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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Louisville Season Preview

2011-2012 Projected Starting Lineup

albcaesars/Flickr

G Peyton Siva
G Chris Smith
G Kyle Kuric
F Jared Swoopshire
F Rakeem Buckles

Key reserves: Stephan Van Treese, junior; Chane Behanan, freshman; Wayne Blackshear, freshman; Mike Marra, junior

Louisville battled through injuries last season and looked good going into the NCAA Tournament, but after a shocking loss to Kenneth Faried and Morehead State had me scratching my head.

Bailey Richards/Flickr

But Louisville comes back looking strong in 2011-2012. Peyton Siva showed that he can be a dynamic point guard in the Big East and I believe he will have a breakout season.

Jared Swoopshire should be coming back after a missing all of last season with an injury.

Louisville also has a great core of guards: Siva, Chris Smith, and Kyle Kuric. The backcourt is the strength with an undersized frontcourt.

Even if Cardinals have a so-so year, it’s okay because Rick Pitino has set the foundation for the future. Louisville had the 8th incoming freshman class according to ESPN. Forwards Chane Behanan and Wayne Blackshear look to make immediate impact this season.

The only concern I have with the Cardinals is Pitino. Never been a fan of Pitino, especially

Bailey Richards/Flickr

when he ran the Boston Celtics into the ground. But to me it appears Pitino is just waiting to make that jump to the studio. Even after a stunning first round exit last season, Pitino had no problem providing analysis throughout the rest of the tournament. Is Pitino more focused his team or his future career?

ESPN, CBS Rick Pitino is walking through that door.