Big East Hoops

The Second Five

November 11, 2008 10:39 am by Coach O

the first five teams are all serious contenders for the Big East title. That doesn’t mean that the next group should be counted out. Each of the 2nd five could rise up to challenge UConn or Louisville for the championship.

6. Syracuse –

Frontcourt – The loss of Donte Green will take its toll on the SU frontline. Arinze Onuaku was a pleasant surprise in the low post for the Orange. He averaged 12.8 ppg and 8.1 rg and played tough in the paint. The other man in the frontcourt is still in doubt. Because of the plethora of guards available, Boeheim may use 6-5 Paul Harris as the power forward. A voracious rebounder and a 14.5 ppg scorer, Harris also averaged over 8 boards a game. The problem with that is a lack of height. If Harris moves to the ’3′ position, Krostof Ongenaet has starting experience and is 6-8. Grade – B

Backcourt – Jonny Flynn was Big East co-rookie of the year last season. He is a proven point man and also contributed 15.7 ppg. Eric Devendorf is back and will try to continue his 17 ppg average that he had when he went down last year. So now with Devendorf and Flynn that should be enough, right? No….. Andy Rautins, a sharpshooting small forward is returning after a year off with injury. So a backcourt of Flynn, Devendorf and Rautins would force a move of Harris to the ’3′ position. Grade – A

Coaching  – Jim Boeheim still gets the most out of his players. He is a Hall of Fame and National Championship coach and has a very talented group here this year. Grade – A-

OVERALL  – SU can give some teams fits this year and have the talent to make a run at the title. Will they miss Donte Green? Probably. Will they miss his crazy shot selection and defensive indifference? Not at all. If the orange can improve their defense this season they will finish higher than 5th. If not, I see them in 6th place. Grade B+

 

Villanova

Frontcourt – Dante Cunningham had a solid season last year. he averaged in double figures and over 6 rpg. Antonio Pena and Shane Clark are adequate post men and Casiem Drummond will backup both post positions. All major players down  low are 6-8 except Drummond who is 6-10. The Cats hold their own down low but will have trouble with the frontlines of the top rated teams. Grade – B-

Backcourt  – Scottie Reynolds will win some games for Nova. He will also lose some. Sometimes Reynolds needs to involve teammates when his game goes south. He is one of the most talented and exciting guards in the country. Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes will split time at the point. The problem here is that Reynolds controls the ball most of the time and the point guard occasionally gets involved in his offense. Dwayne Anderson will start at the ’3′. His outside shooting won some key contests for the Cats last year. When Anderson and Reynolds are on their game, Nova can beat anyone. Reggie Redding lends experience behind Anderson. Grade A-

Coaching – Jay Wright is a great coach. He has shunned the NBA and isenjoying his stay in Philly. He will get the most out of his group and probably lose some hair when Reynolds gets out of control. Grade – A-

OVERALL  – Nova is a dangerous team. They went to the Sweet Sixteen last year and did not lose any key players from that team. But they will also lose a game or two that should be easy wins. Grade – B

Georgetown

Frontcourt – Roy Hibbert will be missed. His steady play (and 3 point shooting) was a plus for the Hoyas. But DaJuan Summers is a talented player and can take his game to the outside if necessary. 6-10 Greg Monroe looks to start at center but he is a Freshman. FSU Transfer Julian Vaughn and Henry Sims (Fr) will backup down low. Grade C+

Backcourt – Jesse Sapp returns after averaging 9.7 ppg last year. Austin Freeman had a great freshman year and brings experience on the perimeter. Chris Wright recovered from his injury to get valuable minutes last season. But Jonathan Wallace will be sorely missed by GTown this year and no one will immediately take his leadership place. Grade – B

Coaching – JT3 was the media darling two years ago when he led the Hoyas to the Final Four. Last year was more of a struggle as teams worked on getting Hibbert into foul trouble. This year there are some question marks. Can Summers lead this team into the top 5? Don’t think so. Losing Wallace and Hibbert may be too much to overcome. 7th or 8th looks about right. Grade – B-

West Virginia

Frontcourt – Year two of the Huggins reign is here and Joe Alexander is gone. Good news and Bad News. Da’Sean Butler returns, but at 6-7 he is more a swing player than low post presence. Wellington Smith, John Flowers, and Cam Thoroughman are names that really don’t strike fear in opponents eyes down low. Devin Ebanks is a freshman that may make an impact. Grade C-

Backcourt – Alex Ruoff returns and will be a top long range shooter for the Neers. Joe Mazzulla should take over the point after logging impressive minutes last year. That leaves the ’3′ where Butler should play if he is not needed at the power forward. Grade – B-

Coaching – Huggins didn’t take long to get WVU going last year in his style. It makes sense that they should be familiar with the new tough man to man D and hard-nosed offense. He always has his teams playing hard. Grade B+

OVERALL – Losing Alexander and Darris Nichols may be too much to overcome in this tough league this year. WVU should be in the top 10 in the BE but barely. Grade C+

Cincinnati

Frontcourt – Mick Cronin has done a marvelous job taking a team with only a handful of scholarship players two years ago and making them a respectable foe last year. Mike Williams transferred from Texas and then was injured all last season. He is expected to anchor the low post in the absence of John Williamson. Anthony McClain and Kenny Belton will man the center position but neither has shown any flashes of brilliance thus far. Yancy Gates is a freshman who may break into the starting lineup during the season. Grade C-

Backcourt – Deonta Vaughn is one of the most exciting players in the league. Vaughn won some games on his own last year and may have to do the same this season. Larry Davis has experience but brings a 4.3 ppg average which doesn’t compliment Vaughn too well. Rashad Bishop should be the small forward this season after starting 20 games last year. Grade B

Coaching- As said earlier, Cronin has to be admired after what he has done to bring this program back from the disaster of two years ago. He shows enthusiasm on the bench and that translates to his players. He has also been successful in his recruiting efforts. Grade – B

OVERALL - Vaughn will draw most of the attention from opponents and will have to work for every point he gets this year. There is some talent here but not enough to compete with the big boys at the top of the conference. Top 10 finish will be a struggle. Grade – C

 

 

Comments Closed

4 Responses to “The Second Five”

Big Willie Style wrote a comment on November 12, 2008

That’s a great group of second tier teams. I think Syracuse may jump in the top 5 of the conference this year.

mdp wrote a comment on November 13, 2008

Coaching for Syracuse only an A-? Come on Boeheim should be A+++

Coach O wrote a comment on November 14, 2008

What can I tell you??? I’m not an easy grader, never have been. Calhoun, Brey, Dixon, Wright and Boeheim are A-. Only Pitino gets an A here.

Mister D wrote a comment on November 20, 2008

I’ve you’ve been a ‘Cuse fan for long enough, you love Jim Boeheim. The guy is fantastic.

But you also have to admit that he does not deserve an A+. I agree with Coach O’s assessment. A- is about right when you haven’t been to the Big Dance since ’05-’06.