Big East M5: 11.13.12 Edition

Posted by Dan Lyons on November 13th, 2012

  1. The last few weeks have unveiled a number of interesting facts about Louisville coach Rick Pitino‘s career. A few weeks ago, we learned that he was originally planning to take the vacant job at Michigan instead of the one at Louisville before being called out by his wife for being “afraid” of working in the same state as his former school, Kentucky. Now we know that 2010-11’s Louisville squad that lost to Morehead State in the NCAA Tournament was almost his last. According to Fox Sports, Pitino heavily considered retirement following that upset.  However, once again, it was his wife Joanne who was one of the major catalysts in his decision:  “My wife told me I would miss it too much. And then all of a sudden three of my closest friends in life go back to work (after retiring). They all went back to work and I called them and said, ‘Why?’ They sad they couldn’t get any better at golf, they were bored as hell and their life wasn’t as meaningful… I learned a valuable lesson from those guys – I would miss it.”  Going out after an upset loss in the tournament would have been quite unbefitting of a coach of Pitino’s stature, and the whole notion probably seems pretty funny now, with another Final Four in his back pocket and a preseason top five team at his disposal this year.
  2. The “Battle on the Midway” between Syracuse and San Diego State was a lot of things, but ‘good’ basketball probably wasn’t one of them. The wind had a definite adverse effect on shooting from outside – the teams combined for 2-22 from beyond the arc – causing both squads to pack the defenses in, which turned the game into a series of scrums around the basket.  Post-Standard writer Bud Poliquin argues that the importance of the event itself supercedes the challenges of playing outdoors. It seems like Jim Boeheim agrees: “I’d play in this event again…I think it’s something that every program should experience.” While it wasn’t the prettiest thing to watch on TV, and Aztec fans could make the case that the elements had a more negative effect on them than the incredibly tall, physical Orange team, it is one game and this isn’t college football.  San Diego State will have plenty of room to prove itself going forward, but may never have a chance to play in a setting like the USS Midway again.
  3. In the early season, Georgetown‘s lack of experience has reared its ugly head, especially after star forward Otto Porter went out with an eye injury against Duquesne. Porter is the leading returning scorer and rebounder for the Hoyas, and one of the most important cogs in John Thompson III’s Princeton offense.  Without Porter, much of the onus falls on freshman guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, who led the team with 19 points against Duquesne.
  4. Yesterday, the NCAA announced the sites for 2014 and 2015’s NCAA Tournaments, and a number of Big East and future-Big East towns made the cut. The most notable arena selected is Madison Square Garden, which will host the 2014 East Regional.  The Garden has a major place in NCAA Tournament history, having hosted 71 tournament games in its history but none since 1961.  Memphis will also host a 2014 regional, and both Milwaukee and Orlando will host second and third round games.  In 2015 Syracuse and Houston will host regional games, and both Pittsburgh and Louisville were selected as pods for the second and third rounds.
  5. Rutgers’ season didn’t start quite as well as Mike Rice and his team would have hoped, to say the least. After dropping the season opener to St. Peter’s, the Scarlet Knights are looking to move forward and not dwell on one upset loss as the season progresses. Junior Wally Judge summed up the feelings in the Rutgers locker room well: “We took a punch, and it hurt… We have to respond the right way. Now it’s over, and we have to go win the remaining games on our schedule.” Rutgers has a very manageable schedule ahead of them before Big East play, and need to capitalize if they hold out any hopes to make a run at a Tournament berth. Rice emphasized trying to find toughness within his team, and the desperation of this search showed in his substitution patterns during the game, as Rice moved quickly between 11 players on the roster. Rutgers bounced back nicely last night with an 88-62 win over Sacred Heart.
Dan Lyons (78 Posts)

Writer at Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician and Rush the Court's Big East Microsite. Syracuse '12.

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