Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Midseason NNBEPP

I haven't been able to post for the past few days, so let's make up for lost time with a mid-season Nova News Big East Power Poll. I am overdue for one, anyway. Scroll down to Providence and UConn for specific thoughts on Nova's recent games against those teams. And DePaul fans scroll at your own risk... you might break your mouse trying to get down to my thoughts on the Blue Demons.

1. Villanova (22-3, 11-2)
Sure, I'm biased, but I think Villanova deserves the top spot. Mainly because...

2. Syracuse (24-2, 11-2)
I'm not completely sold on the Orange. For some reason I can't get the words Moyne and Le out of my mind. Nevertheless, the February 27 showdown at the Carrier Dome should be awesome with a capital Dickie V.

3. West Virginia (19-5, 8-4)

I'm surprised Deniz Kilicli has the time to juggle playing college basketball while promoting his new movie The Wolfman.

4. Georgetown (18-6, 8-5)
I was feeling pretty good about Nova's loss to the Hoyas, until they lost to the mess that is Rutgers basketball.

5. Pittsburgh (19-6, 8-4)
I'm not sure why, but the Panthers have all the looks of a team that will get upset in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in a 5/12 or 6/11 game.

6. Louisville (16-9, 7-5)
After watching last week's episode of "Inside Villanova Basketball with Jay Wright" (There's not much better than Jay Wright up close in HD), I stuck around after to catch some of Jim Boeheim's show, and he said something to the effect of, "Louisville will be one of the best teams in the conference when the season's over". I know what you're up to Boeheim. Talk up the competition so that when you lose to them at home, it doesn't look as bad.

7. Connecticut (15-11, 5-8)

I had to bump up UConn a few spots after Monday night's upset. They are much better than their record would indicate. I can't believe this team has lost so many games, perhaps it was due to Calhoun's absence. The Huskies have two of the best guards in the country in Jerome Dyson and Kemba Walker, and they have a deep front court full of long athletic players. Plus they have a balanced combination of youth and experience. They don't even have any horrible losses. They've really just been victims of a brutal schedule, which happens when you play in the best conference in the country. Couple the win over Villanova with their win over Texas, and UConn has beaten two of the best teams in the country. I'd be shocked if UConn doesn't make a late season run and make a case for an NCAA Tourney bid. Meanwhile, Boeheim just called me a hypocrite.

UConn is a good team, but it didn't help that the Huskies saved their best game of the season for the Cats. Nova had difficulty with UConn's size, getting killed in the paint (out-rebounded 36-26 and a 44-20 free throw differential). Pena, Sutton, and Stokes all fouled out. Nova especially needed Pena to combat UConn's size, but although he scored 10 points, he grabbed just 3 rebounds in 18 minutes. Mouphtaou Yarou got some extra playing time against UConn's front court, and he showed some flashes of his sky-high upside. Mouph had 6 points, 5 boards, and 3 blocks in just 13 minutes. Extended that over a full game, and Yarou could become a double-double and shot-blocking machine in the future. While Yarou is taking steps forward in his development, Taylor King has taken a giant step back. King has gone ice cold shooting 1-16 over the last 3 games. Though, to his credit, he has grabbed 16 rebounds over that time as well. Scottie Reynolds had a rare game where he played better in the first half (14 points) than the second (4 points).

Kemba Walker showed just how good he can be with a career-high 29 points. Walker got to the line 16 times and his back court mate Jerome Dyson got there 14 times. It's hard to believe that a team with those two guards playing together has lost so many games. Both are capable of putting up a triple-double any given night... the good kind of triple-double, not the kind Stanley Robinson nearly had Monday night (10 points, 7 rebounds, 7 turnovers). Finally, Isaiah Armwood made Dante Cunningham proud with the Villanova dunk of the year so far, not counting Armwood's dunk over Jay Wright at Hoops Mania.

8. Marquette (16-8, 7-5)
The Golden Eagles will likely end the season with the honor of being the only Big East team to lose to DePaul.

9. Cincinnati (15-10, 6-7)
I'm eager to see Lance Stephenson in action, but why do I get the feeling he will have his best game of the season against us.

10. Notre Dame (17-9, 6-7)
Dear Big East coaches,
Please do not vote Luke Harangody Big East Player of the Year. That is all.
Thank you.

11. Seton Hall (14-9, 5-7)
Naturally, one game after scoring 32 points on Nova, Jeremy Hazell scores just 2 points at Pitt.

12. South Florida (16-9, 6-7)
Villanova will have their hands full trying to contain Dominique Jones. His 46 points against Providence are the third most in a NCAA game this season. Arkansas' Rotnei Clarke is number one with 51 points against Alcorn State.

13. Providence (12-13, 4-9)

Once again, Scottie Reynolds steps it up in the second half to lead his team to victory. Corey Fisher also had 22 points, and in Reynolds' shadow, Fisher is quietly putting together an incredible season. Nova fans know how good he is, but I think Fisher Price is underrated nationally. Speaking of underrated, Antonio Pena had 15 and 12 for his sixth double-double of the season. The future looks bright for Friars freshman Vincent Council who had 21 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds.

14. St. John's (14-10, 4-8)

Anthony Mason Jr. needs to start shaving words and designs into his hair like his father used to. I guarantee it will improve his play.

15. Rutgers (14-12, 4-9)
I still don't understand how Rutgers beat Georgetown with Mike Rosario shooting 3-16. Maybe their win over Division II powerhouse Caldwell College in their previous game gave them the preparation and confidence they needed.

16. DePaul (8-17, 1-12)
You know things are bad when you start offering scholarships to 12 year olds.

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