At the annual Husky Run Wednesday afternoon, Calhoun discussed the problems UConn athletics face heading forward.
2011-2012 Projected Starting Lineup
PG Scoop Jardine, senior
SG Brandon Triche, junior
SF Kris Joseph, senior
PF Rakeem Christmas, freshman
C Baye Moussa Keita, sophomore
Key reserves: C.J. Fair, sophomore; Dion Waiters, sophomore; Fab Melo, sophomore; Michael Carter-Williams, freshman; James Southerland, junior
In 2010 Syracuse had 30 wins. In 2011 the Orange had 27. One thing remains: postseason failure.
Syracuse once again has a quality team to put on the floor, but NCAA Tournament collapses still hangs over its head. In 2010 the Orange lost to darling Butler Bulldogs in the Sweet Sixteen. Last season, Big East rival Marquette pulled off the upset.
The Orange look solid in the backcourt and at the small forward position. Although Jardine can get trigger happy he did average almost six assists per game. Triche will be in his third year in the starting lineup and is a consistent No. 2; he knocked down 33 percent from deep.
Joseph is one of the conference’s best finishers and Fair had a brilliant freshman campaign a season ago.
The frontline could be an issue. Melo, a McDonald’s All-American, had a disappointing freshman season after being picked as the preseason Big East Freshman of the Year. What made things worse was Melo’s off court issues. His girlfriend has accused him of being physically violent.
Moussa Keita has an edge to get the starting job, but he is very limited offensively.
Syracuse will have to rely Christmas to contribute early. Christmas, another Philadelphia recruit for Jim Boeheim, is a tough defender, while being a difficult matchup for his opposition. Carter-Williams is the other highly-touted freshman, who possesses a smooth stroke.
The Orange is moving to the ACC, so Boeheim will like to make the most of his last Big East season.
Syracuse may not be the best team in the Big East, but it will definitely contend for the title. But for Cuse, its focus should be on success in March.
I sort of feel like the former WBC Welterweight Champion Victor Ortiz. He waited 16 years to get the chance to take down Floyd “Money” Mayweather. Saturday night, Ortiz got that chance. But in the fourth round, after losing a point for headbutting, “Vicious” Victor, while not paying attention, took a straight right from Mayweather and hit the canvas for a knockout defeat.
I’m right there with you Victor.
I’ve always loved Big East basketball. I remember the days of Pittsburgh and Connecticut’s battles at Madison Square Garden for the Big East Tournament title. I stayed up for all six overtimes between Syracuse and UConn in 2009.
And just when I get the chance to cover the Big East through this blog (which was created Friday), poof; it’s gone.
Just like Ortiz, I waited all this time to do something, only to get knocked flat on my ass.
Of course I’m talking about the downfall and maybe the end of the Big East Conference as we know it.
Over the weekend, basketball powerhouses Syracuse (a charter member of the Big East) and Pittsburgh both applied and got accepted as the 13th and 14th members of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).
More teams such as UConn and even Rutgers are willing to jump ship and follow the Orange and Panthers to the ACC.
UConn head coach Jim Calhoun has already said he wants the Huskies to play in the best conference in the nation. Well with Syracuse and Pitt added to Duke and North Carolina, the ACC looks to be the nation’s best.
It’s just unfortunate for Big East basketball fans. It’s always been the best conference to watch.
From the days of the rough and tough years of the ‘80s when if you went up for a lay up, they had already pulled a stretcher out on the floor to carry you away. To the recent success of the conference, with a record 11 teams getting bids to the NCAA Tournament.
Big East has all the glitz and glamour. It has the New York market with St. John’s, who is a rising team in the nation. It also has Madison Square Garden, the world’s most famous arena, for is annual conference tournament in March.
But all of that has been brushed to the side in the name of football. Football brings in the most money, thus football is king.
That’s why the superconferences are forming; that’s why the Big East is sinking.
But is Syracuse and Pitt going to get better competition in the ACC when it comes to football?
It doesn’t seem to be a step up. It seems to be a step to the side.
Okay, ACC football is a hair better than the Big East. It has more teams and a conference championship. But outside of Virginia Tech, is there a consistently good team? Remember the U is going to get hammered with violations.
It would have made more sense to switch to the Big 10. Big 10 is less of a stretch geographically along with better football.
But it’s a new day in the world of college sports. Everyone in charge is cursed with greed. Every school goes where the money is, cashing in on the biggest payday.
As we know, the Big East may never be the same. But my gut feeling says the Big East Conference is on its way out along with the Big 12.
Sorry to begin this blog on such gloomy terms. Let’s make it great while it lasts (my blog and the Big East).