Big East Hoops

Archive for November, 2006

What’s going on with Georgetown?

November 30, 2006 11:10 am by donald

This was supposed to be their year.  But with losses to Old Dominion University and University of Oregon, this year is looking to be quite a disappointment.  I found the loss to Old Dominion particularly amusing.  You see, every year, Georgetown plays a few games at its campus home court — McDonough Arena.  If you didn’t click on the link, you should.  McDonough resembles your high school gym.  They only play here a few times each year (instead of the MCI/Verizon center) because it’s not a money-maker.  Indeed, they hadn’t lost at McDonough since 1982, when UCONN came in and beat their asses.  So, basically, if Georgetown schedules somebody at McDonough, it must be a super-chump, because they figure nobody wants to watch the game.

Georgetown enters this Saturday’s national TV matchup against Duke looking nothing like the team that upset Duke last year.  I still think Georgetown will beat Duke for two reasons: 1. JT3 will rally his troops and get them playing the Georgetown basketball I love to see (combination of Princeton offense with great athletes), and 2. Duke is not very good.  I watched them the other night against Indiana, and they looked bad.  Of course, that didn’t stop Dicky V from extolling their virtues all night long (he actually found time to mention them yesterday during the excellent UNC-OSU game).  Greg Paulus is another Steve Wojohowski or Chris Collins, i.e. not good enough.

‘Tis the Season to Make Predictions

November 20, 2006 9:52 pm by Big Willie Style

Ahh Thanksgiving.  Finally, it’s College Basketball time.  We’ve moved past the Ohio State-Michigan game, Rutgers has lost, and the NFL’s long season is getting a little long.  Just as Mister D said: “Basketball season is suddenly upon us.”  Sure, we’ve had a week of Syracuse vs. Mexico Tech and Louisville vs Kentucky Beauty School games; but now, we’ve finally got some real games to watch.  Thank goodness, because so far, the Big East does not look to Beastley.  If anything, we’ve entered this season like a damn kitty cat.  Hopefully, we can end in March like the monster we’ve come to know and love. 

 So here’s my opinion on what to look forward to this year:

 1.  Pittsburgh – Clearly, the Panthers have the deepest team in the league.  Of course I’ll be rooting for someone to knock the Panthers from the top spot all year, but they’ve got the best team, and they have Aaron Gray, who should be the conference’s best player.  Also, Pitt presents us with the best chance of getting a National Champion this season.  They’re obviously not going to blow too many teams out because they play slow, and because of that I think they’ll lose 3-5 games in conference this year.  But still, they should finish first. 

 2.  Syracuse – This may be a little high for the Orangemen, excuse me, Orange, but I was in the garden last year, and I remember how good they can be.  Granted, Gerry Mac is gone, but Paul Harris is supposed to be a very formidable replacement, and if that frontline can stay out of foul trouble, they’ll be right near the top all year.

3.  Georgetown – OK, this is not because of their loss the other night.  This is because they are going to be relying on two freshmen, and although Jeff Green is as good as anyone, I don’t think the Hoyas are as good as everyone thinks.  They’re certainly not a top 10 team, and I believe GTown will hang on for third place this year.

4.  Marquette – For the next four teams, your guess is as good as mine.  But I do know this: Dominic James is a superstar.  And there’s nobody who I’ll enjoy watching more this season than him. 

5.  Connecticut – I know, I know, how can UConn be ranked this high with no experience?  Simple reason: talent.  Sure, they’re young, but they have the most talent in the league.  They’re real, real fast this year, and they’ll be exciting.  The Huskies will lose some games they shouldn’t, and they’ll win some games they shouldn’t.  Typical of a young talented squad.  UConn will certainly be competive this year though, and I believe their #18 ranking should be about right.

6.  DePaul -I’ll be patient with DePaul.  They’ve started real slowly, but I remember that drubbing of Syracuse last year too, and I think Wilson Chandler and Sammy Mejia will carry this team to more wins than most think.  DePaul will definitely do some damage this year.

7.  Louisville – Here’s an NCAA tournament team who won’t suffer from losing Taquan Dean that much.  Dean missed a lot of time last year, and I believe Louisville will certainly be better this year than last. 

8. Villanova – I’m anxious to see Curtis Sumpter this season.  He’ll have to be as good as he used to be in order for Nova to challenge the top of the league.  Nova will be one of those bubble teams all year, and are probably the last Big East team to have a shot at the NCAAs this year.

9. St. John’s – This is where the Big East gets real weak this year.  St  John’s is not that good, as proven earlier this week against Maryland.  I’ll be shocked if St. John’s does any better than 9th this year. 

10.  Notre Dame – If a tenth place finish can be considered a sleeper, then this is my sleeper.  Their guards are average, but the rookie big man Luke Harangody is good.  I think it’ll be good enough for the Irish to make MSG come March.

11.  Providence – The Friars have a bunch of players coming back.  Granted, they’re bad players, but still, they have experience.  And that experience should translate into enough wins to put them in MSG. 

12.  West Virginia – I’m betting on the coach here rather than the players.  I’ll miss the old crew so much, and I’ll never forget their knocking BC out of the tourney two years ago.  And Gansey, Pittsnogle and company were good, but were they that good?  Maybe, maybe not.  Maybe it was just the system.  We’ll see this year.

13.  Cincinnati – The Bearcats have six or seven JC transfers.  What does that mean?  I think it means they’ll be better than the bottom three. 

14.  Seton Hall – The Pirates lost a lot from last year, and they’ll lose a lot of games this year.

15.  Rutgers – The RAC will still be loud, but that’ll only be in the first halves of games this year.  Because in the second halves, Rutgers is likely to be long gone.  Where have you gone Quincy Douby?

16.  USF – I want to say that they’ll be better than last year, but I don’t think they will.  Perhaps they’ll win 2.  Maybe. 

Let’s face it, the bottom of the league is weak, real weak, and that’ll kill our RPI.  The Big East is sadly a step below this year.  While I’m hoping for the best, I don’t think they will be nearly as dominant a league as they have been over the past 3 to 4 seasons. 

How did UConn get a preseason #18 ranking?

November 19, 2006 9:48 pm by Juice

Last year, UConn had one of the most talented squads in the country. Though they never quite gelled, and bowed out too early in the NCAA tournament, they sent four players to the NBA in round one, and a fifth (Denham) in round two — a draft record.

As a result, this year, their most experienced players averaged 16 minutes a game in 2005-2006. Their returners are all sophomores (!), and only one (Jeff Adrien, improbably) showed some real promise last year. Thabeet, at 8 foot 6 or whatever, is a classic “I’ve grown up embarrassed at my height and need at least a year to develop any aggression and skill” center.

But their preseason ranking was #18 in both polls. Blind faith in Calhoun, or something I don’t know?

Battle Tested or Demoralized?

November 17, 2006 12:08 pm by Dan'l B

Next Tuesday night, very few people will watch Rutgers take on the Jackson State Tigers. Football should still be on the brain, and the Scarlet Knights started slowly on the hardwood considering their shooting performance earlier this week.

At a glance, Jackson State at Rutgers is hardly worth paying attention to. Well I take exception. I’ve never seen a college basketball team start its season quite like Jackson State has. Over the last seven days, the Tigers traveled to Tuscaloosa, Atlanta, Champagne, and Memphis–the last two on consecutive nights–with the sole purpose of getting throttled by power conference teams on their courts. Alabama 96, JSU 65. Georgia Tech 100, JSU 70. Illinois 76, JSU 55. Memphis 111, JSU 69. Rutgers isn’t of the caliber of these teams, but following all of that with a road trip to New Jersey is more aggressive than inviting a directional Louisiana across the border to give your players a reprieve. What are this athletic director and head coach thinking?

The game will provide a glimpse of how the Big East stacks up against the represented major conferences. I don’t expect a blowout by any means, but I’ll be disappointed if the Knights don’t win. Much depends on how beaten down JSU is after running that gauntlet.

 * Follow up *

Rutgers was upset 71-70 at the RAC. Not good.

Depaul – The Sleeper who’s still Sleeping

November 16, 2006 9:04 pm by Mister D

After the 39-point drubbing Depaul handed to Syracuse last year, everyone was thinking pretty much along the same lines: young team, athletic, inconsistent, flashes of brilliance, one proven leader…with a little maturity, they’ll be good in ’06-’07.  ESPN’s Andy Katz wrote an entire article about their sleeper status.

 Oops.

 The Blue Demons are 0-2, with losses to Butler (58-78) and perennial Big 11 doormat Northwestern (39-49).

Looks like they’ll be just like last year’s team.  A squad with the ability to catch fire at any moment and beat just about anybody, but without the ability to play disciplined, consistent basketball day in and day out.