Big East M5: 12.09.13 Edition

Posted by Jameson Fleming on December 9th, 2013

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  1. Villanova is one of the biggest surprises of the young season, and not just in the Big East, but across the entire country. The Wildcats picked up monster wins against Kansas and Iowa, but it wasn’t until their victory against Big 5 rival St. Joseph’s on Saturday that the Cats started to realize they’re for real. Philly.com‘s Marc Narducci writes that Villanova has figured out how to win the right and enjoyable way. Jay Wright’s team has two more chances in the near future to prove to any of its doubters that this team is a legitimate threat to win the Big East and advance past the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament. Another city game against La Salle should prove difficult, but the real test will be traveling to Syracuse in late December to play their former longtime conference foes.
  2. Doug McDermott typically lands all of Creighton’s headlines, but his teammate and fellow senior Ethan Wragge has played as his trusty sidekick during the last three seasons. Wragge has built up outstanding career numbers and now finds himself chasing Kyle Korver for Creighton’s all-time record for three-pointers. Steven Pivovar of the Omaha World-Herald profiles Wragge’s impressive career for the Bluejays. The number Wragge is chasing is 371, as Korver drilled 371 threes while Wragge is at 258 through Sunday’s game. With 23 guaranteed games left, Wragge would need to average 4.9 threes per game to tie Korver. He’s currently averaging just under four per game.
  3. Villanova isn’t the only Big East team with an upcoming date with a former conference foe. St. John’s will host Syracuse in Madison Square Garden on Sunday, and the Johnnies are looking forward to it. The Red Storm crushed Fordham, a team the Orange also beat, and limited Joe Severe, the Rams’ top player. The freshman guard had the worst game of his young career after shooting a horrendous 1-of-21 from the field. When Syracuse comes to town, St. John’s will need to defend more than one threat as the Orange enjoys the services of several scorers with C.J. Fair, Jerami Grant, Tyler Ennis and Trevor Cooney.
  4. Fox Sports‘ Reid Forgrave spoke with one of the key players in the new Big East Conference. Former President of USA Basketball Tom Jernstedt is a special adviser to the league as it transitions away from the massive 16-team conference. Jernstedt doesn’t think rising from the ashes of the super-conference will be harder than when the league first started in the late 1970s, but if one or more of Villanova, Georgetown, or Creighton cannot become an elite team, the conference could move forward without a single dominant team to represent its interests late in the NCAA Tournament. Lacking a superstar team could be the league’s biggest problem right now.
  5. Seton Hall desperately needed another win following an embarrassing loss one week ago against Fairleigh Dickinson. The Pirates picked up a victory in their next outing against LIU, but their big rivalry game against Rutgers on Sunday would be their true test this week — Sterling Gibbs continued to impress with 27 more points in the Pirates 77-71 win. Gibbs is tops in the country at drawing fouls and yesterday’s game would be no different for the sophomore guard. He shot 10 more free throws against Rutgers, giving him a ridiculous 104 attempts on the year. It was the fourth time this year that he eclipsed double-digit attempts from the charity stripe.
Jameson Fleming (18 Posts)

Jameson Fleming is an RTC columnist who also works for CBSSports.com as the site’s social media editor. You can follow him on Twitter @JamesonFleming.


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