- The Washington Times - Monday, March 16, 2009

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Former Indiana coach Bob Knight doesn’t think Big Ten basketball stacks up with the Big East and Atlantic Coast Conferences this season.

Knight told sportscaster Billy Packer during the taping of “Survive and Advance” that he doesn’t think seven Big Ten teams should have received bids to the NCAA tournament.

“There are a lot of times when I thought the Big Ten deserved six, seven, eight teams but this certainly isn’t one of them,” Knight said. “As I’ve watched Big Ten basketball this year I don’t think they’re anywhere close to the Big East or the Atlantic Coast Conference. I think they’re a long way from both of those conferences.”

Packer said in an interview that the quality of the Big East and ACC compared with the Big Ten is shown by the low seeds of the Big Ten teams.

“There’s a tremendous disparity between the value of those leagues,” Packer told The Associated Press after the taping at the sports book of the Wynn Las Vegas hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

Knight told the AP the seedings show that if the Big East and ACC each have seven teams in the tournament, there’s “no way” that the Big Ten should have seven as well.

Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota were not considered locks to make the 65-team field.

Knight, the winningest coach in Division I history, and Packer, the former CBS analyst, also said they believe the West Regional is the toughest draw, with Connecticut, Memphis and Missouri among the 16 teams.

“That has to happen somewhere. If you’ve got five or six really good teams, there are going to be two very good teams in the regional,” Knight said. “But this one’s got four or five of them.”

Packer said he liked North Carolina before the season started, but now believes Pittsburgh is the better team.

Knight said he would be rooting for Duke, but believes any of the Big East teams or Memphis could win it all.

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