lost its entire frontcourt from a Final Four team and is atop the league standings. Pitt could've fallen off the face of the earth, but the Panthers are in the thick of things again.
A nosedive's possibly, but just doesn't seem likely.
Mike Miller also talks college hoops on Twitter, just in smaller amounts.