NBE Basketball Report
Pittsburgh News

MERNAGH: PITT SHOWS IMPROVEMENT IN ROUT OVER NO. 19 GEORGETOWN

January 9, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Pitt needed to dominate somebody after their two straight losses to start Big East play– at home against Cincinnati and at Rutgers.

It was just icing on the cake that it was Georgetown on the road in basically a 30-point shellacking. Georgetown has problems, especially offensively. JT3 would probably be better served by isolating Otto Porter as much as possible and letting him try and go to work and create for himself and others from the mid-post area. But this blurb is about Pitt and what they need to do to build on this win and not fall back to where they were before this result (we’ll tackle the Hoyas and their issues at a later date).

It’s never been more evident that this Pittsburg team needs to play with pace as much as possible. James Robinson and Tray Woodall both make good decisions in transition and when they push the pace it tends to give athletic shooters like Durand Johnson (who needs to continue to see his minutes increase) and JJ Moore shots in rhythm off the secondary break or the chance to attack the rim on the hard, desperate closeouts those kind of situations create. Playing with pace also counters the areas where Pitt can struggle. Easy baskets are good for this team because in the half-court they often settle for late-clock contested three point attempts that lead to bad results.

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RECRUITING NOTEBOOK (12/7/2012): TOWNS PICKS UK, CROAKER CHOOSES MURRAY STATE

December 7, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

by Alex Schwartz

Although not much happened in the high school hoops world in the past few days, there was one huge commitment that came down on Monday.

Karl Towns, Jr. of St. Joseph’s Metuchen (NJ) announced his commitment to Kentucky, as expected. According to Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com, Towns said that his final three were UK, Duke and Florida, with things really coming down to the Wildcats and Blue Devils.

The 6-foot-10 center played for Kentucky head coach John Calipari on the Dominican Republic National Team this summer. He is ranked as the No. 3 player in the NBE Sports Post-Summer Class of 2015 Top 25.

However, Towns will no longer be listed in the 2015 rankings. That is because in addition to committing, he also announced that he is moving to the class of 2014. The Garden State big man will remain highly ranked in the junior class.

We accidentally overlooked a big piece of news for Monday’s Recruiting Notebook. That would be Demarcus Croaker of Jones (FL) committing to the Murray State Racers. We first saw the news from Scout.com’s Evan Daniels.

The 6-foot-3 shooting guard is a major pickup for Steve Prohm and Co. Croaker is ranked as the No. 99 player in the NBE Sports Class of 2013 Post-July Top 125 and is one of the top players in the senior class not headed to a BCS conference school.

From the college ranks, Pitt’s John Johnson is transferring to Penn State, according to Richard Guillen, his former AAU coach with the Hunting Park Warriors. Johnson is a 6-foot-1 sophomore shooting guard from Philadelphia.

In other news, we have been looking over the athletic websites of all the BCS conference schools with 2013 commits to check for news releases on official signings. There are a few schools with verbal commits who have not released news on any signings. They are Boston College, Georgetown, Indiana, Seton Hall, South Carolina, and Texas Tech.

Of those, only two, Indiana and South Carolina, have more than one commit. Seton Hall’s lone commit, Aquille Carr, was not expected to sign in the early period.

In addition, there are some other schools who have released the news of some signings, but not all. Malcolm Allen (Stanford), Deng Deng (LSU), Derrick Griffin (Texas A&M), Xavier Rathan-Mayes (Florida State), Tyree and Tyrell Robinson (Oregon), and LJ Westbrook (Oregon State) are players whose schools have publicized signings of other commits, but not them. The Robinson twins and Griffin will probably sign with their schools’ football programs in February.

Note that just because no releases have been issued at some schools or that some names have not been mentioned does not automaticallt mean the players did not sign. There is also the possibility that there was just simply no release.

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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!


NBE BIG EAST NOTEBOOK (11/16/2012): BUSY WEEKEND AHEAD FOR CONFERENCE TEAMS

November 16, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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.
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NBE BIG EAST REPORT (11/15/2012): NOVEMBER TOURNAMENTS START IN EARNEST

November 15, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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)

Game Key:
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.

RECRUITING NOTES:
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.)

*********Follow NBE Sports on Twitter: http://twitter.com/NBESports*****

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!


NBE BIG EAST REPORT (11/14/2012): BIG EAST OFF TO STRONG EARLY START

November 14, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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.
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NBE BIG EAST REPORT: WEEK #1 (11/9/2012)

November 9, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

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BIG EAST ANNOUNCES 2012-2013 MEN’S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE MATCHUPS

June 28, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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
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MATCH-UPS SET FOR 2nd ANNUAL SEC/BIG EAST CHALLENGE IN 2012

June 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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.




2012 NCAA BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT SITES & TICKETS

March 11, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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:

Albuquerque
Columbus
Greensboro
Louisville*
Nashville
Omaha
Pittsburgh*
Portland

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:
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BIG EAST TOURNAMENT UPDATE – UCONN ROLLS ON & MORE

March 8, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

Key Quotes:

“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
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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.

Key Quotes:

“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
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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.

Key Quotes:

“[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
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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.
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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


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7:00 No. 7 Louisville vs. No. 2 Marquette
9:00 No. 6 South Florida vs. No. 3 Notre Dame


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Friday, March 9 – Semifinals (ESPN)
7:00 Thursday afternoon winners
9:00 Thursday evening winners


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Saturday, March 10 – Championship (ESPN)
9:00 Semifinal winners

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For the best deal for 2011 BIG EAST Tournament Tickets, by an all-session strip:


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SETON HALL, VILLANOVA COMPLETE SERIES OF 1ST ROUND BLOWOUTS IN BIG EAST TOURNAMENT

March 7, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Lauren Kirschman

After the opening session of the 2012 BIG EAST Tournament saw a pair of 14-point wins registered by Connecticut and Pittsburgh (Big East Tournament 1st Session Recap), the evening session produced even less suspense as Seton Hall and Villanova scored resounding wins to close the first day of action at Madison Square Garden. Here is a look at last night’s results, the schedule for the rest of the BIG EAST Tournament and your links to secure tickets to the remaining games…

No 10 Seton Hall 79, No. 15 Providence 47

Seton Hall is one of several Big East teams trying to earn their way off the bubble and into the NCAA Tournament this week. The Pirates started on the right track, defeating Providence 79-47 on Tuesday night.
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UCONN, PITT EARN OPENING ROUND BIG EAST TOURNAMENT WINS

March 6, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Lauren Kirschman

Big East Tournament Day One

No. 9 Connecticut 81, No. 16 DePaul 67

Last season, Kemba Walker carried the Connecticut Huskies to five wins in five days and a Big East tournament championship. Whether or not the Huskies can move through the gauntlet to earn another title remains to be seen. But if they do win five consecutive contests again, it’ll likely be thanks to Jeremy Lamb.

Lamb led Connecticut with 25 points, four assists and five rebounds in the Huskies’ 81-67 win over DePaul in the first round of the Big East tournament on Tuesday afternoon. Connecticut, the No. 9 seed, started 7-7 from beyond the arc and didn’t miss a 3-point shot until Roscoe Smith was off the mark with 4:40 left in the first half.

The Blue Demons consistently left Connecticut players open on the perimeter, seeming willing to chance the Huskies beating them from the outside. Connecticut took advantage and, after letting DePaul hang around early, closed the half on a 6-0 run that gave the Huskies a 46-33 advantage
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2012 BIG EAST TOURNAMENT TIPS OFF TODAY – - CAN UCONN DO IT AGAIN?

March 6, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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.
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MELO, COOLEY, WAITERS & CLARK EARN BIG EAST BASKETBALL AWARDS

March 5, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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.
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BIG EAST RELEASES 2011-2012 MEN’S BASKETBALL ALL-CONFERENCE SELECTIONS

March 4, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

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2012 BIG EAST TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE & TICKETS (TOURNAMENT OVERVIEW)

March 3, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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:

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MERNAGH: HUGGS IS RIGHT – - BACKYARD BRAWL HOOPS EDITION PREVIEW

February 16, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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By Ray Mernagh

Bob Huggins is always refreshing to listen to for the following simple reason — he always speaks honestly to the media in a world where people in his position might cause a polygraph machine to explode if they were attached to one during press conferences. One memorable quote, which threw the opposing fanbase into a tizzy a few years ago, came after West Virginia had lost a multi-overtime game at Pittsburgh after being in a position where they had the game in hand but played stupidly down the stretch, allowed it to go into overtime, and eventually lost to their archrival.

Huggins told reporters afterwards that the Mountaineers had given the game away, that they never should’ve allowed it to go into overtime. He was right. He was being honest. And that’s why I prefer his brand of media relations to most of his peers. On the way into work today I heard a Huggins clip on the radio that included a simple answer to a question that others involved in the WVU/Pitt rivalry have either been passing on, or expressing doubt when it’s posed to them.
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MERNAGH: ADAMS WILL BE FINE

February 2, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Steven Adams is almost 7 feet (6’11″ after checking with his coach).

Steven Adams runs like a deer and rebounds out of his area (he tracked one 17 feet before grabbing it). He has incredible raw instincts defensively, knowing when to keep his feet with his arms straight up, when to jump and when to body his man.

Steven Adams makes hard catches look routine.

Steven Adams threw a 75 foot outlet pass to Myles Davis that led the Xavier bound guard perfectly for a breakaway dunk.

Steven Adams attempts to dunk everything he catches within a foot of the rim.

Steven Adams has a nice stroke on his outside shot.

The things that Steven Adams has to grasp about basketball will be easily taught and learned by a kid with so much enthusiasm for the game.

Steven Adams will be fine.

Plus, he’s quite refreshing to talk to.

Rest easy Pitt fans, the kid can play.

WOODALL: I GOT THIS

January 30, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Ray Mernagh

Travon Woodall has been the object of scorn from certain groups of Pittsburgh fans over his four years in the program.

Complaints have ranged from he didn’t start for his high school team to he’s too sloppy with the ball to he takes too many chances. Some have even gone so far as to say the redshirt junior isn’t a D-1 caliber player.

Woodall has almost always come through for his team. I’ve witnessed him win games by blocking a shot at the rim, hitting multiple three-pointers or by finding flying teammates for alley-oop dunks or cutters for layups. I’ve watched him guard a 6’8″ post player because nobody else was left to do it, purposely taking an elbow to the chops because it meant a foul on the man he was guarding. He’s always had a really good assist-to-turnover ratio and has never, ever, played with fear. He’s also always been Pitt‘s toughest player.
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MERNAGH: PITT KEEPS HOPE ALIVE HEADING INTO BIG MONDAY SHOWDOWN AT WEST VIRGINIA

January 29, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Pitt 86 Providence 74 is what the scoreboard read when the buzzer sounded last Wednesday night. It remained there for maybe a half second before the board changed to reflect the record for Pittsburgh inside the Peterson Events Center since it was built. The loss side of that all-time record has grown more in the last month than in the last several years.

Wednesday evening’s result inside the Peterson Events Center brought relief to a program and fan-base in dire need of a fresh breath.

Now all of a sudden, in the span of 72 hours, relief has turned into, dare I say…hope?

What was a slightly encouraging win for Pitt against Providence parlayed itself into an actual conquest over a #10 ranked Georgetown team that came in sporting the resume of a soon-to-be top 3 seed. In movie terms the Pitt Panthers have quickly moved from Waiting to Exhale territory directly into the How Stella Got Her Groove Back neighborhood.
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