I should have gone with Big East

Apr 3, 2013 By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

My NCAA men's bracket for the tournament is finished, which is bad, considering the Final Four hasn't even started.

Even worse, I filled out two brackets this year in two different pools.

I'm deep down in the standings in both of them. It seems I'm getting worse at making predictions as the years go by.

Two weeks ago, I really studied the bracket before I made my selections. I even started watching college basketball in January to help me decide, but I think watching more basketball just got me more confused.

I should have known picking Duke wasn't going to get me anywhere, but I really thought this was Duke's season.

It turned out the Duke Blue Devils were placed in the hardest part of the NCAA bracket.

I knew Duke was going to have to beat Michigan State and Louisville to get a spot in the Final Four. Duke put in a convincing victory over Michigan State for a showdown against the Louisville Cardinals on Sunday afternoon.

After playing close for the first 20 minutes, the Cardinals were all over Duke in the second half, which finished my bracket.

I should have known the Big East conference was going to have a strong showing in the tournament before the teams go different ways.

The Big East and I go way back.

In March of 1996, I took one of my favorite spring break trips to New York City to watch the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden.

My friend Todd Burnette was living in New Jersey at the time and invited me to come out.

He took me to Madison Square Garden for three straight days of big time college basketball.

I felt like I was in heaven watching the college basketball marathon.

We were there to cheer on the Georgetown Hoyas.

Unfortunately, the best player of the tournament turned out to be Ray Allen from Connecticut.

Allen spoiled the party when he hit the game winning field goal.

We didn't even stay to watch the post game party.

We must have been one of the first ones out of the Madison Square Garden that evening. Allen is still making his living hitting 3-pointer after 3-pointer with the Miami Heat in the NBA.

That was the year I learned the Big East is consistently one of the best basketball conferences in the United States.

The Cardinals and Syracuse, both Big East conference teams, have reached the Final Four this year.

I'm not going to be surprised if those two battle each other in the championship game Monday night.

After all, this is it for the Big East. They want to go out with a bang after already making a big statement this year.

The conference wants the big trophy on Monday night in their final season together.

I should have gone with the Big East teams in my bracket. If I had, my bracket would still be alive and well.

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