Top 5 Big East teams through Week 4 — Tuesday Top 5

1. Syracuse (7-0)

Photo Courtesy of SU Basketball/Flickr

The Orange look good to start off the year with a NIT Season Tip-Off Championship and solid wins over Virginia Tech and Stanford, but the real test comes Friday, Dec. 2 vs. Florida. Syracuse has the deepest team I’ve seen in a while with 10 guys that can contribute. I like the slimmer versions of Dion Waiters and Fab Melo to go along with a great core that includes Kris Joseph, Scoop Jardine, and Brandon Triche.

2. Louisville (7-0)
Louisville remains unbeaten and got a nice victory over Butler without starting point guard Peyton Siva. With Siva running the show I think the Cardinals could be an explosive team. For that to be true Louisville also needs to stay healthy, especially the strong backcourt of Siva, Chris Smith and Kyle Kuric.

3. UConn (6-1)
Blowing a 17-point lead and losing to Central Florida was a wakeup call to the defending National Champions. It was the first tournament loss in a long time, but showed the gaps they need to fill without Kemba Walker. The next day in an overtime win over No. 20 Florida State, the Huskies may have found it in Ryan Boatright. The freshman guard is another playmaker and can help running the team with Shabazz Napier being an improved scorer this season.

4. Marquette (6-0)
I’ve been saying this all offseason, that Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder will be the one-two punch that carries the Golden Eagles. They are undefeated, but still they haven’t played anyone. Besides the two-point nail biter against Norfolk State, Marquette hasn’t been challenged. They will this Saturday though, when they take on the No. 7 Wisconsin Badgers on the road at the tough-to-win-at Kohl Center. If they win, a slide up in the rankings is likely.

5. Pittsburgh (5-1)
The Panthers took a rough 86-76 home loss to Long Beach State early in the season, but have recovered with three straight. I still like this team. Ashton Gibbs is a great player to have at the center of your team and if Khem Birch can do what he’s done in his first two starts (10 rebounds vs. Penn; 11 vs. Robert Morris –both wins), Pitt might have a shot this year.

Tuesday Top 5: Big East names

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

UConn Season Preview


Courtesy of Matt Wurtz/Flickr

UConn 2011-2012 Projected Lineup

PG Shabazz Napier, sophomore
SG Jeremy Lamb, sophomore
SF Roscoe Smith, sophomore
PF Alex Oriakhi, senior
C Andre Drummond, freshman

Key reserves: Tyler Olander, sophomore; Michael Bradley, freshman (redshirt); Niels Giffey, sophomore; DeAndre Daniels, freshman

Kemba Walker left one year of eligibility on the table, opting to go pro, getting drafted by the Charlotte Bobcats.

Walker put up a season for the ages, but if it wasn’t for the play of his supporting cast, there’s no way UConn wins the national title.

Now the supporting class is in the driver’s seat ready to defend their title.

Napier looks to replace Walker at point. He’s a capable point guard with a knack for knocking down big shots.

But Jeremy Lamb is going to be the one to replace Walker as the go-to player. Lamb emerged later in the season and was the key to UConn’s march to the championship.

Courtesy of Matt Wurtz/Flickr

On August 26th, UConn got a commitment that every team in the nation was trying to get. Center Andre Drummond announced his commitment via Twitter.

“It’s official I’m heading to the university of Connecticut to be a husky this year! Do I hear #repeat #huskyfam @aoriakhi34” – @AndreDrummond03

Drummond is projected as the top pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, so his stay in UConn won’t be long. Drummond will start at center, moving the 6-foot-9 Alex Oriakhi to power forward, which is probably a more comfortable fit.

Drummond joins a team full of returners from the national title team. Even with Jim Calhoun missing the first three Big East games due to suspension, look for the Huskies to be the top team in Big East this season.