Notre Dame News
By Matt Whitfield
Its July on the recruiting trail for college basketball coaches. While the action on the courts was hot, the temperatures on the east coast were soaring outside. Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey was kind enough to brave the heat and spend some with with NBE Basketball Report during the recent Nike Global Challenge in DC last week. Coach Brey spent some time reminiscing about the old Big East and look ahead to the future as the Irish prepare to move to the ACC in basketball this coming season. See our Q&A session with Coach Brey below…
BIG EAST teams extended the conference’s winning streak to 19 games Thursday before a buzzer-beater by Massachusetts against Providence brought an end to the run. Nonetheless, BIG EAST teams were 3-2 Thursday as St. John’s, Louisville and Villanova came away with wins.
The BIG EAST’s .871 winning percentage ranks as the second-best in Division I. The Pac-12 has a .920 winning percentage through Thursday to lead the nation.
—The Red Storm scored a road win against College of Charleston in the opening round of the Charleston Classic, sending St. John’s to a semifinal matchup against Murray State at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN3.
Guard D’Angelo Harrison led all scorers with 21 points in the win. Harrison has averaged 21.5 points in the first two games for St. John’s.
The Red Storm will face either Baylor or Colorado Sunday to conclude the Charleston Classic.
Georgetown scored a 68-59 win against Liberty Wednesday night, lifting the cumulative record of BIG EAST teams to 24-2 in the 2012-13 season. BIG EAST members have won 17 consecutive games. The BIG EAST’s .923 winning percentage is the best in Division I.
Forward Greg Whittington scored a career-high 18 points with nine rebounds to pace the Hoyas past Liberty as part of the Legends Classic. Georgetown heads to Brooklyn, N.Y., to face No. 13 UCLA Monday in the semfinal round of the Legends Classic at the Barclay’s Center. The Hoyas will face either No. 1 Indiana or Georgia Tuesday.
“With all due respect to Liberty, we got some games coming up, and we’re preparing for some teams that are a little bit better than them,” said junior forward Nate Lubick, who had 13 points and eight rebounds. “We use these games to find ourselves, to find what this team’s identity is going to be. … I don’t think our sense of urgency’s really been there.”
Mikael Hopkins added 13 points for Georgetown (2-0).
Forward Otto Porter — a preseason All-BIG EAST selection — did not play Wednesday night because of “symptoms indicative of a mild concussion,” head coach John Thompson III said in a statement.
The conference’s gaudy record could be tested Thursday as five BIG EAST teams are in action, including three teams that will play on the ESPN family of networks in early-season tournaments.
—St. John’s, which opened its season with a come-from behind win against Detroit Tuesday, faces a College of Charleston team that is a perennial contender in the Southern Conference. The game, which begins at 5 p.m. on ESPNU, is part of the Charleston Classic.
Freshman center Chris Obekpa had a school-record eight blocks to go with seven points and 11 rebounds in his collegiate debut Tuesday. D’Angelo Harrison had a team-high 22 points off the bench in the win.
St. John’s had 12 blocks and held Detroit to 34.6-percent shooting.
The Red Storm will play either Auburn or Murray State Friday in Charleston.
—Providence brings its 2-0 record to Bayamon, Puerto Rico, where the Friars will face Massachusetts — one of the favorites in the Atlantic-10 race — in the opening round of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. The tip is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on ESPNU.
Forward Kadeem Batts scored a career-high 27 points as Providence cruised past neighboring Bryant Monday night.
Guard Vincent Council — a Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team choice — did not play against Bryant while recovering from a leg injury suffered in the season-opener and Council is out 4-5 Weeks With the Injury (CBS Sports). With heralded recruit Ricky Ledo ineligible to play this season and another star freshman Kris Dunn out until January after a preseason knee injury, the PC depth will be challenged. Bryce Cotton will be counted on heavily and he scored 24 points against Bryant. Cotton has played all 80 minutes thus far in the two games.
—Villanova also takes a 2-0 record into tournament play Thursday as the Wildcats meet Purdue in the 2K Sports Classic at Madison Square Garden. The game is slated for a 9:30 p.m. tip on ESPN2, following the opening game between Alabama and Oregon State. Jay Wright’s club will play one of those two on Friday.
Freshman guard Ryan Arcidiacono scored 25 points to lead Villanova past Marshall, 80-68, on Saturday night. James Bell added 19 points against the Thundering Herd.
The Boilermakers lost their opening game to Bucknell, but were without the services of Terone JOhnson who is recovering from a knee injury suffered in the offseason. Johnson did play 17 minutes in Purdue’s win over Hofstra and will be counted on to carry the scoring load this year as he rounds back into shape. At 9.2 points per game a season ago, Johnson is Matt Painter’s leading returning scorer.
—Louisville will welcome Samford at 7 p.m. to the Yum! Center on the BIG EAST Network as part of the Battle 4 Atlantis.
Russ Smith had a game-high 23 points to lead the Cardinals past Manhattan in the season-opener Friday. Guard Peyton Siva turned in his second career double-double with 10 points and 10 assists against the Jaspers, a 79-51 victory.
—For DePaul, Thursday’s game against Gardner-Webb is the first of four games in the Cancun Challenge. The Blue Demons also will play Austin Peay at home Saturday before heading to Cancun.
Brandon Young scored a game-high 20 points in the season-opening win against UC Riverside last Friday night. The game, won by the Blue Demons 91-59, was played
on campus at McGrath Arena. Cleveland Melvin added 16 points, seven rebounds and five steals.
THIS WEEK’S BIG EAST SCHEDULE:
Monday, November 12
Pittsburgh 86, Fordham 51
Providence 81, Bryant 49
Notre Dame 84, Monmouth 57
Seton Hall 78, Norfolk State 65
Rutgers 88, Sacred Heart 62
Tuesday, November 13
St. John’s 77, Detroit 74
Cincinnati 102, Mississippi Valley State 60
Connecticut 67, Vermont 49
Marquette 64, Southeastern Louisiana 53
Pittsburgh 78, Lehigh 53 1
Wednesday, November 14
Georgetown 68, Liberty 59
Thursday, November 15
St. John’s at College of Charleston 6 – ESPNU……………………. 5:00
Samford at Louisville – BEN……………………………………………. 7:00
Providence vs. Massachusetts 2 – ESPNU…………………………. 7:30
Gardner-Webb at DePaul……………………………………………… 8:30
Villanova vs. Purdue 3 – ESPN2……………………………………….. 9:30
Friday, November 16
Connecticut vs. Wake Forest 4……………………………………….. 6:30
Rutgers at Princeton…………………………………………………….. 7:00
Maryland-Eastern Shore at USF……………………………………… 7:30
Notre Dame vs. Saint Joseph’s 5 – TruTV…………………………… 9:30
Providence vs. North Carolina State/Penn State 2………………TBD
Alabama/Oregon State vs. Villanova 3 – ESPN2/ESPNU……….TBD
St. John’s vs. Auburn/Murray State 6 – ESPN3…………………….TBD
Saturday, November 17
Austin Peay at DePaul…………………………………………………… 2:00
Oakland at Pittsburgh – BEN………………………………………….. 7:00
Seton Hall vs. Washington 7 – ESPN3……………………………….. 7:30
Loyola (Chicago) at USF………………………………………………… 7:30
Connecticut vs. Iona/Quinnipiac 4…………………………………… TBD
Notre Dame vs. Florida State/Brigham Young 5 – TruTV……….TBD
Sunday, November 18
Wagner at Syracuse – BEN…………………………………………….. 1:00
North Carolina A&T at Cincinnati – BEN…………………………… 2:00
Western Michigan at USF – BEN…………………………………….. 3:00
Miami (Ohio) at Louisville – BEN…………………………………….. 4:00
Seton Hall vs. Ohio State/Rhode Island 7 – ESPN2/ESPN3…….TBD
Providence vs. TBD 2……………………………………………………… TBD
St. John’s vs. TBD 6………………………………………………………… TBD
–All times Eastern
–BEN – BIG EAST Network (check BigEast.org for local listings)
1 NIT Season Tip-Off
2 Puerto Rico Tip-Off, Bayamon, P.R.
3 2K Sports Classic, New York, N.Y.
4 Paradise Jam, St. Thomas, USVI
5 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, Brooklyn, N.Y.
6 Charleston Classic, Charleston, S.C.
7 Hall of Fame Tipoff, Uncasville, Conn.
While many readers are very familiar with who is signing with the current BIG EAST schools, Larry Brown inked three players for his SMU program which will join the BIG EAST next season. Along with three impressive transfers sitting out this season (Markus Kennedy, Crandall Head & Nic Moore), SMU Gets a Crop of New Players Signed to Letters of Intent (Dallas News). The signees are:
Sterling Brown – G, 6-4, 190 – Chicago, Ill. (Proviso East)
Ben Moore – PF, 6-8, 185 – Bolingbrook, Ill. (Bolingbrook HS)
Yanick Moreira – C/PF, 6-11, 220 – Luanda, Angola (South Plains C.C.)
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The holidays are rapidly approaching, why not get that sports fan on your list something special. Order now for the 2013 Big East Tournament as it will an end of an era at Madison Square Garden this March. Below are links to buy tickets to any all sessions. Order early to secure the tickets to the special sports fan on your list or get yourself that special personalized gift!
BIG EAST teams went 5-0 Tuesday, giving the league a combined 23-2 record in the 2012-13 season. The .920 winning percentage is the best of any Division I conference thus far.
—Pittsburgh’s win Tuesaday night against 2012 NCAA Tournament participant Lehigh sends the Panthers to the championship round of the NIT Season Tip-Off at Madison Square Garden next week. The Panthers will face Michigan November 21st and will meet either Delaware or Kansas State November 23rd in New York.
Guard Tray Woodall became the third Pittsburgh player to lead the team in scoring in as many games with 23 points against Lehigh. Junior Talib Zanna added 20 points and freshman James Robinson was the defensive star as he limited Lehigh pre-season All-American guard C.J. McCollom to 17 points.
The Panthers face Oakland Saturday before heading to Madison Square Garden for the championship rounds of the NIT Season Tip-Off.
The curtain will rise on the 2012-2013 college basketball season today and for the BIG EAST conference it will also be the end of an era. With West Vitginia already leaving the conference for the Big 12 and Syracuse and Pittsburgh, who will be followed closely behind by Notre Dame, playing their last season before departing for the ACC, the BIG EAST as we have come to know and love will never be the same.
The conference will grow and survive with the additions next season of Memphis, Temple, Houston, Central Florida and SMU, but make no mistake about it, the dynamics of the tightnit conference have been changed forever.
Per Big East conference news release…
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The BIG EAST Conference has announced the league opponents and game sites for its men’s basketball teams for the 2012-13 season.
The conference schedule – which comprises 135 regular-season games – will once again yield some of the most-anticipated contests nationally in 2012-13. Nearly 80 percent of the regular-season league games (107 of 135) will include at least one team that reached the NCAA Championship last season. Thirty-seven games (27 percent) will be between two NCAA tournament teams from 2012.
Additionally, each of the 15 BIG EAST teams will play either nine or 10 of its 18 league games against NCAA tournament teams. Each team will face 10 opponents once and four opponents twice. All 135 regular-season conference games will again be televised, either by the ESPN family of networks or CBS Sports.
The decisions regarding repeat opponents are driven by fairness and competitive balance within the parameters of television selections and geographic rivalries. The full 2012-13 conference schedule will be announced at a later date.
2012-13 BIG EAST Men’s Basketball Schedule Breakdown
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – ESPN has announced the 12 matchups that will be part of the Second Annual SEC/BIG EAST Challenge, which will take place Nov. 29-Dec. 1, 2012 at home sites of the participating schools.
The BIG EAST contingent in the Challenge will include Cincinnati, DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Notre Dame, Providence, Rutgers, St. John’s, Seton Hall, South Florida, Syracuse and Villanova (Pittsburgh, Louisville & Connecticut are not participating). Six of the BIG EAST’s 12 participating teams reached the NCAA Championship last season. The SEC has four participating teams that reached the NCAA tournament.
The 2012 SEC/BIG EAST Challenge includes the following matchups:
Thursday, November 29
Kentucky at Notre Dame
Marquette at Florida
South Carolina at St. John’s
Seton Hall at LSU
Friday, November 30
Syracuse at Arkansas
Tennessee at Georgetown
DePaul at Auburn
Georgia at USF
Saturday, December 1
Alabama at Cincinnati
Villanova at Vanderbilt
Mississippi State at Providence
Rutgers at Mississippi
The BIG EAST took the first SEC/BIG EAST Challenge, winning eight of the 12 games in 2011.
Selection Sunday has arrived and the 2012 NCAA Tournament field of 68 has been revealed. Kentucky, Syracuse, North Carolina and Michigan State head the field as this year’s #1 seeds. The BIG EAST also highlights the field, sending nine representative from the conference to the tournament.
The action will once again tip off Tuesday night in Dayton with the ‘First Four’, a pair of games on both Tuesday and Wednesday night, and this year’s final destination is New Orleans, the host city of the ‘Final Four.’
Below are where the teams ended up for their early round contests. Plenty of tickets are available and fans can get their seats through our relationship with Ticketnetwork.com. Do not hesitate, tickets will be going quickly now that the teams have been placed in their locations.
Our partnership with TicketNetwork.com allows you to pick the seats you want from their tremendous inventory at great prices. See below for 2012 NCAA Tournament Sites and tickets available:
Selection Sunday has arrived. It seems like just yesterday we were reporting on Midnight Madness activities and stories. Many tournament tickets have already been punched, but now fans have a chance to get their tickets at all the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament sites below. Get your tickets now to make sure in your the building to see the greatest sporting event of the year!!
The 2012 NCAA Tournament tips of Tuesday night with the ‘First Four’ doubleheader in Dayton, Ohio. Thursday the tournament will hit full speed with second and third round games being played in the following host cities:
Atlanta, Phoenix, Boston and St. Louis will be 2012 regional cities.
The 2012 NCAA Tournament Final Four will be played at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans (LA).
Our partnership with TicketNetwork.com allows you to pick the seats you want from their tremendous inventory at great prices. See below for 2012 NCAA Tournament Sites and tickets available:
By Lauren Kirschman
Connecticut rallied behind Shabazz Napier and Jeremy Lamb to beat West Virginia in overtime and extend their two-year Big East Tournament run to seven straight wins. Georgetown was too much for Pittsburgh and then in the evening session it was Louisville and South Florida living up to their seeds to earn victories and move the today’s quarterfinal round. Here is the full recap of Wednesday’s action:
No. 9 Connecticut 71, No. 8 West Virginia 67
Connecticut hasn’t lost a post-season basketball team since it fell to Virginia Tech 65-63 in the NIT on March 22, 2010. On Wednesday afternoon, the Huskies defeated West Virginia 71-67 in overtime to keep their streak, and their chances of a second-consecutive Big East tournament title, alive.
West Virginia looked like it was going to pull away from Connecticut in the second half as Kevin Jones and the Mountaineers seemed to track down every rebound in building a double digit lead.
The Huskies trailed 50-40 with less than 10 minutes left in the game, but Connecticut outscored West Virginia 25-15 over the remainder of the half to tie the game at 65 at the end of regulation.
Shabazz Napier led a 9-0 run for the Huskies that tied the game at 63. He scored the last two baskets of the scoring surge with two straight steals and ensuing layups.
Napier had a chance to win the game at the regulation buzzer, but missed a long 3-pointer. Napier fouled out with 2:35 left in overtime, but Jeremy Lamb took over late to lead the Huskies to the win. He hit a 3-pointer with 1:04 left in the game to give the Huskies a three point lead, 70-67.
Ryan Boatright sealed the win for the Huskies with a free throw that produced the final score with 20 seconds left in the game.
Napier scored 26 points and Lamb added 22 for Connecticut. Kevin Jones led the Huskies with 25 points, but didn’t score in overtime. The Mountaineers didn’t score a field goal in overtime with their two points coming on free throws from Truck Bryant.
Key Factors: The stars. Kevin Jones and Jeremy Lamb both disappeared down the closely-contested last stretch of the second half. Luckily for Connecticut, Shabazz Napeir guided the Huskie’s comeback. The Mountaineers’ weren’t so lucky. When Jones struggled, so did West Virginia’s offense, and the Mountaineers’ let the Huskies back into the game. In overtime, Lamb reemerged to hit the most important shot of the game. Jones didn’t score.
Promising Future: Sophomore Shabazz Napier and freshman Ryan Boatright both played well in the backcourt for the Huskies who, by their standards, are underachieving this season, but could be coming together at the right time once again. Boatright added 10 points and three assists to Napier’s 26-point performance. Who else is young for the Huskies? If everyone would return for another year at the collegiate level, the Huskies would have every player that saw the floor on Wednesday back next year.
Area of Concern: Rebounding. The Mountaineers were able to pull away in the second half because they dominated the Huskies on the boards. That’s something that could hurt Connecticut later in the tournament and with No. 1-seed Syracuse looming, the Huskies need to rebound better. West Virginia finished with a 40-24 rebounding advantage.
“I told Jeremy, you’ve got to be willing to shoot now, you’ve got to be looking for hits, and when he came off that curve, there was no doubt in my mind it was going in because that’s what he works on in practice.” –Shabazz Napier
“We don’t have, as we normally do during the season, before the game we put ’16′ [games] up, ’17′, as we go forward. Getting ready for the DePaul game we put ’1′ up. I said, look around, new season.” –Jim Calhoun
No. 5 Georgetown 64, No. 13 Pittsburgh 52
Georgetown head coach John Thompson III emphasized two areas entering the Hoyas’ second game against Pitt this season: points in the paint and rebounding.
His team got the message.
Georgetown out-rebounded Pitt 36-25 and scored 28 points in the paint to 20 for the Panthers. Pitt didn’t have an answer for Henry Sims, who dominated the Panthers inside with 20 points and 13 rebounds.
After trailing early, the Hoyas finished the first half on a 16-2 run to take a 31-23 lead into halftime. Pitt showed signs of life early in the second as Georgetown switched to man-to-man and the Panthers went on a 6-0 run to close the gap to two points.
But Thompson called a timeout and switched the Hoyas back to zone. The Hoyas then hit two consecutive threes and with the Panthers unable to effectively attack offensively, Georgetown continued to pull away for the comfortable win.
With the loss, the Panthers’ last hope of making the NCAA Tournament has been dashed. Pitt will now wait to find out if they earn a bid to the National Invitation Tournament.
Key Factors: Defense and ball movement. Pitt carved up the Hoyas’ zone defense in its win over Georgetown in January. The second time around, however, the Panthers couldn’t penetrate or get the ball inside. Instead, Pitt took 3-pointers and jumpers — and the Panthers didn’t knock down very many of them. On the other end of the court, the Panthers couldn’t stop the Hoyas, especially inside, as they struggled through foul trouble.
Promising Future: Only senior Ashton Gibbs reached double figures for the Panthers and no Pitt player played especially well. However, sophomore J.J. Moore came on for Pitt at the end of the season and played well against St. John’s on Tuesday. Pitt could’ve used Moore’s ability to drive to the basket against the Hoyas and they’ll need his scoring ability next season with Gibbs and Robinson leaving the program.
Area of Concern: Not much. The Hoyas won nearly every statistical category against the Panthers, but they did get off to a slow start. Georgetown will need to play better early against a team that might find more success against the zone. And if the zone doesn’t work, Georgetown will have to revert to its man-to-man defense, which, in order for the Hoyas to keep advancing, must work better than it did against the Panthers.
“I thought [Sims] was very good today in terms of his effectiveness on the block, his effectiveness as a passer and his decision making.” –John Thompson III
“This is the first time in our lives we’ve gone through this situation. We’re going to finish off strong.” –Nasir Robinson on not making the NCAA Tournament, potentially playing in NIT
No. 7 Louisville 61, No. 10 Seton Hall 55
Louisville held off a late surge from Seton Hall on Wednesday to pick up a 61-55 win and advance to the quarterfinals on Thursday.
Russ Smith scored five of his 11 points to keep Louisville ahead of Seton Hall as the Pirates slimmed a 14-point second half deficit to four points with 47.9 seconds left.
But Smith responded with a free throw to push the lead back to five. After a Theodore miss, Kuric added another foul shot that sealed the win for the Cardinals.
The Pirates, sitting on the bubble like several other Big East teams, now await their NCAA Tournament fate.
Louisville went into the break with a slim 23-22 lead, but used a 20-6 run at the start of the second half to pull away.
Jordan Theodore and Herb Pope led the Pirates once again with 17 and 11 points, respectively. Peyton Siva scored 14 points and recorded six steals for the Cardinals. Kyle Kuric added 13 points.
Keys to the Game: Defense. Louisville held Seton Hall to 32.7 percent shooting from the field and 15.8 percent shooting from beyond the arc. The Cardinals also held Seton Hall to 25 percent shooting in the first half. The Cardinals’ defense has given plenty of teams fits this season and will be the key to Louisville making a run in the Big East and NCAA tournaments.
Area of Concern: Killer instinct. The Cardinals used a 20-6 run to pull away from Seton Hall, but they couldn’t keep a desperate Pirates’ team from making a comeback to slim the lead to four points. Luckily for the Cardinals, they were able to hold on for the win, but they’ll need to be more consistent as they continue the postseason. Louisville also got off to a slow start, shooting poorly in the first half, and let the Pirates hang around despite their own low shooting percentage.
“[Us and Seton Hall] are a mirror image of each other. We play the same type of zone that’s really man. We try to confuse the opponents. We press a little bit more than they do.” –Rick Pitino
“As long as we continue to play defense and continue to get steals, then that’s when we’re at our best. When we just focus on offense and focus on that, then we play bad, we have our slumps.” –Peyton Siva
No. 6 South Florida 56, No. 14 Villanova 47
South Florida added another Big East win to its NCAA Tournament resume on Wednesday night.
The Bulls proved their defensive prowess once again, holding Villanova to 34 percent shooting on the field. A South Florida opponent has failed to reach 60 points for the ninth-straight game.
Villanova fell to the Bulls for the third time this season. South Florida led by 10 points, 27-17, at the half and the Wildcats never really threatened. They didn’t pass 40 points until less than two minutes remained in the contest.
Anthony Collins led the Bulls with 17 points, while Mouphtaou Yarou scored 20 for Villanova.
The Bulls move on to face third-seeded Notre Dame on Thursday in what should be another low-scoring affair.
Keys to the Game: Defense. South Florida is the best defensive team in the conference and the Bulls showed their ability to lockdown opponents on Wednesday. Most teams have struggled to score against South Florida this season, which is why the Bulls finished sixth in the conference and are likely headed to the NCAA Tournament.
Area of Concern: Offense. As good as South Florida’s defense is, it couldn’t cover up the Bulls’ offensive struggles against a less than mediocre Villanova squad. South Florida shot 42 percent in failing to reach 60 points.
Tickets might be sold out to the general public…but you can still get your tickets at the links below with our partnership with TicketNetwork.com:
REST OF 2012 BIG EAST TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
Thursday, March 8 – Quarterfinals (ESPN)
Noon No. 9 Connecticut vs. No. 1 Syracuse
2:00 No.5 Georgetown vs. No. 4 Cincinnati
7:00 No. 7 Louisville vs. No. 2 Marquette
9:00 No. 6 South Florida vs. No. 3 Notre Dame
Friday, March 9 – Semifinals (ESPN)
7:00 Thursday afternoon winners
9:00 Thursday evening winners
Saturday, March 10 – Championship (ESPN)
9:00 Semifinal winners
For the best deal for 2011 BIG EAST Tournament Tickets, by an all-session strip:
The bright lights of Broadway will begin shining today at high noon as the 2012 BIG EAST Tournament will get underway. Leading off the action will be the #9 seeded UConn versus the #16 seed DePaul. These very two teams opened the tournament last season and the Huskies began their improbable March run of 11 straight wins with a 97-71 win over the Blue Demons. Do they have it in them again?
“Last year we did the impossible,” Alex Oriakhi told the Hartford Courant. “So we know anything is possible.”
Of course, last year the Huskies had Kemba Walker, who had a March run that will live on through the ages. Even without Walker UConn is a team stocked with talent. Sophomore Jeremy Lamb and freshman Andre Drummond could be lottery picks in the NBA Draft this June. Shabazz Napier and Alex Oriakhi played key roles throughout last year’s March run.
Courtesy of BIG EAST conference
NEW YORK – Fab Melo, Syracuse’s sophomore center, has been named BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year by a vote of the league’s head coaches who were not permitted to vote for their own players.
The league also announced that Notre Dame junior forward Jack Cooley is the BIG EAST Most Improved Player. Syracuse sophomore guard Dion Waiters has won the BIG EAST Sixth Man Award and Georgetown senior guard Jason Clark has been named the winner of the BIG EAST Sportsmanship Award.
Melo, who came to Syracuse from Sagemont, Fla., led the BIG EAST in blocked shots in league play with a 3.7 average. He also averaged 6.1 rebounds. The 7-0, 244-pound Melo is a valued member of the Syracuse lineup. In the team’s only loss of the season, a defeat at Notre Dame, Melo did not play. He is the second straight Defensive Player of the Year winner from Syracuse. Rick Jackson was the 2010-11 honoree.
Cooley emerged as one of the BIG EAST’s best big men this season after making modest contributions a season ago. As a sophomore in 2010-11, he averaged 3.7 points and 3.1 rebounds while playing 10.3 minutes per game. This season, the 6-9 Cooley is averaging 12.5 points and owns a rebounding mark of 9.2, which ranks fourth in the BIG EAST. Cooley is a native of Glenview, Ill.
Courtesy of BIG EAST conference
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Forward Jae Crowder and guard Darius Johnson-Odom of Marquette were two of six players named to the All-BIG EAST First Team, the league announced. The conference’s head coaches choose the all-conference teams. The coaches are not permitted to vote for their own players. The league announced the All-BIG EAST First, Second and Third Teams in addition to the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team.
The BIG EAST Player of the Year will come from the All-BIG EAST First Team. The conference will announce Player of the Year, Oppenheimer Funds/BIG EAST Coach of the Year, BIG EAST Rookie of the Year and American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete of the Year on Tuesday, March 6. The announcement will be made between sessions of the first day of The BIG EAST Championship Presented by American Eagle Outfitters at Madison Square Garden. The press conference will begin after the postgame interviews of the afternoon doubleheader have been completed. The other league individual awards will be announced Monday, March 5.
In addition to Crowder and Johnson-Odom, the other first-team selections are: Jeremy Lamb of Connecticut, Jason Clark of Georgetown, Kris Joseph of Syracuse and Kevin Jones of West Virginia.
The 2012 BIG EAST Championship Presented by American Eagle Outfitters will be the 30th straight at Madison Square Garden, the World’s Most Famous Arena. More than 3.2 million fans have gone through the turnstiles to watch the longest running conference basketball tournament at the same venue. Eleven different schools have taken home the crown. The Championship begins Tuesday with teams seeded ninth through 16th competing. Last year, it was ninth-seeded Connecticut that made it to the Saturday night championship game and took home the trophy. With Saturday’s topsy-turvy action, the Huskies find themselves in a familiar place…the #9 seed opening up the tournament with DePaul. Do they have it in them again?
On the heels of a historic regular season in which it won 30 of 31 games, including a 17-1 mark in conference play, Syracuse has earned the 2012 BIG EAST regular-season title and the No. 1 seed in the 2012 BIG EAST Championship presented by American Eagle Outfitters. Syracuse enters the tournament in search of its sixth BIG EAST Championship title.
Syracuse joins Marquette, Notre Dame and Cincinnati as the top four seeds in The BIG EAST Championship, which begins Tuesday, March 6 at noon Eastern at Madison Square Garden in New York. Those four schools receive byes through two rounds of the tournament and won’t play until Thursday’s quarterfinals.
The Championship begins Tuesday with four first-round matchups. Connecticut and DePaul kick things off with a battle between the Nos. 9 and 16 seeds at noon, while No. 12 St. John’s takes on No. 13 Pittsburgh at 2 p.m. to complete the afternoon session. Those games will be televised on ESPN2 and ESPN 3D.
The Tuesday evening session begins with No. 10 Seton Hall and No. 15 Providence at 7 p.m., followed by No. 11 Rutgers against No. 14 Villanova at 9 p.m. on ESPNU and ESPN 3D.
No. 8-seed West Virginia will await the Connecticut/DePaul winner Wednesday at noon in the first of four second-round games. No. 5 Georgetown has the Pittsburgh/St. John’s winner at 2 p.m., while No. 7 Louisville takes on the Providence/Seton Hall winner at 7 p.m. No. 6 USF closes Wednesday’s action against the Villanova/Rutgers winner.
Friday’s semifinals are scheduled for 7 and 9 p.m., while the championship game tips at 9 p.m. Saturday.
Georgetown and Connecticut have won a conference-record seven BIG EAST Championships. The Huskies made history last season by winning five games in five days to take the conference crown on their way to an NCAA Championship.
The 2012 BIG EAST Tournament is already a sell out, but fans can still get their tickets. This is the last appearance in the Men’s BIG EAST championship for West Virginia and SU and Pitt are not far behind…so this year’s event promises to be one to remember!
Below are ticket links to all the sessions for this year’s event. Hundreds of seats for $10 or less are available right now so check out the links and get your seats to one of the great events of college basketball.
Here are your 2012 BIG EAST Tournament seeds:
1) Syracuse, 17-1
2) Marquette, 14-4
3) Notre Dame, 13-5
4) Cincinnati, 12-6
5) Georgetown, 12-6
6) South Florida, 12-6
7) Louisville, 10-8
8] West Virginia, 9-9
9) Connecticut, 8-10
10) Seton Hall, 8-10
11) Rutgers, 6-12
12) St. John’s, 6-12
13) Pittsburgh, 5-13
14) Villanova, 5-13
15) Providence, 4-14
16) DePaul, 2-15 (vs SHU)
We have also included a source to get tickets for the entire tournament or for each individual session as the NBE Basketball Report has partnered with TicketNetwork.com to help put fans in the stands this March. So, buy your tickets with complete confidence that you will be there (follow links to purchase tickets for each session) for the 2012 BIG EAST Tournament or Tickets to All Sporting Events!
2012 BIG EAST TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE (with ticket purchase links) – IF TOURNAMENT BEGAN TODAY:
Notre Dame and St. John’s began the BIG EAST portion of the 2011-12 season Tuesday with wins against Pittsburgh and Providence, respectively, on Tuesday night.
Notre Dame extended its homecourt winning streak to 28 games with last night’s win, 72-59 over No. 22 Pittsburgh. The Irish haven’t lost at Purcell Pavilion since Feb. 14, 2010, when they fell 69-68 to St. John’s.
Guard Alex Dragicevich scored a career-high 22 points to lead the Irish on Tuesday night. Dragicevich, who had scored just six points in six previous BIG EAST games before this season, scored 17 of his 22 after halftime, which included making all three of his attempts beyond the three-point arc.
The Irish rallied from a 26-25 halftime deficit by shooting 72% (18-25) after intermission.
“I have been a part of a lot of fun games here,” Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey said after the game. “But this one ranks right up there with the best. To see us play with that swagger in the second half, I guess I just wasn’t sure this group was ready for that.”
Jerian Grant and Eric Atkins also reached double figured for Notre Dame, scoring 15 points a piece. Grant added a game-high nine assists and Jack Cooley helped ND stay close on the boards, grabbing 14 shots off the backboards to go with his eight points.
“We have a week to practice and after a win you always have a little more juice,” said Brey. “It’s just great to be 1-0 in this league, especially at home, that feels good. It’s something to build on and God knows we needed something to build on.”
The Irish play the first of back-to-back road games with a Jan. 4 visit to Cincinnati. Notre Dame has won three straight against the Bearcats, including a pair of wins last season.
For Pitt it was their second consecutive loss after falling to non-conference opponent Wagner on Dec. 23 at the Peterson Events Center.
“We need to play better, we will play better and that’s what we have to work on,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said following last night’s loss. “We are a team that has a lot of things to improve on and we will get there and we know we’ve got things to work on.”
Sophomore Talib Zanna led the Panthers with 13 points and 12 rebounds in the game. Seniors Ashton Gibbs and Nasir Robinson each added 12. Gibbs passed current Pitt assistant coach and former point guard Brandin Knight for 12th place on Pittsburgh’s career scoring chart (1,443 points).
Junior guard Tray Woodall returned to the lineup after missing six games with a groin/abdominal injury, but did not score in 18 minutes.
Last night’s loss was just the seventh time in Jamie Dixon’s nine-year tenure that Pitt had lost back-to-back games. Pitt will try to avoid a third-straight defeat when, like the Irish, they take on Cincinnati in their next game. Pittsburgh has won its last six meetings against Cincinnati. The Panthers are 6-1 against the Bearcats in regular-season BIG EAST play. They will host Mick Cronin’s club at the Peterson Events Center on New Year’s Day.
Freshman Moe Harkless scored 32 points in his BIG EAST debut to lead St. John’s past Providence last night, 91-67, at Carnesecca Arena. Harkless’ total is the most by a freshman in his first BIG EAST game in league history. The previous mark of 30 points was held by Notre Dame’s Troy Murphy and Georgetown’s Allen Iverson.
“I didn’t even know that,” Harkless said following the game on his record-setting performance. “That’s an honor to even be mentioned with those guys. Being able to break the record is a great feeling.”
For the seventh consecutive game the Redstorm was coached by associate head coach Mike Dunlap as Steve Lavin continues his recovery from prostate surgery.
“We were able to play a team that came in pretty hot and has played some good people, so we are very pleased with that win,” said Dunlap. “We’ve still got to work Amir [Garrett] in and now we have a seven-man rotation.”
D’Angelo Harrison added 25 points and 7 assists in the win and Phil Greene also finished in double figures with 12. In all, SJU freshmen combined to score 77 of the 91 points put on the scoreboard for the ‘Storm.
Up next for the Redstorm is a New Year’s Eve date with defending national champion UConn. St. John’s has won its last two meetings
The loss snapped a seven-game win streak for the Friars, who also had their worst defensive effort of the season, a trait that has plagued them in recent BIG EAST seasons. SJU scored 91 points and shot 56.5% from the field. PC also hurt themselves by turning the ball over 20 times. All in all it was not the performance Friar head coach Ed Cooley was expecting from his team.
“Our kids were just pathetic today in every imaginable way,” said Cooley afterwards. “I thought we were very selfish today. We weren’t tough at all. We just weren’t tough. I could take losing games. As a coach you’re going to lose a lot of games and you’re going to win some games. But you just have to show that passion to compete and we didn’t show that tonight. I’m very disappointed with our execution and our competitive level.”
Gerard Coleman scored 20 points against the Red Storm for Providence, which will look to avoid an 0-2 BIG EAST start when they travel to Washington DC to take on Georgetown at the Verizon Center Saturday. PC has not won at Georgetown since March of 2005.
Tonight’s BIG EAST Schedule:
Wednesday, December 28
GEORGETOWN at LOUISVILLE – ESPN2……………………….7:00
SETON HALL at SYRACUSE………………………………..7:00
VILLANOVA at WEST VIRGINIA…………………………….7:00
CONNECTICUT at SOUTH FLORIDA…………………………..9:00
Eight more teams begin BIG EAST play Wednesday, including tough tests for the league’s two unbeaten clubs. Top-ranked Syracuse takes a 13-0 record into a 7 p.m. game against 11-1 Seton Hall at the Carrier Dome. While the Orange and Pirates split their two contests last season, the 90-68 drubbing SHU put on SU at the Dome last season will be certainly on the mind of the Syracuse players. No. 4/4 Louisville (12-0) hosts No. 12/12 Georgetown (10-1) on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. U of L is 2-4 against the Hoyas in BIG EAST play.
West Virginia and Villanova also meet at 7 p.m. in Morgantown, W.Va. The Wildcats hold a 10-9 edge in the series in conference regular-season play. No. 9/9 Connecticut plays its first road game of the season when it visits USF at 9 p.m. The Huskies will be without coach Jim Calhoun, who begins an NCAA-imposed three-game suspension. UConn has an 8-1 edge in its all-time series against the Bulls.
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UCF and Marshall certainly made a good impression on the Big East leadership with their victories over UConn and Cincinnati.
Marcus Jordan was excellent, especially making plays down the stretch (while UConn’s D was already looking towards the next round apparently) to get UCF their biggest win in quite some time and probably ever. Marshall’s win over the Bearcats was one I expected as the Thundering Herd are for real this season and Cincinnati proved once again with their loss to Presbyterian, at least at this point, that they’re still very much pretenders. Another result that I thought might go the Mid-Major way was Ohio vs Louisville but, whether by kind whistle or not (and that’s exactly what one of my guys told me the Ville got down the stretch) Pitino’s crew managed to get the all-important Dub).
One interesting rumor that I’ve heard more than once is that Xavier is quietly trying to enter the Big East through the back door for basketball. If that were to happen it would be fascinating to see how the Mid-Major Plus dominoes would fall were X to leave the A-10 for a league with St. John’s, Seton Hall, Marquette etc. Would Butler then try to make a move to the A-10? One things for sure if X were to move — Cincinnati would not be happy at all! not sure how solid the rumor is but it’s definitely out there in the coaching/basketball community.
Players that have impressed thus far this week as I’ve caught random glimpses through the turkey/brisket induced-haze:
Evan Roquemore from Santa Clara is a 6’3 point that I raved about from seeing him in Milwaukee a few years back at the NY2LA event. He went for 27 5 and 4 against New Mexico in a win and then for 27 10 and 4 in a loss to Oklahoma. His Broncos take on Villanova next tomorrow at 6:30. Watch for this kid who pinned a much bigger guy hard while I was watching the New Mexico game but somehow didn’t get credited for the block. He’s the real deal obviously and he’s added some flamboyance to his usually understated style with a Mohawk. If he keeps going for 27 and 10 he can continue to pull that look off. The sophomore guard is averaging 17 6 and 4 for they year while shooting 53% from deep and 48% from the floor.
Keith Clanton from UCF. The 6’8″ Junior local kid (Orlando product) went for 20 in the Knights win over UConn while hitting 4-5 from the three-point line, hit all his free throws and collected 6 rebounds in 38 minutes. For the year Clanton is averaging 19 and 9 while hitting 59% from the floor and 49% from deep. He’s definitely been putting in work and doing it much more efficiently than any of his more-famous mates. Credit Jordan as I did in the opening graph but recognize Clanton’s game as well.
Just saw that Northeastern drilled St. John’s earlier today 78-64 as the Red Storm were again without coach Steve Lavin who’s recuperating and resting following recent surgery to remove cancer. Best wishes to Lav on his continued recovery and also to Notre Dame forward Tim Abromaitis who tore his ACL and is out for the year. Here’s hoping he can get a 6th year and ball out in 2012-13.
Khem Birch got his first start for Pitt and responded with 15 10 and 3 blocks. JJ Moore also contributed with 12 and 6 in 31 minutes with efficient play. Will be good to see tomorrow night how both handle some regular season success. IMHO Pitt needs both guys on the floor for good minutes to be the best they can be this year.
I’m in Dayton tonight as I’m visiting relatives for Thanksgiving and that will allow me a good look at A-10 squad Charlotte and Horizon opponent Wright State. I watched WSU practice yesterday and they’re a young group that has some really enticing pieces for the future. It will be interesting to see how they respond off the last few days which have been difficult for them. The Raiders played very well against Florida in a loss but then, as is common with young teams, forgot to show up a few nights later against North Florida and took a bad loss.
Charlotte is an athletic and long group from just watching some warm ups here so hopefully it will be another good game (I haven’t seen a bad one yet this season).
BIG EAST teams are a combined 31-2 in the early going this season, with both losses coming yesterday.
West Virginia got the day started off early for BIG EAST watchers with a 10 AM game hosting Kent State as part of the ESPN College Hoops Tip-ff Marathon. The young Mountaineers fell to one of the MAC pre-season favorites 70-60 in Morgantown.
WVU had a 5-point lead at the half, but it quickly disappeared and Rob Senderoff earned his first win as the new head coach of Kent Statet. A 19-4 run midway through the second half seized control of the game for the Golden Flashes. Bob Huggins did not want to use youth as an excuse.
“We throw the ball to them; we throw the ball to them for layups, we don’t get back and today it wasn’t just the freshmen,” said Huggins to msnsportsnet.com. “Today we had seniors who didn’t do their job.”
By Raphielle Johnson
Wednesday was a big day for the Big East Conference with Men’s Basketball Media Day being held at the New York Athletic Club with Madison Square Garden still being renovated. Of course the topic du jour had little to do with the upcoming action on the courts around the league but rather what the next step will be for a conference hit hard by realignment. Tuesday’s teleconference with commissioner John Marinatto, which was supposed to clear up matters and leave this stage to the players and coaches, did little in that regard.
Media from around the country wanted to hear directly from the coaches how the lack of stability is affecting them from a recruiting standpoint as well as what options may be available to them in the near future. Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey essentially said that regardless of what may happen (Big East expansion to 12 football-playing members or a Big 12 expansion that includes current Big East members) the Irish will be alright, which is to be expected of a school with such a storied football program.
Louisville head coach Rick Pitino minced no words on the subject, saying that while he couldn’t imagine the Big East without charter member Syracuse he could imagine the conference without Pittsburgh. And then came the unfortunate analogy that sparked numerous “pot meet kettle” reactions given the coach’s own issue a couple summers ago.
From the BIG EAST Basketball Men’s Media Day in NYC:
Big East preseason coaches’ poll (First place votes in parenthesis):
1. Connecticut (7) 209 points
(tie) Syracuse (5) 209 points
3. Louisville (3) 201 points
4. Pittsburgh (1) 188 points
5. Cincinnati 169 points
6. Marquette 155 points
7. West Virginia 132 points
8. Villanova 127 points
9. Notre Dame 114 points
10. Georgetown 104 points
11. Rutgers 75 points
12. St. John’s 71 points
13. Seton Hall 56 points
14. South Florida 43 points
15. Providence 40 points
16. DePaul 27 points
Big East Preseason Player of the Year: Ashton Gibbs, Pittsburgh
Big East Preseason Rookie of the Year: Andre Drummond, Connecticut
Big East Preseason First Team: Ashton Gibbs, Pittsburgh; Jeremy Lamb, Connecticut; Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquette; Tim Abromaitis, Notre Dame; Kris Joseph, Syracuse; Kevin Jones, West Virginia.
Big East Preseason Second Team: Yancy Gates, Cincinnati; Alex Oriahki, Connecticut; Peyton Siva, Louisville; Scoop Jardine, Syracuse; Maalik Wayns, Villanova.
Big East Preseason Honorable Mention: Andre Drummond, Connecticut; Shabazz Napier, Connecticut; Cleveland Melvin, DePaul; Jae Crowder, Marquette; Augustus Gilchrist, USF
Today is only media day, but you can get your 2012 BIG EAST Tournament Tickets for yourself or that special fan this upcoming holiday season. The tournament is certain to sell-out to the general public, but all season great seats at great prices will be available through our 2012 BIG EAST Tournament Page. You can begin browsing below:
by Ray Mernagh
I’m not sure what to make of this feeling that’s come over me after allowing all this conference realignment mess to sink in. After all, my initial reaction (Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes) was so mature, so enlightened, that it made me feel what’s best described as false pride about how adult my response was. Then a funny thing happened on my journey to accepting this with a rational level of, dare I say, Bilas-like comportment — I got stuck.
I couldn’t write a damn thing about the upcoming season, completely paralyzed regarding any news coming out of the entire world of college basketball. In fact I think I conned myself into thinking it was just my extraordinary amount of work on other sports the last few weeks (freelance variety) that had kept me from my usual barrage of words this time of year.
But that was just me kidding myself.
Then Thursday night, while watching college football of all things, it hit me.
I mean, it’s ridiculous to blow up this conference.
Nobody really knows what the end game will be here but one thing is obvious — the Big East that we’ve known for the last several years is soon to be no longer.