Big East Tourney Daily Diary: 1st Round

Posted by rtmsf on March 10th, 2010

Rob Dauster of Ballin is a Habit is spending the week as the RTC correspondent at the Big East Tournament.  In addition to live-blogging select games throughout the tournament, he will post a nightly diary with his thoughts on each day’s action.  Here is his submission on the First Round games.

South Florida 58, DePaul 49

  • South Florida looked really good in the first half. In the second half, a scrappy DePaul team started hitting some shots and made it somewhat exciting. But in the first half, USF looked absolutely dominant. They got just about whatever they wanted offensively, they hit the offensive glass, they scored in transition, and they held DePaul to merely 15 points.
  • Jarrid Famous could be a very good player one day. Great frame, good size and athleticism, but he needs a post game. I like his aggressiveness as well; he had seven offensive rebounds.
  • In one of the stranger stats I’ve ever seen, South Florida scored 58 points. 50 of them came in the paint, and six at the foul line, meaning that the Bulls got just one basket outside of the paint.
  • The most entertaining part of this game was actually the battle of the bands in an empty gym before tipoff. In my opinion, USF clinched it with a stirring rendition of “You Can Call Me Al”.

St. John’s 73, UConn 51 (RTC Live)

  • Where to start about the Huskies?  They turned it over 20 times; they went 6-18 from the foul line; they clearly had no interest in playing this game; Jerome Dyson packed it in three games ago, as he finished with four points and nine turnovers this afternoon. All around, it was ugly.
  • St. John’s is going to be a good team next year given they learn how to hold onto a lead. They will have ten seniors on their team, and the only rotation player they are losing is Anthony Mason, Jr. I’ve already got them slotted as my sleeper pick. They have size, they have athleticism, they have a stud in DJ Kennedy, and they have a couple experienced PGs.
  • Will UConn accept an NIT bid? Did Jim Calhoun just coach his last game in Storrs? Is Kemba Walker going pro? All questions you should keep in mind over the next month.  Another thing to think about with the Huskies – they have not won a Big East Tournament game since the 2005 first round against Georgetown. Jerome Dyson is 0-4 in the Big East Tournamen and 0-1 in the NCAA Tournament. The only year he was on the team and the Huskies had any postseason success was last year’s Final Four run, while he was injured.

Seton Hall 109, Providence 106 (RTC Live)

  • Seton Hall barely hung on to beat Providence, blowing a 29-point lead in just over 13 minutes. Providence missed a three at the end that would have tied the game at (wait for it…) 109! As you would expect, there were some very impressive numbers put up in this one — 38 and 16 from Greedy Peterson; 27, 11, and 5 assists from Herb Pope; all 10 starters in double figures; both teams breaking the Big East Tournament scoring record for regulation — but the only stat that matters is one, as in the number of wins added to the Seton Hall win column.
  • The Pirates get Notre Dame tomorrow at 7:00 pm in what may actually be an NCAA Tournament play-in game. The Irish are very close to being in right now, but with the conference tournaments providing bubble teams an opportunity to improve their resumes combined with the Irish’s shaky start to the season, a loss could be very damaging to their hopes. Seton Hall almost assuredly needs a win. While its true that they don’t have any bad losses, they also don’t have much in the way of great wins. Pitt, Louisville, and at Cornell is simply not enough. Add in a sweep of Notre Dame, and Bobby Gonzalez may be headed to the Tournament.
  • If there is a worse defensive team in the country than Providence, I would be shocked. They did score 59 points in the last 13:36 of this game, however. So there’s that.

Cincinnati 69, Rutgers 68

  • Lance Stephenson did not have an overpowering night, as he finished with 13 points, 9 boards and 5 assists, but he was the key to this game for the Bearcats. Cincinnati was struggling to get anything going, trailing 52-47. But Stephenson scored eight points in a 10-0 run, including two gorgeous and-1 drives to the rim, the second of which involved a Jordanesque midair switching of the hands. All of a sudden, Cincy was up by five and in control.
  • What may be lost in the exciting finish to this game was how ugly it was. There was no flow offensively, nothing pretty happening. A slugfest would be the appropriate term. But that is the way that Cincinnati plays. They love defensive games, they love battles in the paint, they love when a game becomes based on rebounding. If Rutgers isn’t hitting their shots, they aren’t in this game.
  • Mike Rosario made an incredible shot to tie the game late. Leaning in to draw the foul, he was off balance and barely got the shot off. He made it though. He is without a doubt one of the best pound-for-pound scorers in the Big East, but can he do anything else? He finished with three boards and zero assists in 35 minutes.
rtmsf (3725 Posts)


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