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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Notre Dame Season Preview

2011-2012 Projected Starting Lineup 

Mutineer Magazine/Flickr

PG Eric Atkins, sophomore 
SG Joey Brooks, junior
SF Scott Martin, senior
PF Tim Abromaitis, senior
C Jack Cooley, junior

Key reserves: Jerian Grant, sophomore; Alex Dragicevich, sophomore, Mike Broghammer, junior; Pat Connaughton, freshman

It seems that every season Notre Dame doesn’t seem to have the talent to compete in the Big East, but every season head coach Mike Brey puts a team out on the floor filled with experienced and well-rounded players.

Brey never relies on big recruiting classes, but rather transfers and players that will develop over four years.

4screens/Flickr

The Fighting Irish still have senior forward Tim Abromaitis, who is returning after testing the NBA Draft. He is one of the top knockdown shooters in the Big East and will do the same this season.

The other starter is Scott Martin, who averaged 9.7 points and 4.8 rebounds a game as a junior in 2010-2011. Eric Atkins averaged 25 minutes a game and will be moved into the starting lineup this winter

Outside of those three, Notre Dame is inexperienced. Joey Brooks, Jack Cooley, and incoming freshman Pat Connaughton will need to step in and contribute right away.

This isn’t the same Notre Dame that won 14 Big East games a season ago, but if one team can exceed expectations its Mike Brey’s bunch.