Bracketology 101: 3rd Lesson

Big East and Big 12 are having parity issues which could prove costly in March

Sometime parity can be a great thing, if you want competitive games each night.

But when true parity hits, it can have unintended consequences---especially in the annual lottery known as the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

This week, in our going look at potential multi-bid conferences for the March Madness dance, we look at the Big Big East and the Big 12


Main Contenders --Villanova, Marquette, St. John's, Butler, Seton Hall

Yes, Villanova has won two of the last three national championships. Yes, the Wildcats (6-0) are back on top after 1/3 of the Big East race. But look beyond No. 2 Marquette (6-1).

The other 8 teams have losing records. The difference between No. 3 DePaul (3-4) and No. 10 Creighton (2-4) is a half game.

It will even itself out, with more winners, rather than losers, but the chances of having four or five teams with 10-8 conference record seems more likely than not.

There could be sleepers such as Providence which is 2-4, but coming off a road win at Xavier and getting healthy again. Or Seton Hall, which started out strongly, but is now on a 3 game losing streak.

Since the New Big East emerged from the ashes of the old Big East 6 years ago, the Conference has received 28 bids in the past 5 years, which is slightly more than 5 bids per year.

And a nostalgic note for long time Big East fans. Georgetown will play St. John's in Madison Square Garden on Sunday, with Chris Mullin and Patrick Ewing squaring off as coaches. Both should wear sweaters

Most likely bids (4)--Villanova, Marquette. Seton Hall, Providence

BIG 12

Main Contenders--Kansas, Kansas State, Texas Tech, Iowa State, Texas, TCU, Oklahoma and Baylor

This remains a Kansas dominated conference, but the Jayhawks have shown some weaknesses and can be beaten. What makes if fun for the Big 12 is like Texas Tech, Iowa State TCU and Oklahoma are likely to be dance partners. Even last place West Virginia shows it is nasty at home with an upset of Kansas last week.

Most likely bids (7)--Kansas, Kansas State, Texas Tech, Iowa State, Oklahoma, TCU, Texas