Commentary

Big East conference, basketball's best

Updated: January 25, 2010, 9:31 AM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

Many people like to sit back and analyze the best conferences in college basketball. It is always a fun discussion when media members and fans debate this topic.

When I break it down, I see the Big East as numero uno. Bob Knight and I recently agreed that from top to bottom, the Big East is very skilled and incredibly deep. You really have to lace 'em up every night in league play.

If you don't believe me, look at what happened over the weekend. Connecticut took on one of the premier teams in America, the Longhorns of Texas. The Huskies had been struggling in recent weeks (before beating St. John's), but Jerome Dyson, Stanley Robinson and Kemba Walker showed they could beat anybody on any given day when they tap into their potential.

West Virginia took on a rejuvenated Ohio State squad which has All-Solid Gold candidate Evan Turner back in its lineup. Bob Huggins wanted this game badly and the Mountaineers got another big W.

What separates the Big East from every other conference is the strength up top. I feel there are six teams from that league capable of beating anybody on any given night on a neutral floor. I am talking about Syracuse, Villanova, Connecticut, West Virginia, Georgetown and Pittsburgh. The Orange and Wildcats have been dominant heavyweights in the conference and they may be heading for a showdown on February 23rd with the guys from Gameday in attendance. The Big East title could be at stake.

I am sorry that I won't be at the Carrier Dome that night. I will eat my heart out, though I know I will have fun sharing time with all of the wonderful fans at "ESPN-The Weekend" down at Disney. I will be running to the TV to catch Dan Shulman, Bob Knight and Jay Bilas calling that game.

From top to bottom, the depth is unreal. I have not even mentioned Louisville, Cincinnati or Notre Dame. They are capable of being very dangerous, and even a team like Seton Hall has the potential to upset numerous teams.

The VBDI (Vitale Bald Dome Index) has come through. The number one conference in America is the Big East. Challenge me if you like. I respect your opinions and I will listen. But I firmly believe in the facts and John Marinatto's conference should be dancing with joy. It is the best; awesome, baby with a capital A!

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.