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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
2011-12 Preseason Coaches’ Poll
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
12. St. John’s 71
13. Seton Hall 56
14. USF 43
15. Providence 40
16. DePaul 27
courtesy of BigEast.org
*Did not include Madison Square Garden because it is not St. John’s official home and every team plays there each year.
KFC Yum! Center, Louisville
Awesome new building that opened last year for Louisville. Of course nothing could fully replace Freedom Hall, but this is a nice substitute.
Bradley Center, Marquette
Been a great home for the Golden Eagles. Fans are more excited there than the Bucks fans are.
Harry A. Gampel Paviilion, Connecticut
Not a bad seat in the house. Also never a bad game either, both UConn men and women play there.
Petersen Events Center, Pittsburgh
The Zoo makes this arena, one of the most underrated fans sections in college sports. I love watching games when Pitt plays at home.
Carrier Dome, Syracuse
Playing in front of a maximum crowd of 34,616 people is enough for anyone to want to play there.
Honorable mention: Dunkin Donuts Center, Providence; WVU Coliseum, West Virginai; Edmond P. Joyce Center, Notre Dame; Verizon Center, Georgetown; Carnesecca Arena, St. John’s
5. Cashmere Wright, Jr. Cincinnati
When you have the name “cash” in your name, you better be able to shoot. Cashmere Wright drills 35 percent of his three’s, but only 41 percent overall. Sorry man, that’s only good for fifth place.
4. Kiwi Gardner, Fr., Providence
Kiwi Gardner has some serious handles. I needed to get him into this blog somehow. It’s just that Providence sucks. But this kid is fun to watch with a name to match. Sad this is, his little brother, probably has more handles and a better name: Peewee.
3. Jawanza Poland, Jr., South Florida
Warsaw is the capital of Poland, but in the winter the coolest Poland by far is Jawanza. After seeing this dunk, Poland should legally change the name of Warsaw to Jawanza. Also Jawanza, when I first saw it, reminded me of the movie Juwanna Mann. Also I am watching season six of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm with Vivica A. Fox, who plays Mann’s teammate and love interest. Weird movie.
2. Sir’Dominic Pointer, Fr., St. John’s
I love the apostrophe. Even more I love the title “Sir” in the name. Even if someone doesn’t like him, automatically they show respect for him by calling him by his name. Pure genius. If the prefix “Sir” doesn’t change on in names by 2020, I’ve lost faith in humanity. Sir’Dominic Pointer, would hands down be the No. 1 choice.
1. God’sgift Achiuwa, Jr., St. John’s
God’sgift Achiuwa is by far the best name in the Big East this season. The junior college transfer joins the Red Storm this year. Can you imagine Steve Lavin discussing this year’s recruiting class?
“How’s your recruiting class looking this year, coach?”
“Looks great, I got God’sgift.”
The only thing is there isn’t any good videos of him on YouTube. Shame on you, YouTube, shame on you.
Honorable mention: Shabazz Napier, Soph., UConn; Baye Moussa Keita, Soph., Syracuse; Jared Swoopshire, Jr., Louisville; Vander Blue, Soph., Marquette; Jabarie Hinds, Fr., West Virginia