Big East Hoops

Archive for November, 2012

Louisville Invited to ACC

November 30, 2012 8:59 am by Coach O

There was a feeling that when Maryland decided to leave the ACC and join the Big 10 that UConn would be leaving the Big East soon to take the Terps spot in the ACC. Once again we learned that one cannot predict anything in the crazy world of NCAA conference realignment. No, UConn, you are not going to the ACC where the football money of more than $17 million per year for each school dwarfs the $3.2 million Big East schools get. Why????

Louisville was invited because they sell out their bowl game tickets. UConn lost almost a million dollars when their fans didn’t buy tickets or hotel rooms for their Fiesta Bowl fiasco against Oklahoma. Louisville was invited because they sell out their home football games. UConn does not. Louisville was invited because their basketball fans fill the seats for home games no matter the opponent. UConn had maybe 10000 empty seats last night at home for a men’s basketball game at the XL Center. Uconn has claimed that their academic record is far superior to Louisville’s. There seems to be one Big East team right now that is prohibited from any post season games and it is not Louisville. I would agree that Louisville’s reputation of basketball players actually being students is not that of Duke, or Notre Dame. But UConn is being punished because the players didn’t go to class. The players didn’t graduate or even make progress toward graduation. No claims of academic success at UConn can be believed at this time. We hope that changes,  but don’t crow about something while being punished for not displaying it. Sure, UConn’s football team played in a BCS bowl. So too will Louisville’s this year. Louisville was the better choice and the ACC acted on it.

While harping on the NCAA progress toward graduation rules, I really think there should be one change. I fully believe that college athletes should attend class and graduate, but …….. A school should not have a negative mark if a player leaves early to accept millions from the NBA. I always thought that college was to prepare one for a successful career. When a player leaves UConn early for the NBA they have achieved what college is all about. I have a problem with the one year rule, it should be three years like in football. And any player who leaves early should be made to pay the school back the amount of the entire 4 year scholarship. In many cases that would be more than $100,000. Even someone signing a huge NBA contract will think twice before taking a chance on making the NBA team against paying six figures for leaving early. And if they leave early and don’t get an NBA contract…oh well…. they’ve got a huge student loan to pay back like most college students. That might result in more players staying in college for 3 or 4 years instead of one. But blame the NBA too. They could follow the NFL and not take college players until after their Junior year.  Oh, well, just saying !

And is it a magical year in South Bend? 12-0 and #1 in football and the basketball team goes out and destroys NCAA defending champ Kentucky last night! Kinda cool to see Manti Teo and the rest of the football team there leading the cheers for their basketball classmates. Now isn’t that what college sports should be like?


Conference Realignment….what has the Big East become? Who should join the ACC?

November 27, 2012 10:16 pm by Big Willie Style

I love the Big East Conference. And I shouldn’t.

Why would anyone get attached to an organization of schools rather than the schools themselves? For me it was more the rivalries, more the conference tournament in Madison Square Garden, more the fact that this group of schools which I was so fond of broke all kinds of NCAA Tournament records over the past few years. I was a biased fan, I rooted for all the teams and the ACC was the enemy. The Big East was the best, I loved the conference, life was good.

Then came the last two years of being slapped in the face by the very conference which I grew to mock at every loss. Now, I’m hoping for the sake of the few football playing schools left, they are able to move to greener pastures, such as the Big 12 or the ACC. The Big East is dead, and no matter what the conference tries to do, it’ll never be the same again. Not without Syracuse or Pittsburgh, or even Rutgers. I couldn’t believe it when Boston College left a few years back. And yes, I was amongst the many who chanted ACC to them at MSG during their final conference loss back in 2005. But Boston College was right, and schools like UConn and Louisville are now scrambling to join in a move that perhaps they should have made instead of BC so many years ago. And now so many “Big East” fans are wondering what happened. In reality we probably should never have been fans of a conference. Lesson learned NCAA, it’ll never happen again because traditions are gone.

So what happens now?

If I’m the Big East and I care about tradition, I scrap the football league, focus on a still very powerful basketball league consisting of Georgetown, Villanova, St. John’s, Seton Hall and friends. Perhaps they could add St. Joseph’s, VCU, George Mason or even Butler to make up a very significant league. The football playing schools will leave. If not this year, soon enough. And I don’t understand how adding Tulane or East Carolina will help the league. People say recruiting, but I don’t see it. New Orleans football fans are not going to care about UConn football when they don’t even support Tulane. Of course, the Big East can’t scrap football, because it dominates everything. What may end up happening is the traditional Big East hoops schools may break away leaving the so-called Big East looking eerily similar to Conference USA circa 2003.

If I’m the ACC, I take both UConn and Louisville. That gives you an odd number of teams with 15. However, it’s still only 14 for football considering Notre Dame plays by their own rules. And although we all know that only football matters, in basketball it gives you a 14 game schedule pretty easily. Want to throw in two rivalry games every year that you double up with? Perfect. The scheduling in basketball would actually be a piece of cake. But again, basketball is the red-headed step child to prom king College Football.

Early Results

November 26, 2012 10:52 am by Coach O

After the first few weeks of the 2012-13 basketball season a few things are starting to jump out. It seems like the conference is still fairly strong at the top but the bottom third is not showing the strength it had in previous years. Let’s look at some early observations.

Louisville has had the usual early season success but a tough loss to Duke is a blemish on the record. The Cards are going to have to swim through some tough waters with Memphis and Kentucky on the horizon and Gorgui Dieng out indefinitely with a broken wrist. Chris Behanan will have to step up his game to make up for the loss of Dieng who is averaging 8 rebounds per game.

Syracuse still has the jury out as they have beaten up on the usual patsies at home and only have a small test in Arkansas this week.

Notre Dame had a stinging loss to St. Joseph’s early and haven’t been tested since. A meeting with Kentucky this week shoould show us if Cooley, Grant and company are legit.

Cincinnati had a couple nice wins against Iowa St. and Oregon. The big rematch vs. Xavier comes on December 19th.Kilpatrick has been outsanding in the early going.

Georgetown had a great win against UCLA and took #1 Indiana to overtime. Otto Porter is a stud and the Hoyas having been the most tested team early has passed with flying colors.

Pitt is back. After some early easy victories they disposed of a good Lehigh team and went downto the wire with #4 Michigan before losing close. Talib Zanna has been a force both scoring and rebounding. Trey Woodall and Lamar Patterson are solid and J.J. Moore has had some real good outings.

Marquette lsot close to Butler in the only game against good competition. Wins over Mississippi St. and USC were satisfying. Vander Blue and Junior Cadougan form a strong backcourt and Davante Gardner has played well.

USF has been disappointing so far. Losses to UCF and Western Michigan hurt. They are not getting scoring from anyone with only Fitzpatrick in double figures.

UConn is in trouble. No frontcourt prescence and they have been outrebounded by inferior teams constantly. After impressive wins against Michigan St. and Wake they have escaped Quinnipiac in overtime and Stony Brook while losing to New Mexico. Guards are strong but no transition game if they can’t control the boards.

St. John’s lost their only test to Baylor and have won four games against weak opponents. D’Angelo Harrison is playing well and Freshman Jakaar Sampson has been good down low. Only one test left before the conference starts against South Carolina this week.

None of the rest has done anything to raise eyebrows. In fact Villanova has been uncharacteristically woeful losing three straight to Alabama, Columbia, and LaSalle.

In a year when we are seeing the last of Syracuse, Pitt, Notre Dame and possibly either Louisville or UConn the prospects of many Big East teams making a run in the NCAA’s is not bright.

Big East Hoops Preview 2012-2013

November 5, 2012 8:42 am by Coach O

Well it’s time to take a look at the upcoming season in the Big East. With the prospect of Pitt, Syracuse, and Notre Dame leaving after this season and the loss of WVU already, it is going to be a very different season for the conference.

The Pre-season coaches’ poll has Louisville the unanimous choice to win the conference this year. The Cardinals had a great season last year and led by Peyton Siva they look to be formidable. Syracuse will make their last stand before leaving for the ACC this season. Brandon Triche, C.J. Fair, and James Southerland form an impressive nucleus as the Orange begin the season. Notre Dame has Jack Cooley, Jerian Grant and Erik Atkins leading their hopes along with Scott Martin returning once more. Cincinnati had a breakout year but the loss of Yancy Gates will be hard to overcome.

The other big news is the departure of coach Jim Calhoun at UConn. The Huskies season is essentially an exhibition one as they are prohibited from both the Big East tournament and the NCAA tourney as well.

The games are yet to come and the outcomes are yet to be determined but the hard fact is that we will be saying adieu to three of our strongest programs and will be welcoming UCF, Temple, SMU, Houston and Memphis next year.

And so…… Let the games begin!