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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Charles Barkley blames Rick Pitino for his error-filled bracket

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

If Charles Barkley were as sharp with his analysis as he is with his one-liners, there would be far less complaints about this year's new NCAA tournament studio show.

Asked by host Greg Gumbel about his mistake-riddled bracket during Sunday's broadcast, Barkley said some of his mistakes shouldn't count against him since he chose Alabama State and UAB because of his friendships with the coaches. Then Barkley delivered a zinger at colleague Rick Pitino's expense.

"The rest of those X's are Louisville," he deadpanned.

The banter between Barkley and Pitino has at times been fun, but his trademark sense of humor can't always mask his disinterest toward college basketball.

There was his Selection Sunday statement that Ohio State lacks the elite players necessary to be a title threat. Or his insistence that the Big East has "the least amount of talent" of any of the major conferences. Or his comment that 11th-place Marquette beating Syracuse on Sunday to advance to the Sweet 16 proved the Big East should never have gotten 11 teams into the NCAA tournament. {YSP:MORE}

"Then Marquette wouldn't have made it," Pitino correctly pointed out.

"That just tells you Syracuse wasn't that good," Barkley retorted.

There will probably be people who agree with Barkley that only eight Big East teams belonged in the NCAA tournament as a result of the conference's awful showing, but the truth is the league simply performed well below expectations in  single-elimination format. Based on their season-long body of work, it would have been very difficult to justify leaving out Connecticut, Villanova or Marquette, the teams that finished ninth, 10th and 11th in the Big East regular-season standings.

Even though he had the more logical argument, Pitino didn't exactly help himself when he looked straight into the camera and guaranteed "Notre Dame will not lose" Sunday night against Florida State.

The lesson here: Never pin your TV credibility to Notre Dame in the NCAA tournament and never argue with Barkley even when you're right.

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