Checking in on… the Big East.Posted by rtmsf on January 11th, 2008
Wow, the Big East really has too many freakin teams… anyway, below is our midseason check-in on that bloated league.
F4 Caliber. While the Big East appears to have a lot of solid teams, we don’t really see a bunch of contenders for the F4 this year. Georgetown must top the list, but we still have questions about how the Hoyas are planning on replacing the skill and clutchness of Jeff Green. Next in line would probably be Pittsburgh, but they always seem like a Sweet 16 team to us. Same for Marquette – we just can’t see them making that kind of a run this year. Louisville was supposed to be a contender, but unless the Cards figure out a) how to stay healthy; and b) how to get Edgar Sosa to come out of his shell, we don’t see them making much noise either. That leaves Syracuse as the only other team with enough talent to make a run, and we’ll leave them as the wildcard, because you never know how a young dynamic team is going to react to conference play.
Most Likely to Collapse. Connecticut. We’re going with the Huskies here. We thought about WVU, but they’ve beaten everyone they were supposed to and lost to only good teams. UConn just doesn’t have that same solid guardplay that we’ve come to expect from them over the years, and their mental toughness appears tenuous. A couple of bad losses and this season could unwind quickly for Jim Calhoun.
Most Likely to Rise. Notre Dame. On the flip side, speaking of mental toughness, we really like what the Irish are putting on the court this year. We think they could end up in the top three of the league.
Biggest Surprise. West Virginia. This team was supposed to suck, but Huggins has them playing defense and defending home court with his usual rough-and-tumble style. At this point, even an 8-8 Big East slate probably gets them an at-large bid.
Biggest Disappointment. Louisville. Rick Pitino has been back in the Bluegrass for seven years now, and it’s easy to see that he’s simply not the same coach that he once was. Despite consistently recruiting well, he’s only had one excellent team there during his tenure, the 2005 team that went to the Final Four. This year appeared on paper to be another breakthrough year for the Cards, but we’re having trouble seeing consistency (and health) out of Palacios and Padgett on the interior, and Terrence Williams has also been up and down. That’s without mentioning the Waldo act that Edgar Sosa has pulled this year.