Top 5 Big East teams through Week 5 — Tuesday Top 5

Photo Courtesy of News House/Flickr

1. Syracuse (8-0) – The Orange remain unbeaten and pick up a non-conference top-10 win over Florida.

2. Louisville (7-0) – Peyton Siva and his Louisville Cardinals look very impressive early, like Cuse, picked up a big win in the Big East/SEC Challenge over No. 19 Vanderbilt.

3. Marquette (7-0) – Have to move the Golden Eagles up in the rankings after winning a road game at the Kohl Center over Wisconsin. It’s rare to win on the road against Bo Ryan’s Badgers and it needs to be recognized.

4. Connecticut (7-1)Ryan Boatright has already started to help this team and now the Huskies can also move up in the rankings next week if they beat newly-ranked Harvard this week.

5. Pittsburgh (7-1) – Still waiting for Jamie Dixon and Ashton Gibbs to really make this team move. After a weird loss to Long Beach State, the Panthers have won five straight. A positive is Pitt doesn’t play a ranked opponent until 2012, which means Pitt should be racking up more and more wins.

Bernie Fine Scandal — Fine’s wife Laurie’s phone conversation with Bobby Davis

Bobby Davis -- David Lassman / The Post-Standard, 2002

The Bernie Fine saga took a huge turn when it surfaced that accuser Bobby Davis had recorded a phone conversation between himself and Fine’s wife, Laurie.

The most shocking part was that Laurie Fine openly admitted to knowing about the sexual abuse. Davis had lived with the Fines from time to time and one night Laurie said she saw Fine molesting Davis through the basement window.

Syracuse.com has a transcript of the 2002 phone call between Laurie Fine and Bobby Davis.

Laurie Fine -- Gary Walts / The Post-Standard

Basically this puts everyone on the hot seat, including Laurie Fine. She openly acknowledges knowing about the husband’s sexual abuse of Davis. What’s even more bizarre is that Davis claimed he had a sexual relationship with Laurie Fine starting at age 18.

But anyways, this tape shows that these guys really might be telling the truth. I was a little skeptical at first. I found it odd that the one person Davis needed to corroborate his story was his stepbrother, Mike Lang. I also wasn’t sold on the third accuser, Zach Tomaselli, who is also facing sexual assault charges, had his estranged father call him a liar.

This tape is a game changer. This could get real ugly fast for Cuse. In a few weeks this could be a full-blown Penn State ordeal. You got to thing Boeheim, after going over the top to defend Fine, is on the hot seat.

This is bad either way.

UConn upset, Cuse wins NIT, Abromaitis out for year – Weekend Review

UConn loses to Central Florida – Huskies blow a 17-point lead and struggles against a 2-3 zone. Need lots of work if they want to top Syracuse. Ryan Boatright played his first game Saturday in a 78-76 overtime win over No. 20 Florida State. The freshman had 14 points and three assists. He adds another ball handler and will help this team in the long run.

Photo Courtesy of Brandon Weight

Syracuse wins NIT – The Orange, in the wake of the Bernie Fine scandal, won the NIT Season Tip-Off in a convincing win against a solid Stanford club. This Cuse team is deeper than usual. Also Fab Melo looks great since dropping over 30 lbs. in the offseason. Right now tops in the Big East.

Louisville sneaks out win over Ohio – Rick Pitino won his 250th game with Louisville in a close one, but I like Louisville right now. They beat Butler without Peyton Siva, who is their key player and would I picked to have a breakout season.

Villanova downed by Saint Louis – This loss isn’t terrible because I believe that Saint Louis is an overlooked team, they’ll compete against Xavier and Temple this year. The Wildcats are young, but Maalik Wayns had a career-high 29 points.

Cincinnati upset by Marshall in OT – I really think the Bearcats could take that next step and be a legitimate Big East contender this year, but after this loss I don’t know. The Thundering Herd could be the second-best team in C-USA, but this is a win Cincy should have had at home.

Pitt takes care of Penn/Robert Morris– Panthers had a little hiccup in that loss to Long Beach State, but I think they’ll make up for it if they can get good wins over Tennessee and Oklahoma State. Also Khem Birch recording 10 boards in his first start against Penn is a positive. The freshman added 11 in a 10-point win against Robert Morris.

Photo Courtesy of Matt Wickham

DePaul moves to 4-1 – The Blue Demons picked up a pair of wins against Texas Tech and Arizona State this weekend. I like this team. Oliver Purnell shows he can rebuild. He’s got two good young pieces in Brandon Young and Cleveland Melvin and from this point on a pretty easy non-conference schedule.

South Florida takes care of FAU – A couple of nice wins against Georgia Southern and Florida Atlantic without Augustus Gilchrist. They need the big man back soon with road games against VCU and No. 14 Kansas coming up.

Notre Dame loses Abromaitis – Senior forward Tim Abromaitis is out for the season with a torn ACL. Abromaitis was averaging 14 points and seven rebounds on the year. Mike Brey is a great coach and will see how good he is in the coming months.

St. John’s loses to Northeastern – It’s a young team and a short rotation. Also not favored by a tough schedule. The Red Storm have losses against No. 16 Arizona and No. 18 Texas A&M. Coming up is a game against soon to be No. 1 Kentucky.

Friars lose first two – It’s going to be a process by I feel Ed Cooley has this team on the right track. This year is just going to be a tough one for Providence. However Vincent Council has a had a good year averaging 18 points and 5 dimes.

Syracuse Assistant Bernie Fine Accused of Child Molestation

The Jerry Sandusky-Penn State scandal may have opened a box that the NCAA didn’t

Photo Courtesy of Bleacher Report

want to hear about. Late Thursday evening, two former Cuse ball boys – Bobby Davis and Mike Lang, now grown adults accused long-time Syracuse assistant Bernie Fine of molesting him.

“I remember being disgusted in a sense,” Davis told ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap. “He would start put his hand on my leg, then gradually put his hand in my pants and try to touch my penis.”

“If I resisted, which I did, he would get more aggressive.”

The story has been out since 2003, but not reported due to no corroboration, until Davis’ 45 year old stepbrother, Lang came out and said he had also been molested after spending a lot of time with Fine.

“Probably 15-20 times,” said Lang, answering how many times Fine had groped him. “I didn’t feel right about it and I told that ‘Bernie please don’t do that to me.

“This matter was fully investigated by the university in 2005 and it was determined that the allegations were unfounded. I have known Bernie Fine for more than 40 years. I have never seen or witnessed anything to suggest that he would been involved in any of the activities alleged. Had I seen or suspected anything, I would have taken action. Bernie has my full support,” said Boeheim.

“This kid came forward and there was no one to corroborate his story. Not one. Not one. … This just is not true,” Boeheim told the Associated Press.

This isn’t good at all, especially with all the fire surrounding Penn State. You hope it doesn’t affect the team or the school, but that’s a secondary issue. The main issue is whether this really happened and whether or not people knew about this.

Fine is a very well respected coach in that area and after JoePa’s legacy went in the garbage, you hope the same won’t happen here.

Not making any decision on how I feel until more information comes out.

Throwback Thursday: The Game

The start of the college basketball season has me ready for marathons of games. And as soon as I put that sentence together in my head, two words stood out: Marathon and Games.

That got me to thinking of “The Game.”

The six overtime Big East Tournament game between the UConn Huskies and the Syracuse Orange.

Here are the highlights. Your welcome!

Tuesday Top 5: Players Ready for a Breakout Season

5. Augustus Gilchrist, senior F – South Florida

Photo courtesy of SUBasketball/Flickr

Last season Gilchrist averaged 13 points and six rebounds a game. He is a long body at 6-foot-10. Gilchrist has battled through injuries in the past, but if he can remain healthy this guy is primed for a big season.

Once again he’ll be the focal point of the offense. He has a lot to offer on the offensive end, as he is one of the few big men with a solid mid-range jumper, which expands the defense.

4. Cleveland Melivn, sophomore F – DePaul

Photo courtesy of SUBasketball/Flickr

Melvin surprised a lot of people when he averaged 14 points per game on his way to Big East Rookie of the Year honors. Barring a sophomore slump, Melvin should have an even better season. He will be the leader of a young, but talented DePaul team.

After a year of Big East basketball under his belt, expect big things from this sophomore forward. At 6-foot-8 and 210-pounds, Melvin is tough matchup due to his size and mobility.

3. Yancy Gates, senior F – Cincinnati

Photo courtesy of Pat Strang/Flickr

The senior forward, Gates averaged 12 and seven last season for an improving Bearcats team.

Gates is a handful on offense, he can step away from the basket and shoot, although his shooting needs to improve. He can also punish defenders in the paint.

Gates may not have eye-popping numbers this year, but he could be a name you hear often, as he will be the headlining attraction to an up-and-coming Cincy team.

2. Peyton Siva, junior G – Louisville

The Louisville Cardinals point guard returns after an improved sophomore campaign. Siva averaged just under 10 points a game, dished out five assists, and recorded three rebounds a game even though he is listed at 5-foot-11.

Siva is ready for a breakout season because he crafty and strong point guard. Siva penetrates as well as any guard in the conference and is a tough defender (two steals per game 2010-2011).

He improved a lot from his freshman to sophomore year, let’s see if he can improve from sophomore year to junior year.

1. Maalik Wayns, junior G – Villanova

Villanova has a recent history with short point guards. Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher both had successful careers for head coach Jay Wright. This year, Wayns should take the reigns in the Wildcat backcourt.

Wayns averaged just under 14 points per game last season to go along with four assists. But since January, Wayns really took off. In Villanova’s last 19 games, the 6-foot-2 point guard scoring in double figures 14 times.

Wayns is lightning quick and can get to the rim, but like Siva needs to improve on his shooting.

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.

Photo courtesy of mrdrebzee/Flickr

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

Photo courtesy of SUBasketball/Flickr

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.

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

Photo courtesy of SUBasketball/Flickr

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.