The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

March 29, 2013

Big East breaking up with a bang

(Continued)

Marquette advanced with a 71-61 victory over Miami, the first win in the round of 16 for the Golden Eagles after losses the last two seasons.

"We're used to people not giving us credit, saying we were no good," said Vander Blue, the man who hit the game-winning shot against Davidson in the second round and had 14 points against the Hurricanes.

"If you were to look at our roster, no one would expect us to be an Elite Eight team, our guys don't get into that much," he added, "but it's good to know if you step on to the court, if you don't give us respect, we're going to earn it, as we work harder than, I feel, anybody in the country. And we don't have the name of North Carolina, Syracuse or Georgetown, but we are still here, we show up every single day, and no matter how anybody feels about us, when you step in between those lines we're all equal and we feel like we can take on anybody."

The Big East was a 15-team league this season with West Virginia having left for the Big 12 after last season. Seven schools, all Catholic, announced during the season they were leaving to form their own conference, one without any football presence.

Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame are heading for the Atlantic Coast Conference next season and Louisville will follow the season after that.

The league has placed eight or more teams in the NCAA tournament six times, something no other conference has done once, and set the standard with 11 bids in 2011, one of those records it seems will never be broken.

So why not go out with a bang? One more Final Four for sure, and the team the Selection Committee decided was the best in the field of 68 is still alive, two wins away from a ticket to Atlanta.

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