Big East Morning Five: 01.30.12 EditionPosted by mlemaire on January 30th, 2012
- It’s been a harrowing couple of weeks for Connecticut freshman Ryan Boatright as he awaited the NCAA’s ruling on his eligibility, but they cleared him to play and he returned to the court in this weekend’s loss to Notre Dame. While he is trying to move on, his lawyer and mother are not happy with the NCAA’s decision to release the details of what Boatright and his mother considered a private investigation. Boatright’s mother is pondering legal action but it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense at this point. The issue has already been drawn out for long enough, and a legal battle will keep it in the news even longer, something I doubt the Boatright family relishes.
- As always, plenty of exciting basketball was played this weekend, but no game received more attention than Syracuse‘s controversial win over West Virginia. The Orange got the benefit of a blown goaltending call and held on to win by two points. Coach Bob Huggins wasn’t thrilled with the result and rightfully so. The Mountaineers played well enough to win a difficult road game and it is never good when the officials are directly involved in determining the outcome, as clearly happened there.
- It is encouraging that Seton Hall forward Herb Pope is shouldering the blame for the Pirates’ fourth straight loss, but that won’t be enough to stop the team’s free fall in the Big East standings. Taking the blame is great, but improving his play would be better. Pope is the team’s best player and against Louisville on Saturday he was just 4-13 from the field. The Pirates aren’t good enough to consistently win when their best offensive option is struggling, so Pope will need to pick up his game quickly if Seton Hall still wants to make the Tournament.
- Villanova should be kicking itself Saturday after blowing an 18-point lead in a loss to Marquette. It was the Wildcats’ second-straight second-half collapse and the mistake that cost them Saturday was a silly error by the team’s veteran leader, Maalik Wayns. Wayns picked up a technical foul for arguing a blown call and Marquette took advantage of the change in momentum and never looked back. Wayns was probably right to be upset, but that doesn’t excuse his inability to curb his frustration. Maybe I am extrapolating a small incident too much, but those types of stupid mistakes are indicative of why ‘Nova has struggled so badly this season. The team has plenty of talent, just not a lot of discipline or mental toughness.
- Don’t look now but the Pittsburgh Panthers look poised to make a run. Considered an afterthought after seven straight conference losses over the last four weeks, the Panthers handily beat No. 10 Georgetown on Saturday and looked like a different team from the one that looked soft and disorganized earlier this season. It shouldn’t be too big a surprise that the team has some fight because they still have talent and Jamie Dixon is an excellent coach. That said, it might be too little too late and it would be a bigger story if they could win impressively away from the Peterson Center.