Northwestern Wins: A College Hoops Blog

An ode to Verne Lundquist’s calls and everything college basketball

Big East Preview Roundup

Posted by Zach on November 3, 2008

Here are all of my previews: 1. Connecticut, 2. Louisville, 3. Notre Dame, 4. Pittsburgh, 5. Marquette, 6. Georgetown, 7. Syracuse, 8. Villanova, 9. West Virginia and 10. Providence, 11. Cincinnati and 12. DePaul, #13-16

First Team
G- A.J. Price, Connecticut
G- Scottie Reynolds, Villanova
F- Sam Young, Pittsburgh
F- Luke Harangody, Notre Dame
C- Hasheem Thabeet, Connecticut

Second Team
G- Jonny Flynn, Syracuse
G- Jerel McNeal, Marquette
F- Terrence Williams, Louisville
F- Jeff Adrien, Connecticut
F- Earl Clark, Louisville

Third Team
G- Kyle McAlarney, Notre Dame
G- Deonta Vaughn, Cincinnati
G- Austin Freeman, Georgetown
F- Lazar Hayward, Marquette
C- DeJuan Blair, Pittsburgh

Player of the Year:
1) Luke Harangody, Notre Dame
2) A.J. Price, Connecticut
3) Sam Young, Pittsburgh

Defensive Player of the Year
: Hasheem Thabeet, Connecticut
Breakthrough Player: Austin Freeman, Georgetown
Freshman of the Year: Samardo Samuels, Louisville
Coach of the Year: Jim Calhoun, Connecticut
Dark Horse Player: Dar Tucker, DePaul
Dark Horse Team: Georgetown
NCAA Teams: 10
NIT Teams: 2
CBI Teams: 1

Top Five Games

1) Connecticut at Louisville (February 2)
2) Notre Dame at Pittsburgh (January 31)
3) Connecticut at Notre Dame (January 24)
4) Louisville at Notre Dame (February 12)
5) Louisville at Georgetown (February 23)

Big 12 preview up Wednesday and Bracketology on Thursday, while Tommy should have his ACC preview done by next Monday. Not sure if Pat feels like contributing to the site at any point with his Pac-10 preview.

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27 Responses to “Big East Preview Roundup”

  1. Brian said

    Great job Zach. My picks:

    1. UConn
    2. Louisville
    3. Pitt
    4. ND
    5. Cuse
    6. Nova
    7. Marquette
    8. Gtown
    9. WVU
    10. Prov
    11. Cincy
    12. Rutgers
    13. S. Hall
    14. DePaul
    15. St. John’s
    16. USF

    Watch out for Tory Jackson of ND and Brian McKenzie of Providence, I could see them having big time breakout years.

    I think West Virginia is sleeper team.

  2. Patrick said

    WHAT?

    Marquette at 7?

    That’s pretty ridiculous they are one of the most experienced teams in the Big East and they have one of the best home crowds. Syracuse over Marquette is a joke and so is Nova.

  3. Brian said

    Marquette has no inside presence, unless you think Dwight Burke is going to all of a sudden become a great player. That will hurt them in conference games. Guards are great, but that’s all they have right now to go along with Hayward. First year coach too.

    Keep in mind 7th in the Big East this year is equivalent to top 3 in most other leagues.

  4. Brian said

    With regards to the home crowd, I will see you Marquette and raise you Notre Dame, UConn, Syracuse, Louisville, Pittsburgh, and maybe even West Virginia.

  5. Zach said

    Home crowds? That’s your argument? I agree with Brian.

  6. Tommy said

    10 teams from one conference, wouldn’t that be something. I’d have to go with 9 from the Big Beast but who knows?

  7. Patrick said

    What I am saying is that Marquette has been a consistent performer in the Big East, and they bring back all the key players on their team. They had no inside presence against Stanford and almost won that game, their guards are better than any backcourt in the Big East as a collective group. They may not have the star players but they hustle and play defense. Plus look at their home schedule, they will be a favorite in almost all of those games except maybe UConn.

  8. Zach said

    All good points, but their road schedule is another story, especially late in the year. It’s just real difficult to finish in the top 4 of this conference with absolutely no inside presence. Hayward is barely a 4 and their guards are anything but consistent. It’s not like they shut down the Lopez twins in that tournament game. I can’t see them finishing above Pitt or ND.

  9. Brian said

    Patrick you’re right. I have Marquette winning every home game except the UConn game. The problem, as Zach pointed out, is their road schedule. It is brutal and I see them winning only 3 road games (Rutgers, DePaul, USF).

  10. Patrick said

    I just think people put a lot of weight on big men,and while they are important I think most games come down to how your guards play. Marquette has that advantage over other teams. Games that start to become fast paced are the games that Marquette will most likely win. Also not that many big men can play all 40 minutes or even 30 minutes. Marquette’s big three- James,McNeal, and Matthews can all do that.

    Yeah their road schedule is ridiculous, and Marquette isn’t a great road team. Hopefully,for them, a new coach and good senior leadership will change that.

  11. Brian said

    If games came down to how guards play, Marquette, Syracuse, Villanova, Seton Hall, and Providence would among the very best Big East teams because they all have good backcourts. That’s obviously not the case.

    UConn has Adrien and Thabeet, Louisville has Samuels and Clark, Pittsburgh has Blair and Young, and Notre Dame has Harangody. That’s why those teams are where they are in this league.

    Guard play does play a big role in college basketball, but the Big East has always been a league of hard nosed defense and big men. It’s no different this season.

  12. Brian said

    Don’t get me wrong because UConn, Louisville, Pitt, and ND also have great guard play, but the frontcourt is what sets them apart from the rest of the league.

  13. Jimbob said

    Syracuse and UCONN are way overrated this year. There is no way either make any noise this season. UCONN will make the tourny and be one and done again. Cuse is NIT bound AGAIN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I think Louisville dominates this season, as they should.

  14. CATS said

    Gates 6-9″, Riek 7-2″, McClain 7′, Williams 6-8″, Toylor 6-8″

  15. sammy said

    syracuse overrated? how exactly?

    didn’t lose a single player from last season, and gain our TWO BEST three point shooters (rautins, devendorf) back from injury. don’t see how we are overrated since we aren’t even in the preseason top 25 at espn.

  16. Patrick said

    Didn’t lose a single player from last season?

    Donte Greene!?!?!?!?!?!? Probably the best overall player on your roster last season.

    But I do agree, Syracuse is not overrated.

  17. “syracuse overrated? how exactly? didn’t lose a single player from last season, ”

    when did Donte Greene regain his eligibility> 😉

    As for the Marquette comments above……..holding the Warriors down in the pre-season picks because of a lack of bigs is cliche. It has been that way for six years at MU, yet the Warriors consistently rebound at/or better than the league average and have been one of the better defensive teams since joining the BIG EAST. Heck, MU was a better defensive rebounding team than UConn, Cuse, Louisville and ND last season (and was in the top 25% of scoring defense and top third in scoring offense). The system has limitations, but it works with the talent on campus right now.

    Regardless, the bigs guys MU lost from last year collectively awful, and Buzz Williams did add some athletic if not talented folks to the mix this season.

  18. Kevin said

    Why the surprise over Syracuse over Marquette? Didn’t Syracuse beat Marquette by 15 last year? Syracuse gets Devendorf and Rautins back, so they won’t miss Donte Greene’s 3-point shooting at all. They have one of the best point guards in the country (Flynn) one of the best centers in the Big East (Onuaku), one of the best shooting guards in the Big East (Devendorf), and the best combo guard/forward in the Big East (Paul Harris).

  19. Patrick said

    Syracuse for some reason matches up great against Marquette, but as for all the other Big East teams (and some A-10 teams) they don’t. ‘Cuse is also a very inconsistent team, at least last season, they would beat Marquette by 15 and somehow miss the tournament.

  20. Kevin said

    Actually Cuse matches up with Georgetown well also. They did win 9 games in the BE last year, so it appears your statement is not really accurate. They lost buzzer beaters to UConn, GTown, and Pitt, so they were not far off from 12-6. They were young (started two freshmen, two sophomores and a JUCO junior) and injured last year (two starters out for the year), hence the inconsistency. They now start 3 former McDonald’s AA’s (17.0, 15.7 and 14.5 ppg last year), a junior beast at Center (12.7 ppg and 8.1 rbg) and a senior at Forward. No freshmen starting or seeing many minutes this year, so you’ll see a much better, more consistent team.

  21. Patrick said

    Let me ask you, do the chants at Cuse go:

    “De-fense??? (clap?clap?)

    De-…..oh never mind they scored.”

    Learn how to play some D!

    That has been the problem at Syracuse the past couple of seasons, you guys can score but you give up easy baskets left and right.

    I did say “Syracuse is not Overrated”. They are a good team that needs consistency and the ability to play defense. I mean come on letting UMass score 107 on you AT HOME, is awful. I know UMass was an above average team, but “good” teams don’t give up 107 points.

  22. Kevin said

    you seem to have missed my point. Did you miss the part where I wrote “they were young and injured”? They started 3 true freshman and 2 sophomores at times. They were down to 7 scholarship players when Jardine got hurt.

    Also, Syracuse was 2nd in the BE in blocked shots (as usual) and held Big East opponents to 32% shooting 3-point shooting (4th in the BE), and 42% overall shooting (4th in the BE), so the D wasn’t that bad, obviously.

    Learn how to play some D? Funny, that’s exactly how they won the National Championship in 2003.

  23. Kevin said

    Also, why no consideration for Arinze Onuaku at Center on any of the first 3 teams? His numbers are better than Thabeet’s and Blair’s.

  24. Zach said

    Who says I didn’t consider him.

    Thabeet does more defensively than any player in the nation, and Blair could really emerge this season as a sophomore, so that’s more of a potential pick than anything. I like Onuaku, though, and Cuse as a whole. Shows the strength of the conference. Concerns lie with defense and consistency, as Pat pointed out. We’ll see what they can do in KC.

  25. Kevin said

    Obviously, you did not consider Onuaku, since you have 3 forwards and no centers on the second team. I agree that Thabeet changes the game on defense like nobody else. Onuaku did not play the year before last due to injury, and played sparing as a freshman. Last year was hist first year starting and he’s only a junior. Look for him to have an outstanding year.

    Seeing as how the freshmen and sophmores are now sophomores and juniors, inconsistency should not be an issue. And as the stats show,
    Syracuse plays defense. They play up-tempo, so teams score a lot of point against them. Wins are what matters and SU will get more this year.

  26. Aaron said

    This is a sorry attemtpt at at Preview. Devin Ebanks will undoubetdly be the Freshman of the Year in the Big East. He may even lead WVU in scoring…maybe. Switch WVU and Pitt and slide ND back a little.

  27. Zach said

    You’re a sorry attempt at a commenter. Devin Ebanks will lead West Virginia in scoring. That says more about West Virginia than Devin Ebanks. Ebanks is a solid player and West Virginia is an above-average team, but over Pitt and ND is a total joke.

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