Big East Morning Five: 01.17.12 Edition
Posted by mlemaire on January 17th, 2012
- In this week’s edition of his usual “Hoops Thoughts” column, Sports Illustrated‘s Seth Davis took a look at who hurt themselves and who helped themselves with their non-conference schedules. The Big East representatives were West Virginia, Cincinnati, and St. John’s. The Mountaineers resume will look nice thanks to non-conference wins over Kansas State, Miami, Oral Roberts, and Missouri State. The Bearcats and Red Storm haven’t done themselves any favors and rank 304th and 161st nationally in strength of schedule. Mick Cronin‘s club in particular will have their non-conference schedule scrutinized as they are the more likely bubble team at this juncture and still sport embarrassing non-conference losses to Presbyterian and Marshall…AT HOME.
- There is little doubt that Louisville has been dealt its fair share of adversity this season, especially when it comes to injuries. Yesterday was no exception as the Cardinals not only lost a crucial road game against Marquette without leading scorer Kyle Kuric, but they also may have lost forward Rakeem Buckles who left the game after injuring his left knee and did not return. If you recall, Buckles missed all of last season and part of this one while recovering from a torn ACL in his right knee and now CBS Sports is reporting yesterday’s injury as a hyper-extension. It is especially unfortunate because Buckles finally seemed to be contributing meaningful minutes and rebounding and now he goes back on the shelf for a yet-to-be-determined amount of time. The Cardinals better get their roster and their offense sorted out soon because their slide is starting to put them squarely on the bubble.
- Improper benefits are hardly an uncommon occurrence in the shady world of college basketball recruiting, but the fact that Connecticut freshman Ryan Boatright is being held out of games for the second time this season while the NCAA re-investigates claims of improper benefits is strange to behold. Things got stranger recently with rumors that the NCAA tipster is actually a jealous ex-boyfriend of Boatright’s mother, Tanesha. The NCAA isn’t about to start confirming or denying gossip surrounding an ongoing investigation, but if this is true, it is sad that Boatright’s career is on hold because of a jilted former flame that has very little to do with him or his season with the Huskies. The story is important for two reasons. One, UConn needs Boatright to continue developing and playing crucial minutes if they are going to have a chance at repeating. And two, Boatright has shown that he has a bright future playing basketball, and it would be unfortunate to see that future even temporarily derailed over petty jealousy.
- Nice story from Asbury Park Press reporter Josh Newman about highly touted Pittsburgh signee and New Zealand native Steven Adams. After watching Khem Birch decide to leave school before the end of his first season, Panthers’ coach Jamie Dixon desperately needs Adams to get to campus, stay on campus, and become an instant contributor in the frontcourt. Adams has been lighting it up recently, including 23 points and 13 rebounds in Saturday’s win over Nerlens Noel and the Tilton (N.H.) School at the Springfield Hoophall Classic. The one thing I did find particularly interesting was that Newman posed the question of how Adams ended up signing at Pittsburgh without mentioning the fact that Birch also went to Notre Dame Prep. Make no mistake, Adams and Birch are different recruits, but there are enough similarities to point them out in this type of article. In Dixon and the Panthers’ case, they are hoping the similarities end at the two recruits’ alma mater.
- One day before Syracuse advanced to 20-0, their best start in school history, the good folks at Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician penned an interesting take on why Syracuse fans are always so miffed about the lack of national respect for their team. Let’s clarify, there are plenty of pundits and knowledgable basketball folks who are still willing to poke holes in the Orange’s flawless resume, and that makes Syracuse fans ticked off. The point of the post is that this year’s team is not the same as last year’s team that started 19-0, and that just because the statistics don’t necessarily back up the Orange’s lofty ranking, that doesn’t mean they don’t belong there. The post is an in-depth and interesting read, and for the record, I agree with the point that this year’s Syracuse team deserves more credit for their showing thus far. There is no way you can leave this team out of the “Best In The Country” discussion.