- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 22, 2009

The debate over the identity of college basketball’s ultimate power conference is officially over.

While the ACC withered in all four regions, the Big East was 6-1 in the opening round of the NCAA tournament, then received second-round blowout boosts from Connecticut and Villanova to cement its claim to this season’s crown as the king of conferences.

Following the ACC’s 3-4 meltdown in the opening round, which included the only loss by a top-four seed (Wake Forest) and four losses to lower-seeded teams (also Florida State, Clemson and Boston College), the disparity in performance between the nation’s two power leagues was impossible to overlook… even Memphis routed Maryland in Kansas City, Mo.

Just ask the most powerful man on the planet.

Boarding Marine One en route to Camp David on Saturday morning, President Barack Obama was hailed across the White House by a zealous reporter’s shouted inquiry: “Is the ACC overrated?”

Obama replied with a grin: “Apparently so.”

- Memo to officialdom: Ohio State’s Evan Turner travels every other time he touches the ball. Turner’s Buckeyes lost to Siena 74-72 in double overtime Friday night when karma intervened on behalf of the scandalously whistle-whipped Saints, morphing previously benign point guard Ronald Moore into a 3-point assassin.

- West No. 1 Connecticut’s 92-66 victory against Texas A&M sends the Huskies to their 10th Sweet 16 since 1994. Duke and Kansas entered the NCAA tournament with 10 trips each to at least the regional semifinals during the same time frame to pace all programs.

- Classic Jim Calhoun: “I had an awful lot of pressure after what George did the other day.”

The Connecticut coach was in rare form after the Huskies’ 26-point victory against the Aggies. Calhoun was hospitalized because of dehydration and missed Connecticut’s first-round game against Chattanooga, which the Huskies won by 56 points — the third-largest margin in tournament history — led by assistant coach George Blaney.

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