Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Around the Big East

1. Syracuse (10-0)
The Orange have made everyone forget about the preseason loss to LeMoyne with wins over Cal, North Carolina, and Florida. The junior transfer from Iowa State, Wesley Johnson, has been fantastic, averaging 16.5 points, 7.7 rebounds, and shooting 54% from three. They also got a commitment from the #2 center prospect for 2010, Febricio Melo. With a last name like that, I doubt Boeheim had to do much recruiting.

2. West Virginia (7-0)
They haven't played anybody yet, but their defense looks scary-good. They held Duquesne to 39 points. Devin Ebanks has missed four games due to unknown personal reasons. Nova-killer Da'Sean Butler is off to a nice start, averaging nearly 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists per game.

3. Villanova (9-1)
All aboard the Redding Railroad! Reggie will return from suspension on Saturday at Fordham. His senior leadership and defense might be exactly what this team is lacking.

4. Georgetown (8-0)
Speaking of scary-good defenses, opponents are only averaging 56.2 points against the Hoyas. G'Town fans should be thankful Greg Monroe (15.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3 assists) didn't bolt for the NBA last year.

5. UConn (6-2)
Their only losses are to Duke and Kentucky. They have one of the best backcourt duos in the nation with Jerome Dyson and Kemba Walker, both of whom are averaging over 5 assists per game.

6. Cincinnati (6-2)
Both of their losses came in overtime to good teams (Gonzaga and Xavier). Lance Stephenson has skillzzz...

7. Pitt (8-2)
Their only two losses are to Texas and Indiana. There's a lot of new faces on this Panthers team, but they look better than I expected.

8. Seton Hall (8-0)
Seton Hall is undefeated? And second in the country in scoring at 90.8 per game? What the what? A game against Virginia Military (134-107) will skew the numbers, but still. By the way, Jamel Jackson dropped 40 in that game... the game before? One point! Shiver me timbers, what is up with the Pirates this year?

9. Louisville (5-3)
The Cardinals have lost two in a row, but at least the latest was against Carolina. Wait, that was Western Carolina?! Well then, things aren't looking too good for Pitino's squad. He can't seem to settle on a rotation; 11 players are averaging over 11 minutes per game.

10. St. John's (8-1)
The Johnnies are off to a nice start; their lone loss came at Duke. Plus, they accomplished what Villanova could not: win at Temple and hold Juan Fernandez to 5 points.

11. Notre Dame (9-2)
I wish I could say something about the Fighting Irish basketball team, but every time I Google search Notre Dame all I get back are updates on the football coach carousel.

12. Marquette (7-3)
I enjoyed this:

13. South Florida (7-2)
They're giving Ole Miss a run for their money for most exotic names: Augustus "Caesar" Gilchrist, Jarrid "Almost" Famous, Toarlyn "Reggie Cleveland All-Star" Fitzpatrick, Shaun "Manuel" Noriega.

14. Rutgers (7-2)
Could the Scarlet Knights' days in the Big East be numbered?

15. Providence (7-4)
The Friars lead all of college basketball with an average of 45.8 rebounds per game. Take that stat with a grain of salt because it also means they're missing a ton of shots.

16. DePaul (6-3)
I guess the Blue Demon faithful is not thrilled with Jerry Wainwright's .436 winning percentage over his five seasons at DePaul... When you look at Isiah Thomas as a coaching upgrade, you know your program's in bad shape. My favorite "Wainwright'ism": "He plays with great enthusiasm, and what a physical specimen! If I looked like that, I'd spend all day walking around in a Speedo."

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