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.

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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.

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

subasketball/Flickr

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.

Cuse, UConn tie at top of preseason rankings

2011-12 Preseason Coaches’ Poll

4screens/Flickr

1. Connecticut (7) 209
Syracuse (5) 209
3. Louisville (3) 201
4. Pittsburgh (1) 188
5. Cincinnati 169
6. Marquette 155
7. West Virginia 132
8. Villanova 127
9. Notre Dame 114
10. Georgetown 104
11. Rutgers 75

Alan Maglaque/Flickr

12. St. John’s 71
13. Seton Hall 56
14. USF 43
15. Providence 40
16. DePaul 27

courtesy of BigEast.org

Big East News: Tranghese retire; Dave Gavitt honored; Basketball schools unite

Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese retires– SportingNews.com

mrdrebzee/Flickr

Late Big East Commissioner David Gavitt honored BigEast.org

Non-FBS schools should unite ESPN.Go.Com