Big East Hoops

Archive for February, 2011

This is not the ACC. So much is still on the line for so many teams.

February 28, 2011 6:28 pm by Big Willie Style

Heading into the final week of Big East Conference play, the stakes have never been higher. Byes, double-byes and NCAA tournament bids are all up for grabs. This is not the ACC where 75% of the conference is now playing for pride.

Here’s some predictions of what to look for during the week ahead.

MONDAY

Villanova enters the day in severe danger of falling out of the top 8 in the conference and they have a tough, tough test on the road. The Wildcats go to South Bend in a matchup that does not look good for them. The Irish have been playing great ball of late and considering they now have a chance at the #1 seed and the fact that it is Senior Night, I like the Irish, and I like the Irish big in this one.

WEDNESDAY

Pitt looks to rebound on the road in Tampa. I wouldn’t expect a great performance by the Panthers, but I expect a victory. Take the Bulls against the line.

Louisville has a home game against Providence and they should take this one with ease. Marshon Brooks has had some incredible performances but even with his high scoring outputs, the Friars still tend o drop games. Expect a big Cardinals victory.

Rutgers travels to DePaul in a game that the Scarlet Knights should win.

UConn goes to Morgantown in a very interesting matchup for them against the Mountaineers. The Huskies looked good against the Bearcats this weekend, but I’ll take West Virginia at home in this one If Coach Huggins is wise, he’ll play a zone against UConn. Cincinnati didn’t, and they lost.

The game of the night is Cincinnati @ Marquette. Both teams are fighting to stay off the bubble talk and Marquette gets it doesn’t here with a victory that pretty much should guarantee an NCAA birth. The Golden Eagles still have a decent shot at the #6 seed in the BE Tournament. A victory over Cincinnati gets them a step in that direction.

THURSDAY

St. John’s visits Seton Hall in a game that the Red Storm should win. St. John’s has a realistic shot at finishing second in the conference this season and this is the first of two games that they should be able to manage.

OVERALL PREDICTIONS RECORD
Week One – 10-3
Week Two – 11-2
Week Three – 12-3
Week Four – 9-5
Week Five – 7-7
Week Six – 13-1
Week Seven – 10-5
Week Eight 9-6
Week Nine 10-5
OVERALL – 91-37 (71% accuracy)

One Week To Go

11:16 am by Big Willie Style

One week to go. Everyone has two games remaining with exception of Georgetown and Syracuse. Every team will be playing on Saturday to decide seeds for the BE Tournament. The standings are below and as you look them over, there’s a couple key points to consider:

1. Villanova has by far the most difficult road left. I think an 11 seed in the BE Tournament is in their immediate future.

2. Syracuse & St. John’s have it easy. There’s a real good chance the Red Storm finish with either a 2 or 3 seed.

3. Look for the top four right now to earn the double byes. Louisville has a tie-breaker over Syracuse so as long as they win one game left, they should get a double bye.

4. Georgetown loses a lot of tie-breakers against the 9-7 teams and unless they win the last game, they could easily miss out on a bye. As it stands right now, I have Syracuse, Marquette, West Virginia and UConn as the 5,6,7 & 8 seeds respectfully. That leaves out Cincinnati, Georgetown and Villanova for the byes.

standings
1 Pittsburgh 13-3 @ USF VILLANOVA
2 Notre Dame 12-4 VILLANOVA @ UConn
3 Louisville 11-5 PROVIDENCE @ West Virginia
4 St. John’s 11-5 @ Seton Hall USF
5 Syracuse 11-6 DEPAUL
6 Georgetown 10-7 @ Cincinnati
7 Connecticut 9-7 @ West Virginia NOTRE DAME
8 Villanova 9-7 @ Notre Dame @ Pittsburgh
9 Marquette 9-7 CINCINNATI @ Seton Hall
10 West Virginia 9-7 UCONN LOUISVILLE
11 Cincinnati 9-7 @ Marquette GEORGETOWN
12 Seton Hall 5-11 St. John’s MARQUETTE
13 Rutgers 4-12 @ DePaul @ Providence
14 Providence 3-13 @ Louisville RUTGERS
15 USF 3-13 PITTSBURGH @ St. John’s
16 DePaul 1-15 RUTGERS @ Syracuse

MVP Update – Perhaps we are down to 2 contenders

1. Ben Hansbrough – Still the favorite heading into the final week. Barely.
2. Dwight Hardy – Closing fast on Big East MVP. If St. John’s passes Notre Dame into 2nd place, Hardy passes Hansbrough. This could be your eventual winner.
3. Austin Freeman – As Georgetown fades, so does Freeman. This is starting to look like a two horse race for MVP.
4. Marshon Brooks – The scoring machine from PC will make first team Big East, but not MVP.
5. Kemba Walker – Unless he goes nuts the last two games and UConn does as well, there’s no chance here.
6. Ashton Gibbs – Wanamaker seems to be the emerging go-to at Pitt, meaning that if Gibbs isn’t the number one option for his team, he’s not winning the MVP award.

Seton Hall at Notre Dame – Live Blog

February 26, 2011 7:17 pm by Big Willie Style

Big Willie Style and Coach O here watching the Notre Dame-Seton Hall game. We’re starting a little late, but we’ll get you updated soon. 8-8 tie right now, 13 minutes in.

7:14 pm EST: “Notre Dame shoots the 3 better in their wins, than in their losses.” -Doris Burke. Thank you very much for this wonderful insight.

7:19 pm EST: Anyone else notice how great Seton Hall’s uniforms are? Why don’t more teams wear Blue, Silver and White?

7:20 pm EST: ESPN showing standings right now, ND needs this one for the double bye in the BE Tournament, but they’re not off to a great start.

7:21 pm EST: Cooley just threw a guy on the floor. Refs aren’t calling anything. They’re stealing money from the Big East.

7:23 pm EST: Coach O’s a ND fan, he’s getting pessimistic already.

7:27 pm EST: Our apologies to Doris Burke, we thought you were Beth Mowins.

7:29 pm EST: ESPN talking about Big East player of the year. They showed 5 candidates. The one missing? Pittsburgh’s Ashton Gibbs. I agree with them.

7:32 pm EST: Wow. Seton Hall’s looking good right now.

7:33 pm EST: Seton Hall, controlling the boards so far. ND should have saved some of the points from the PC game for this one.

7:36 pm EST: Coach O hates PA announcers who say 33333333333333333333!

7:41 pm EST: Hanbrough’s made 3 nice plays in a row. Shot, rebound and pass.

7:42 pm EST: Lovin’ these Pirate uniforms. Best unis in the conference.

7:45 pm EST: OOOOOOOOO! What a shot to close the half.

8:00 pm EST: Really enjoyed the promo for Notre Dame with the Irish blessing. Good stuff ND.

8:03 pm EST: 2nd Half! Here we go!

8:05 pm EST: Mike Brey is pretty fired up after that Nash put back. Love to see a coach react like that. Perhaps that’s why his players always speak so highly of him.

8:05 pm EST: Seton Hall’s still up 1, but you can feel the momentum here. The Pirates may be in a bit of trouble.

8:09 pm EST: What’s with Seton Hall being the Pirates? We’re trying to come up with a better nickname. We think the Oranges would be better, considering their location. But then Syracuse would probably sue them for copyright infringement. SOBs.

8:16 pm EST: Impressive loose ball play from Abromaitis and the Irish.

8:19pm EST: Ball seems to be bouncing ND’s way right now.

8:26pm EST: Game’s moving a little slow right now. ND looks alright up by 5 with 12:00 minutes left. However, game’s closer than the Irish want.

8:27pm EST: ESPN is talking about the top seeds in the NCAA tourney. They have BYU and SD State as #2 seeds. IMPOSSIBLE! There’s no way San Diego State gets a two seed after losing to BYU twice.

8:33pm EST: Pretty ugly basketball right now. A lot of dribbling, not much scoring.

8:41pm EST: 5 point game, 5 minutes left.

8:42pm EST: Jim Calhoun, if you’re paying attention: Watch Notre Dame’s offense against a 2-3 zone. It’s way better than the “please Kemba, make a shot offense”

8:44pm EST: Great ball movement from Notre Dame. Coach O is excited because the ND student section is wearing his high school basketball number.

8:49pm EST: Big defensive position for Seton Hall. Great shot for Hansbrough. That could be it for the Pirates.

8:51pm EST: Martin just iced the game.

8:54pm EST: Good effort from Seton Hall. Great comeback from Notre Dame. Solid victory for the Irish.

Approaching the Finish Line

10:01 am by Big Willie Style

With only one weekend of play after this one, games become ever important for BE Tournament seeding, and also for those teams trying to hang on to the NCAAA bubble. Here’s what to look forward to for the four Saturday games and the four Sunday games.

SATURDAY

Wright’s injury and a terrible performance earlier in the week has Georgetown looking suddenly shaky. They host their rival’s Syracuse today at noon. This should be a close game and I give the edge to the Orange on the road in a game that comes down to the final moments.

For the first time this season I’m picking DePaul. Do I still think they should be replaced in this league by UCF? Of course! A UCF-USF game would be much more interesting here, especially in the Sunshine State, where a rivalry between Central Florida schools would help add Big East attention to the area and increase recruiting for all 16 schools in the Central Florida area. However, we still have DePaul, and they’ll beat the Bulls today.

Struggling Villanova hosts St. John’s today and I think the Wildcats will get a much needed victory over the Red Storm in another close game. Much like the G’town-Cuse game, this could go either way.

Finally, Notre Dame should have no problems with Seton Hall this evening in South Bend.

SUNDAY

Floundering UConn travels to Cincinnati to do battle with the Bearcats. If Cincinnati follows Marquette’s lead plays different zone defenses against UConn, they’ll win. UConn has no offensive plan against a zone, and in past years future NBA All-Stars have bailed them out against zone defenses. This year, they’re too young and quite frankly not good enough to have no plan against a zone defense to win. Go with the Bearcats here. (note to Coach Calhoun: Try a 1-3-1 offense and make sure to either get the ball to the middle of the zone or penetrate the middle to draw defenders. Just sayin’)

West Virginia will rebound after their loss to rival Pitt and beat Rutgers in a close game at the RAC.

Marquette will also continue their impressive march towards the NCAAs as they defeat Providence at home. The Golden Eagles need to make sure they don’t have a let down after their dramatic victory over UConn during the week. Also, they might want to guard Marshon Brooks.

In the game of the day, Pitt travels to Louisville in a game that smells like an upset to me. The Cards have been very good at home this year and I’ll take them to upset Pittsburgh at home.

Marquette at UConn, liveblog

February 24, 2011 8:20 pm by donald

8:18 pm EST: Haven’t done a live blog in a while. Watching ESPN3 at work while updating the blog. espn3.com, by the way, is man’s best friend: any Big East game available to watch online live as well as an archive of the last few night’s games.

8:20 pm EST: The clock just stopped. How is this a regular occurrence? It’s a freaking clock. Not rocket science here. I bet it’s human error.

8:24 pm EST: Question — when was the last time UConn had a white, american-born guard? Seriously. I think it was the 1980s. Niels Giffey is from Germany, FYI.

8:27 pm EST: Kemba Walker fouled again at the 3-point line.

8:34 pm EST: The problem with watching games at work is that sometimes people want to talk to you about work stuff.

8:37 pm EST: My personal opinion: Marquette is the school that has most well-integrated itself into the “old” Big East. Perhaps it’s because of its name: Marquette doesn’t evoke any geographic locations.

8:39 pm EST: Buycks has unbelievable hands. And apparently his name is pronounced Bikes. Yuycks.

8:47 pm EST: UConn’s offense: let Kemba dribble aimlessly and then send everybody to the offensive boards.

8:50 pm EST: Most common surname in the Big East. Perhaps Butler? Jimmy Butler. Caron Butler. DeSean Butler. Any other Butlers?

8:51 pm EST: Same UConn offense. See item two bullets above. This time Giffey with the putback.

8:57 pm EST: Kemba Walker has taken the last four first-shot-attempts. Ridiculous. Who does he think he is…Kobe Bryant?

8:58 pm EST: This time, nobody touched the ball except Kemba Walker. #gettingridiculous

9:00 pm EST: Marquette: take the ball strong. No jump shots. This game is totally winnable for the Golden Eagles.

9:02 pm EST: You can’t make this shit up. Walker double-teamed…dribbles around. Picks up his dribble. Instead of passing, he calls a timeout.

9:04 pm EST: Now we’re tied, going into overtime. I don’t believe a single UConn player has dribbled the ball in the last five possessions other than Kemba Walker. And I can’t believe any of the commentators aren’t pointing this out. Props to Marquette: totally winnable game.

9:12 pm EST: Nasty crossover from Buycks. Crowder with a nice tip. Johnson-Odom with a lefty jumper. Marquette plays like a team.

9:14 pm EST: Awful shot by Walker. Johnson-Odom with a nice left jumper. Walker travels.

9:19 pm EST: Marquette 74, UConn 65. 25.4 seconds left in overtime. People in the stands leaving. Great win by Marquette. Johnson-Odom is the man.