- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 27, 2005

NEW YORK — The hoops leviathan better known as the Big East Conference officially introduced its five new members during its preseason media gathering yesterday at Madison Square Garden.

“The No.1 criticism I keep hearing of the league is that we’re too big,” Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese said after welcoming Louisville, Marquette, Cincinnati, DePaul and South Florida to what is now a 16-team league. “My response to that is we’re all too big. Basketball was meant to be played in a round robin, home-and-away format. The ACC doesn’t do that. The SEC doesn’t do that. And we don’t do that.

“There are certain imperfections and inequalities inherent in the scheduling of such conferences. I’ll be the first to admit our schedule is dysfunctional. … But you also have to admit that we now have a conference which features more quality, depth and tradition than any ever assembled. Consider the fact that 15 of our 16 member institutions have been to at least one Final Four. That’s staggering.”

Georgetown’s place in that pecking order is a testament to the Big East’s depth. The Hoyas return the top six contributors from a squad that finished 19-13 in the Hilltop debut of coach John Thompson III last season, which has led most preseason publications to rank Georgetown among the nation’s top 25 teams.

The Big East coaches, however, picked the Hoyas to finish sixth in the league behind Villanova, Connecticut, Louisville, Syracuse and West Virginia. And neither of Georgetown’s star forwards, senior Brandon Bowman and 2004-05 co-rookie of the year Jeff Green, made the league’s extended list of preseason first-team picks.

“I think we’re all far more concerned with how those rankings and lists shake out at the end of the season,” said Thompson, whose team opens Nov.18 at Navy. “That said, I’d be very surprised if the team that finishes sixth in this league isn’t in the NCAA tournament. I think that’s what kind of a monster you’re looking at with this conference.”

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