KELLY: Back to basics. The Big East is still a child. The Big Ten has won seven NCAA championships to the ACC's four. The Big Ten has 27 Final Four appearances to the ACC's 19. Case closed.
KIRKPATRICK: The Big East has two NCAAs in six years of existence. What are the Big Ten's and ACC's percentages? Let's face it—you two are debating for second place, as we discovered last March when three Big East teams made the Final Four. Never done before. You can look this up, too: In three of the last four years the Big East had three teams in the NCAA final 16. Over the same period, the league received 19 NCAA bids, had a tournament winning percentage of .702 and, of course, back-to-back belly-to-belly champeens. Last season NBC and CBS televised a total of 29 games involving Big East teams, easily a record.
WOLFF: The ACC can just about match that.
KELLY: Now that Ewing's gone, it's over for the Big East.
KIRKPATRICK: AU contraire, Mr. Good Citizen. Sure, 1985 was the windup of the era of Ewing, Mullin, Pinckney, Adams and the everlasting Sonny Spera, but rather than the product falling off, the Big East will build on this success.
WOLFF: My problem with the Big East is it seems like some guy with a marketing degree sat down and invented it. I take this market, you take that one.' I mean, Providence? Seton Hall?
KIRKPATRICK: Sshhh. You don't mention Seton Hall, and I won't mention Wake Forest. Or Northwestern. Sure, it's marketing. But the Big East took its lead from the kings of hype marketing, the ACC, and did it better.
KELLY: Aw, come on. The Big East just lucked into an incredible growth period. It's been attractive so far, but there's no solid foundation. The teams don't have their own arenas. They don't have an awful lot of good coaches.
KIRKPATRICK: But they have a lot of Italian ones.
KELLY: Look, if Lefty Driesell left Maryland or Knight left Indiana, either school would go out and get a coach to sustain the program. If John Thompson left Georgetown, there's no guarantee the team would be good anymore. If Rollie Massimino left Villanova, it might turn into another Providence.