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Big East vs. Big 12

The Big East started the NCAA Tournament with eight teams and now it's down to three with Villanova's upset loss today to No. 10 Saint Mary's. Pittsburgh is in Milwaukee to meet Xavier while Syracuse and West Virginia, of course, remain alive in Buffalo. The Big 12, meanwhile, started with seven and went 5-2 in the first round -- and its top five teams all survived.

So there was lots of chatter in the West Virginia and Missouri press conferences today about which league is better of the eve of the teams' matchup tomorrow in the 2:40 range here. A reporter from the Kansas City Star, in the heart of Big 12 country, broached the subject with West Virginia star Da'Sean Butler and this was their exchange.

"How many did the Big 12 get in?" Butler asked, referring to number of teams in the tournament.

Reporter: "Seven".

Butler: "One short. I still think we are the best conference by far."

Naturally, Mizzou had its own point of view.

Said Tigers guard Zaire Taylor: "The Big East has a lot of talented teams. Some elite teams. But at the same time, they got about 30 to 40 teams in the conference [room cracks up with laughter). So you've got to measure. When you figure the Big East brings eight out of 20 into the tournament and then the Big 12 brings seven out of 12, we're going over 50 percent. They're still around 30.

Chimed in moderator Paul Vecchio of UB: "Numbers may vary depending on where you are."

---Mike Harrington

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