Providence Season Preview

2011-2012 Projected Starting Lineup

G Vincent Council, junior
G Bryce Cotton, sophomore
G Brice Kofane, sophomore
F LaDontae Henton, freshman
F Bilal Dixon, junior

Key reserves: Gerard Coleman, sophomore; Kadeem Batts, sophomore; Lee Goldsbrough, sophomore; Kiwi Gardner, freshman

Good news/bad news.

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Bad news first. Marshon Brooks is gone. He averaged 24.6 PPG his senior year for the Friars and the Friars must make up for his offensive production.

More bad news. Even with Brooks scoring, the Friars only went 4-14 in conference, on the way to a 15-17 overall record.

Good news.

Ed Cooley is the new head coach, after turning Fairfield into a solid program. Cooley has already begun the turnaround signing guards Kris Dunn and Ricardo Ledo for next season. Cooley has also put Providence in the run for 6-foot-10 shot blocker, Nerlens Noel. Noel is one of the top prospects in the class of 2013.

More good news. Providence returns four starters from last year, but no one is safe with

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that spot with Cooley putting in a new system. Either way many players returning with experience is a plus.

Look for point guard Vincent Council to lead the charge. The junior averaged almost six assists a game in 2011-2012.

Overall Providence is going to be bad, real bad, this season. But on the bright side the Friars are in a better position than most people with the personnel they have and will have coming in.

Look for Providence to be at the bottom of the rankings this season. But in 2012-2014 could be the years Providence returns to Big East royalty.

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South Florida Season Preview

2011-2012 Projected Starting Lineup

G Jawanza Poland, junior
G Shaun Noriega, junior
G Hugh Robertson, senior
F Ron Anderson Jr., senior
F Augustus Gilchrist, senior

Key reserves: Toaryln Fitzpatrick, junior; Anthony Collins, freshman

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Outside of Augustus Gilchrist, one of the most underrated players in the conference, the South Florida Bulls don’t really have a lot going for them this season. Gilchrist has great size at 6-foot-10, but he needs to be more of a presence inside.

Anthony Crater, the team’s starting point guard from a season ago, has already been dismissed from the team. Crater averaged almost five assists a game. His absence, means Jawanza Poland averages the most assists out of any returner with two per game.

The departure of Crater, means higher expectations for freshman point guard Anthony Collins.

The Bulls finished last season 10-23 overall and only three wins in the Big East. All three Big East wins came at home.

This season doesn’t look easier for South Florida. The Big East is tough, as usual, but out of conference isn’t favorable either.

The Bulls have matchups with Old Dominion, VCU, and a date with No. 13 Kansas, Dec. 3 in Lawrence.

South Florida is taking a step back this season.

Seton Hall Season Preview

2011-2012 Projected Starting Lineup

PG Jordan Theodore, senior
SG Freddie Wilson, freshman
SF Fuquan Edwin, sophomore
PF Herb Pope, senior
C Kevin Johnson, freshman

Key reserves: Patrik Auda, sophomore; Brandon Mobley, freshman

The 2011-2012 season will be a tough one for head coach Kevin Willard and

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his Seton Hall Pirates.

Seton Hall returns three starters from last year, but are missing its top two scorers from a season ago, Jeremy Hazell and Jeff Robinson, who combined for 31 points per game. Outside of Jordan Theodore, no returner recorded double-digits last season.

However, the Pirates return Herb Pope, one of the best rebounders in the Big East. He’s consistent on the defensive end, but he’ll need to improve on his 42 percent field goal shooting from his junior season.

Seton Hall has been a stuck in the middle of the Big East for a long time now. They are always in the middle of the pact, away from the bottom feeders, but always providing an upset or two against the powerhouses.

I think Seton Hall is taking a step back this season, but Willard signed six freshman to build on.

DePaul Season Preview

2011-2012 Projected Starting Lineup

PG Brandon Young, sophomore
SG Jeremiah Kelly, senior
SF Tony Freeland, junior
PF Cleveland Melvin, sophomore
C Kyrs Faber, senior

Key reserves: Charles McKinney, freshman; Moses Morgan, sophomore

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Things have not been good for DePaul. Seven wins, one in the Big East, isn’t going to cut it.

But some young players did show some promising things in 2010-2011. Cleveland Melvin, with 14.3 points per game, as a freshman took home Big East Rookie of the Year honors. Along with the 6-foot-8 Melvin is fellow sophomore, Brandon Young (12.6 PPG, 3.7 APG).

Oliver Purnell, who came over from Clemson, adds a coach who has made trips to the NCAA Tournament before, but this team doesn’t look like postseason play is in its future this season.

DePaul has good cornerstones, like Melvin and Young, but they will need to have enormous contributions if DePaul is ready for a postseason birth, besides the Big East Tournament.

However, this is a talented team, Melvin could be the most underrated player

DaveTWphotog/Flickr

in the conference. But still, one win in conference is a lot to overcome from a season ago. This team is good enough to win several games in conference, but not much more.

DePaul still has ways to go before they win 20 games again like in 2007.

Rutgers Season Preview

2011-2012 Projected Starting Lineup   

Anaslaya/Flickr

G Myles Mack, freshman
G Mike Poole, sophomore
G Dane Miller, junior
F Gilvydas Biruta, sophomore
F Kadeem Jack, freshman

Key reserves: Austin Carroll, sophomore; Austin Johnson, junior; Eli Carter, freshman; Jerome Seagears, freshman

Rutgers finished the 2010-2011 season with a 5-13 record in the Big East. But the tide seems to be turning for the Scarlet Knights.

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Second-year head coach Mike Rice has a good incoming class, headlined by forward Kadeem Jack and Myles Mack.

Rice also turned the defense around. Rutgers only allowed 40 percent shooting from the field last season. If the Scarlet Knights defense can be that tough, Rutgers could jump in the standings.

The question mark for Rutgers is scoring. The leading scorer is Gilvydas Biruta and he only averaged 9.6 points per game.

Also experience can be a factor. With only two seniors on the roster (played combined nine games in 2010-2011) Rutgers will maybe look at this as a positive rebuilding season.

Maybe not this year, but Rutgers is on the way up.

St. John’s Season Preview

2011-2012 Projected Starting Lineup 

Matt Wickham/Flickr

PG Nurideen Lindsey, sophomore
SG D’Angelo Harrison, freshman
SF Maurice Harkless, freshman
PF Sir’Dominic Pointer, freshman
C God’sgift Achiuwa, junior

Key reserves: Phil Greene, freshman; Amir Garrett (ineligible for fall semester), freshman; Norvel Pelle (ineligible for fall semester)

In only his second-year at the helm of St. John’s, head coach Steve Lavin earned the top recruiting class in 2011.

Unfortunately before practice even began he lost three of them.

Amir Garrett and Norvel Pelle both were ruled academically ineligible back in September.

Also Jakarr Sampsona, 6-foot-7 forward, decomitted from the program.

This leaves the Red Storm with a small, inexperienced, and young team to begin the season.

Pelle was projected as the starting center, but with him out junior college transfer God’sgift Achiuwa will have to move to center, which moves Sir’Dominic Pointer up to power forward.

Two of Lavin’s freshman, Maurice Harkless and D’Angelo Harrison crack the starting lineup with guard Phil Greene coming off the bench.

Matt Wickham/Flickr

Lavin has done a solid job, leading the Red Storm to a 21- win season and a birth in the NCAA Tournament. The Red Storm are back to a respectable program, but Lavin nearly lost the entire team.

St. John’s is young, but talented. It will be tough for them to handle losing Garrett and Norvel, but if they are both eligible and can contribute after January, this could be a dangerous team in the second half of the season.

If the Johnnies aren’t contenders this season, they will soon.