Big East M5: 12.13.12 Edition

Posted by Will Tucker on December 13th, 2012

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  1. Yesterday, we speculated that reconciliation between the Big East and its seven Catholic basketball schools seemed less likely after reading comments from Marquette’s AD Larry Williams in a Tuesday radio interview. Just after midnight this morning, the venerable Brett McMurphy reported that “it’s becoming ‘more likely’ the basketball schools will break away from the league’s football members,” with an announcement coming in as little as 24-48 hours. The Big East bylaws are apparently filled with byzantine procedural protocol, but it appears Temple would not have a vote in the matter of dissolution, after all. So if those seven schools can reach a consensus, there’s nothing UConn, Mike Aresco, or anyone else can do to stop them.
  2. Though Rick Pitino has explicitly prohibited sophomore Chane Behanan from speaking to the media this semester, the embattled forward has developed a surreptitious ritual during his postgame locker room exits. Always the first to leave, he repeats the same refrain as he walks past media waiting for player interviews: “I just want to say, all I want to do is win a national championship.” Though his steady play (8.8 PPG, 7.8 RPG) has at times been overshadowed by disciplinary issues and precocious freshman Montrezl Harrell, Behanan has showed maturity in competing rather than sulking. Considering ego or complacency may have been the culprits that landed him in the doghouse with Pitino, it’s hard to imagine his coach being too upset over this kind of team-oriented, ambitious statement.
  3. The Casual Hoya pegged Georgetown #5 behind Louisville, Syracuse, Cincinnati and Notre Dame in yesterday’s power rankings, and made two salient comments that put the Hoyas’ offensive woes into perspective. The team shooting percentage of 46.2% is only 0.3% lower than last year, and its shooting inside the arc has improved, but the Hoyas’ three-point and free throw shooting percentages are the lowest in John Thompson III’s tenure. Part of the problem might be at the center position: “Georgetown’s centers under III have either been future 1st round picks or seniors. [Mikael] Hopkins currently is neither.”
  4. Villanova exorcised some demons over the course of their Big 5 rivalry games over the last couple weeks. In holding on to win a heated game against St. Joe’s on Tuesday, the Wildcats earned a measure of redemption for the errors that helped La Salle erase seemingly insurmountable last-minute deficits and beat Nova last month. Correcting mistakes identified and dissected by a coach on film is always a more onerous task than simply acknowledging those mistakes and resolving to do better. “That’s part of our building process,” said Jay Wright, “You’ve got to get it done in that situation.” Nova has gone 3-1 in the two weeks since the La Salle collapse, and closed out its Big 5 series strong with wins over Penn and St. Joseph’s.
  5. Jim Boeheim is hedging his bets on losing an underclassman to the draft after this season, as evidenced by his recent recruitment of Class of 2013 5-star center Dakari Johnson. The Orange are out of available scholarships, with five guys already committed in Johnson’s recruiting class. While it’s possible Boeheim is preparing for a player to transfer –– or be told to transfer, a la Jared Swopshire at Louisville –– it’s more likely sophomore Michael Carter-Williams is planning to cash in on his skyrocketing draft stock after this season.
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Tipping Off The Big East Countdown: #12 Villanova

Posted by Dan Lyons on October 17th, 2012

Once among the most consistent programs in the Big East, Villanova seems to be stuck in a rut.  After an incredibly disappointing 2011-12, which led to the first NCAA Tournament miss for the Wildcats since 2003-04 and a year without any postseason berth since Steve Lappas’ 1997-98 team.  To top things off, Jay Wright lost his two top scorers from last season, and will have to choose between a transfer and a true freshman to run the point for the Wildcats this year.  The Wildcats hope to be one of the Big East’s most surprising teams, but it will have to have everything click right if the Wildcats expect a top-half finish in the conference.

2011-12 Record: 13-19, 5-13

2011-12 Postseason: None

Villanova missed the post-season for the first time in Jay Wright’s tenure in 2011-12. How will the Wildcats rebound this season?

Schedule

After a scrimmage with Carleton University, Villanova opens the regular season with Division II District of Columbia, as a part of the 2K Sports Classic.  The Wildcats host Marshall two nights later before departing to New York for the 2K Classic’s main event.  In the semifinals, Villanova takes on Purdue, followed by the winner of Alabama and Oregon State. Later in the non-conference slate, Villanova travels down to Nashville for a tough road game against Vanderbilt before returning to Philadelphia for Big 5 games against Temple, Penn, and St. Joe’s. In the Big East, Villanova has home-and-home series with Syracuse, USF, Providence, and Pittsburgh.

Who’s In

Two new players should battle it out for the starting point guard spot, as both true freshman Ryan Arcidiacono and junior Wake Forest transfer Tony Chennault look to contribute right away.  Chennault received a hardship waiver from the NCAA and is eligible to play this year after averaging nine points and three assists as the starting point guard for the Demon Deacons. The Wildcats also add 6’10” freshman Daniel Ochefu, who should add some much needed beef inside for the oft-undersized squad, as well as Croatian guard Mislav Brzoja, who is a strong perimeter shooter.

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RTC Live: Villanova @ Temple

Posted by rtmsf on December 10th, 2011

[Ed. note: our correspondent experienced significant connection issues at Temple today and will not be able to live-blog this game. He will have a feature story on this game later this weekend. Please accept our apologies.]

It’s Big 5 action on RTC Live tonight, as two teams from the City of Brotherly Love go at it on the city’s north side. Join us this December evening for Villanova at Temple in what’s sure to be a great one,  after the jump.

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RTC Live: Temple @ Villanova

Posted by rtmsf on December 30th, 2010

Game #83.  RTC Live heads to the City of Brotherly Love for one of the best rivalries in all of college basketball.

The battle for Philadelphia bragging rights is on the line when Temple invades the Pavilion to take on Villanova tonight at 7 p.m. The two squads, which have combined to win or share every Big 5 title since Jameer Nelson and St. Joe’s won it in 2003-04, are far and away the cream of the city crop once again. The eighth-ranked Wildcats, led by high-scoring guards Corey Stokes (15.7 ppg) and Corey Fisher (15.5 ppg), can wrap up the Big 5 title tonight as they’ve already beaten Penn, La Salle, and St. Joe’s. This will be Temple’s first Big 5 game of the season but the No. 25 Owls are riding a six-game winning streak and are coming off a Big 5 crown of their own. Last year, Fran Dunphy’s Owls stunned then-No. 3 Villanova, 75-65, on their way to a perfect 4-0 city record. The winner of this year’s game will almost certainly win the quirky Philadelphia round-robin tournament — and also charge into the new year as perhaps the best team in their respective conference.

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“Friends Of Raftery” Would Require A Much Bigger Space

Posted by jstevrtc on October 7th, 2010

On October 25th, La Salle will have their annual open practice — their version of what used to be known around the nation as Midnight Madness, you could say — for fans, students, and pretty much anyone who would like an early peek at the Explorers. There’s even a reception afterward for La Salle alumni and supporters, according to the announcement of the event. The reception actually sounds cool, since it allows for the chance to interact with the players and coach Dr. John Giannini — and because the one and only Bill Raftery, an alum and a former player at the school, will be speaking at the event and participating in a Q&A.

The Great Raf Has Doctorates From Several Schools In the Field of Awesomeness

We’re not posting this merely to promote the La Salle event in Tom Gola Arena to our Philly readers and Big 5 connoisseurs. It sounds like a fine time, indeed — you’ve got an open practice, the chance to hang with the players and coaches, Raftery, free food and drink — what’s not to like, you know? But the reason we dig this so much is because the event is being put on by a group called “The Friends of Bill Raftery Committee.”

If the real “Friends of Bill Raftery” were to show up, they’d need to clear out a couple of small towns to have this thing. Tom Gola Arena is a great place to see a game, but it seats 4,000. Bill Raftery has millions of friends. Because if you’re a fan of college basketball, you’re a friend of Bill Raftery. We wanted to say that we just love that there’s an organization called “The Friends of Bill Raftery.” We want to join it.

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ATB: Reintroducing Hoya Paranoia

Posted by rtmsf on December 29th, 2008

afterbuzzerGame of the Night. Georgetown 74, Connecticut 63. The Big East is going to be two tons of fun this season, with game after good game coming at us over the course of the next two-plus months.  It all began tonight, and the result confirmed two of our inclinations that we had about both of these teams but hadn’t been able to prove just yet.  First, UConn is only a national title contender when Hasheem Thabeet as an offensive force shows up to play – otherwise, they’re just another nice top twenty team.  In the Huskies’ four games against ranked opponents, Thabeet has been held under double-figures in points and rebounds three times (exception: 19 pts/14 rebs against Miami (FL)).  He put up a pathetic four points on four shots tonight.  Credit to the Georgetown defense for minimizing Thabeet’s touches in the paint, but UConn simply must get their senior big man the ball more often to maximize their potential this year.  Second, Georgetown’s starting five is as good as anyone in the country, and if they can stay healthy (a big “if” given the wear and tear they’ll take during the Big East regular season), then the Hoyas will once again be knocking on the door of the Final Four.  All five starters can score the ball, shoot a high percentage from the field AND the line, rebound and play hard-nosed defense.  The x-factor is freshman center Greg Monroe, who showed signs tonight of becoming a dominant low-post presence in addition to a guy who can draw the defense out to the three-point line (2-2) for JT3’s team.  If he develops into a consistent threat by February, then the Big East may once again be hearing Hoya Paranoia.  The problem will be if Georgetown starts to wear down later in the season, as only guards Jason Clark and Omar Wattad have been given significant time to spell the starters.  As for this particular game, Georgetown was simply the tougher, smarter, more confident team in the first five minutes as they ran out to an 18-3 lead, and those five minutes were the difference in the game.  UConn several times got the margin within one possession, but each time Georgetown would answer with a big three or dunk.  It’ll be very interesting to see how the Hoyas show their maturity this weekend against Pittsburgh at home.

Wayne Chism Injured. Tennessee 89, Louisiana-Lafayette 62.  Normally we wouldn’t give this sort of game a special mention, but on a relatively light night, a potentially serious injury involving one of the best players on the SEC’s only really good team is worth highlighting.  Tennessee forward Wayne Chism landed hard on his back after blocking a shot in a game where he had already tallied 18/15.  He was taken off the court in a neck brace and stretcher (see below), but according to Andy Katz, Bruce Pearl texted him later to say that Chism will be ok.  That’s certainly good news for Vol fans, who will be facing tough games with Kansas, Gonzaga and Kentucky in the next two-plus weeks.

Saul Young/GoVolsXtra.com

Photo Credit: Saul Young/GoVolsXtra.com

Big Five Matchup. Villanova 62, Temple 45. Nobody seems to think that Nova is very good, but they continue to dominate the rest of their Philadelphia city rivals, winning 18 of their last 19 matchups among their Big Five counterparts.  Temple has fallen apart since its Dionte Christmas explosion a few weeks ago vs. Tennessee, now losing three in a row to Kansas, Long Beach St., and now Villanova.  There would be no Xmas theatrics tonight, as Nova held him to 4-19 shooting and 13 points.  VU was down by eight in the early second half until Temple went the next 11.5 minutes without a field goal, with Corey Fisher blowing up from three (4-4) to put the Wildcats on his back to take the lead and put Temple in the rearview mirror.  So how good is this Villanova team?   We’ll find out soon enough, with a road trip to Marquette and Louisville visiting Philly in the next two weeks.

Other Games of Mild Interest.

  • Baylor 79, Portland St. 66. No repeat tonight for Portland St. after shocking Gonzaga last week, mostly because Zag giant-killer Jeremiah Dominquez was completely shut down (1-9 for 2 pts) after dropping 25 in last week’s upset.  Baylor’s LaceDarius Dunn came off the bench for 22/6.
  • Arizona 71, Weber St. 65. Nic Wise scored 23 pts as the Cats played without Jordan Hill, who was nursing a leg injury.
  • Memphis 60, Cincinnati 45. Tyreke Evans had 14/10/8 assts (and 7 tos) in a game where Cincy couldn’t very well throw it in the ocean (26%) when they weren’t throwing it to Memphis (20 tos).
  • Davidson 79, Charleston 75. A late 10-0 run by Charleston drew the Cougars within two of Davidson in this SoCon matchup, but Stephen Curry hit one of two FTs and Andrew Goudeleck’s three caromed off to preserve Davidson’s 38th consecutive victory within the conference.  Curry had 29/9/7 assts on 11-25 shooting.
  • Buffalo 62, Colorado 60. Buffalo might be a team to watch in the MAC after giving UConn all it wanted a while back and now beating a Big 12 team at a neutral site (Hawaii).

On Tap Tuesday (all times EST). The most intriguing matchup is in the Big 10, where we’ll get to see how legit Illinois is, but we’re also interested in how Clemson, Oklahoma and BYU handle relatively tough road tests.  Butler-UAB and Dayton-GMU are also good mid-major games.

  • Florida v. Stetson (ESPN FC & 360) – 1pm
  • Houston v. UMass – 2pm
  • Syracuse v. Seton Hall (ESPN FC & 360) – 7pm
  • Butler v. UAB – 7pm
  • Dayton v. George Mason – 7pm
  • Illinois v. Purdue (ESPN2) – 7pm
  • Clemson @ South Carolina (ESPN FC & 360) – 7pm
  • Kansas St. v. Wagner (ESPN FC & 360) – 8pm
  • Southern Miss v. Ole Miss – 8pm
  • Oklahoma @ Arkansas (ESPN FC & 360) – 8pm
  • BYU @ Tulsa – 8pm
  • New Mexico St. v. New Mexico (ESPN FC & 360) – 9pm
  • Mississippi St. v. San Diego (ESPN FC & 360) – 9pm
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