Big East Hoops

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The End As We Know It…..

March 12, 2013 8:06 am by Coach O

So this is the way the Big East as we know it ends. A final tournament at MSG with the teams we have come to know and cheer for over these many years. Except….. No UConn! Yes they did not meet the NCAA standards for progress to graduation. But when so many players have left to sign multi-million dollar contracts with NBA teams, isn’t that what a college education is all about? Doesn’t college serve as a highway to becoming successful and getting a good job? Isn’t a career in the NBA a good job? My point here is that as an educator all my life I am strongly commited to education. I agree that if a student-athlete leaves school early a school should be taken to task for not doing its job. But in this case, the UConn players who have left early to start a lucrative NBA career should not be counted against the progress to graduation rule. Granted they did not graduate, but they sure did use the college experience to become a successful adult. So shame on the Big East for not allowing the school with the most National Championships and the most NBA players to be at the final celebration of this once proud conference. UCONN SHOULD BE IN NEW YORK THIS WEEKEND !!!!!

As for the tourney this week…. here’s how I see it…..

ALL BIG EAST TEAM – Otto Porter (Georgetown) Player of the Year, Russ Smith (Louisville), Shabazz Napier (UConn), Gorgui Dieng (Louisville), Jack Cooley (Notre Dame)   …….FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR – Jakaar Sampson (St. John’s)

COACH OF THE YEAR – Ed Cooley (Providence)

NCAA Bids – (7) Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Villanova

TUESDAY GAMES – USF over Seton Hall, Rutgers over DePaul

WEDNESDAY GAMES – Providence over Cincinnati, Syracuse over USF, Villanova over St. John’s, Notre Dame over Rutgers

THURSDAY GAMES – Georgetown over Providence, Pitt over Syracuse, Louisville over Villanova, Marquette over Notre Dame

FRIDAY GAMES – Georgetown over Pitt, Louisville over Marquette


Catholic Basketball Schools Contemplating Leaving

December 13, 2012 2:20 pm by Coach O

Word should be coming in a day or two concerning a decision by the seven non-FBS schools to depart the Big East and form a Catholic basketball only conference. This would be the final blow to a once powerhouse basketball league. If this happens the league should just disband and those schools with football programs (Cincinnati, UConn, USF, UCF, Memphis, Temple, SMU, Hoouston etc.) should either look for a new conference home or start their own tier two conference. More to come on this ever-changing story.

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?



November 25, 2010 10:12 am by Coach O

Having watched the three games in Maui, I have come to a few conclusions…..

1) UConn is once again fun to watch. They play with great intensity and appear to be having a great time on the court. During the past three or so seasons they always looked like they were just going through the motions. Maybe the bad chemistry players are now gone. Walker and Oriakhi totally dominated two top 10 teams.

2) They will lose some they should win this year. That’s just the product of youth. With Walker being a junior and Oriakhi a sophomore, the rest of the cast are all freshmen. If they play as hard as they have so far, there will be games when Kemba won’t be so hot or Oriakhi will be doubled down low. Then it will be up to Smith, Lamb, Giffey and Napier to carry the team. But as we have seen already, they will definitely win some that they were thought to have no chance when the season began.

3) Kemba Walker is a big time player. With the influence of Dyson et al we were robbed of seeing the real Walker last season. And they have allowed Oriakhi to become a dominant big man who has destroyed some pretty good front lines in Hawaii.

4) We are really going to enjoy watching these Husky pups grow up for the next few years!

Early Observations

December 9, 2009 9:48 am by Coach O

After watching quite a few early season games I have some thoughts on Big East teams this season.

Cincinnati – The Bearcats have looked to be much improved this season. Yancy Gates is becoming a polished down low player. Lance Stephenson is probably the best Freshman in the league. Cincy will be a much tougher opponent for the top teams this year. They sit at 5-1 and have a rebound margin of +11 a game.

UConn - The guards are fine but the Huskies have some glaring deficiencies down low. This is a rarity for UConn. They have even been outrebounded by Hofstra at home. Jerome Dyson is playing very well as is Gavin Edwards. In order for the Huskies to be successful they have to rebound and run to make up for having no half court offense.

Georgetown - An impressive win over Butler last night shows that the Hoyas may be one of the top teams in the league. Greg Monroe is dominating down low. Chris Wright is a steadying influence on the outside. A 7-0 start is a good sign for GTown fans.

Marquette - Too much is being thrown on Lazar Hayward. The loss of the three amigos is probably too much to make up for. MU needs something from Acker on the outside to compliment Butler and Hayward inside.

Notre Dame - Luke Harangody is expected to carry this team. He tries to do that but is constantly double teamed and ends up throwing up off balanced forced shots. Tim Abromaitis has been outstanding and Tory Jackson is still driving and creating opportunities. ND still relies way too much on 3 point shooting. This may be a tough year in South Bend.

Pittsburgh - Pitt looks very shaky at this point. They are having trouble scoring points and were outplayed by a young and weak Indiana team last night. The Panthers could only garner 15 points in the first half against New Hampshire! Ashton Gibbs has been steady as has Wanamaker. No big run in the BET this year for Pitt.

Syracuse - The Orange have been really on top of their game so far. A big win against North Carolina at MSG was a major lift for SU. Even though we are used to early season success for the Orange, this year may be different in that they have faced quality foes early.I have been impressed with Wes Johnson, a transfer into the program. Opponents may have to start fouling Onuaku to stay with them in games. Another Triche? The young guys have blended well with veterans and without the Devendorf distractions this may be the year for Syracuse to make a run at the league title.

Villanova - STRONG! The Cats are strong at every position. Of course Scottie Reynolds may lose a few winnable games with trying to do too much, he will also be the reason they win most of their games. Any team that falls behind VU is in real trouble. Only when Nova gets behind does Reynolds throw up some crazy shots. The class of the league.

West Virginia - As long as DaSean Butler and Devin Ebanks stay healthy and on the court the Neers look to be one of the best. WVU is 5-0 and I expect them to roll along and be one of the top teams in the league.

These are the teams I have seen so far. I like Nova, Cuse and WVU to be the top teams in the Big East this year and Pitt and the Irish will struggle.