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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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March 11, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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:
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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:


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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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

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

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

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:


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:



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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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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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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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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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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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!


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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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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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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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December 29, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Coming into their BIG EAST opener against Seton Hall, Jim Boeheim and the Syracause Orange knew they had to stop Pirate senior forward Herb Pope to keep SHU from having any hopes of upsetting the No. 1 team in the nation at the Carrier Dome. Mission accomplished for the Orange who moved to 14-0 with a 75-49 win last night.

“I thought our forwards did the best job all year of getting back in there and helping with him [Pope], and then Fab [Melo] and Baye [Keita] blocked a lot of shots,” said SU coach Jim Boeheim after the game.

Pope entered the contest averaging 20.3 points a game and 11.4 rebounds, but he was stymied inside by the Orange 2-3 zone defense and finished with just four points on 2-of-9 shooting and nine rebounds, while committing six turnovers and four fouls in 28 ineffective minutes.

“I thought we did a good job tonight interior on Pope and getting to their shooters,” said Beoehim.

Melo recorded his first career double-double with 12 points and 10 blocks, also adding seven rebounds in 25 minutes. Dion Waiters was the high-scorer for the Orange with 15 points coming off the bench. The Orange, who lead the nation in steals with an 11.6 mark, had 17 steals
against the Pirates and they forced Kevin Willard’s club into 23 turnovers while only committing seven themselves.

Syracuse visits DePaul Sunday. Last year, SU beat the Blue Demons 107-59 at the Carrier Dome. It was the largest margin of victory in a conference game.

Seton Hall saw their eight-game win streak stopped with a thud, never challenging the top-ranked Orange, trailing 34-15 at the half and by as many as 33 in the second half. With 14 points, Jordan Theodore was the only Pirate to reach double figures in the loss.

The Hall hosts West Virginia Friday. The Pirates have lost six straight in the series. Their last win was 71-64 at home on Feb. 14, 2006.

Georgetown lost an 11-point lead in the second half at Louisville, but regrouped to prevail 71-68, handing the Cards their first loss of the season.

Sophomore guard Markel Starks scored a career-high 20 points and freshman forward Otto Porter contributed 14 points and 14 rebounds in the win.

“He hit some big shots for us tonight when we needed shots to be made,” Hoya head coach John Thompson III said of Starks. “He made some big plays and his defensive got better in the second half.”

Four freshmen saw action off the bench for Georgetown, led by Porter’s contributions. Jabril Trawick (9 points) Mikael Hopkins (2 points) and Greg Whittingham all made meaningful contributions as the Hoya bench outscored their Cardinals counterparts 25-17.

“It’s no doubt about that,” said Thompson about the key contributions of the four rookies. “Otto (Porter), Jabril (Trawick), Mikael (Hopkins) came in and gave us outstanding minutes. You say freshman class, and they are freshmen and this is their first BIG EAST experience, but they’ve been doing that since the summer. It’s a group that plays hard and competes.”

The Hoyas host Providence Saturday and will put their current nine-game winning streak on the line. GU has beaten the Friars in the last five meetings and holds a 31-16 advantage in BIG EAST regular-season play.

The Cardinals saw their 20-game home winning streak end with the loss. Kyle Kuric led the team with 17 points and guards Peyton Siva and Russ Smith added 15 and 14 points, respectively.

Louisville will play at No. 3 Kentucky on Saturday, a tall order for the fourth-ranked Cards that Rick Pitino knows will greatly challenge his squad.

“Well, I think Kentucky is the better basketball team right now,” said Pitino. “Running up and down and trying to outscore Kentucky would be a futile attempt to try to get a ‘W.’ They are a very good team defensively and that causes a lot of offense so we’ve got to really study. It’s more about personnel than it is any sets.”

Jeremy Lamb scored a game-high 23 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the floor in the victory at South Florida, 60-57. Lamb scored 16 points in the second half.

The game was the Huskies’ first on an away court this season and the first of a three-game suspension being served by coach Jim Calhoun. Associate head coach George Blaney took the controls and will do so again as UConn hosts St. John’s in Hartford on Saturday. The Huskies have dropped their last two meetings against the Red Storm after winning nine in a row.

Toarlyn Fitzpatrick recorded 14 points and game highs of 12 rebounds and three blocked shots in the loss. Augustus Gilchrist added 12 points and five rebounds. Stan Heath’s club will look to bounce back and get their first conference win on Sunday when they host Rutgers. USF has won their last three home meetings against the Scarlet Knights.

Senior Truck Bryant scored a career-high 34 points to lead West Virginia to an 83-69 victory over Villanova in the Big East opener for both teams last night at the WV Coliseum.

Kevin Jones, who suffered a cut near his right eye that required stitches, had 13 points and seven rebounds. Gary Browne came off the bench to score 11 points. Deniz Kilicli added 10 points, eight rebounds and two blocks.

WVU plays at Seton Hall Friday. The Mountaineers won last year’s meeting 56-44 in Morgantown.

Maalik Wayns and Dominic Cheek each scored 20 points in the loss for ‘Nova.

The key stretch of the game came with 5:47 left and the score tied at 63 when Bryant hit two of three free throws to start a 10-2 spurt where WVU took control of the game for good. Browne followed with a three-pointer and then Bryant answered a Wayns three with one of his own. Brown capped off the run with a driving lay-up to make the score 73-65

The lead eventually swelled to as many as 16 in the last minute, making the final distance between the two teams a little deceiving.

“That’s the best 7-6 team there is in the country,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins of Villanova. “I thought they were extremely physical.”

The Wildcats play Sunday at Marquette in their next outing, hoping to even their conference record.

Thursday’s schedule shows three BIG EAST teams hosting non-conference opponents, all on national television. Rutgers battles No. 10/10 Florida on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. followed by Vanderbilt at Marquette. At 9 p.m., ESPNU has Cincinnati hosting Oklahoma at US Bank Arena.

Thursday, December 29
Florida at Rutgers – ESPN2…………………………………..7:00
–Former RU guard Mike ROsario might miss homecoming because of back injury

Oklahoma at Cincinnati USBA – ESPNU…………………….9:00
–The Bearcats host Oklahoma Thursday at US Bank Arena. Last season UC beat the Sooners 66-56 in Oklahoma City.

Vanderbilt at Marquette – ESPN2…………………………9:00
–In last year’s matchup against Vandy, MU lost 77-76 in Nashville.

The 2012 BIG EAST Tournament promises to be one to remember. As usual, tickets will sellout, but fans can get yours early at the best prices by following the links below and get that special holiday gift for YOURSELF that you did not receive from your loved ones. Also, buy with our relationship with TicketNetwork and .


December 28, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

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
against Connecticut.

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
SETON HALL at SYRACUSE………………………………..7:00
VILLANOVA at WEST VIRGINIA…………………………….7:00

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.

The 2012 BIG EAST Tournament promises to be one to remember. As usual, tickets will sellout, but fans can get yours early at the best prices by following the links below and get that special holiday gift for YOURSELF that you did not receive from your loved ones. Also, buy with our relationship with TicketNetwork and .


November 16, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

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.”
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October 28, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Official Big 12 statement:

The Big 12 Conference Board of Directors have voted unanimously to accept West Virginia University as a full conference member effective July 1, 2012. The Mountaineers will begin competing in the Big 12 beginning with the 2012-13 athletic season.

West Virginia is the second new member to join the Conference since it began in 1996 after the addition of TCU earlier this month.

“The Big 12 Presidents and Chancellors are excited to welcome another outstanding institution to the Conference,” said Burns Hargis, Chair of the Big 12 Board of Directors and President of Oklahoma State University. “The addition of West Virginia, while expanding the reach of the Big 12, brings an impressive institution with esteemed academics and a proud athletic tradition into the Conference. This is another step in building a strong foundation for the future of the Big 12.”

“The Big 12 is a perfect fit for West Virginia University,” said WVU President Dr. James P. Clements. “It is a strong conference that, like WVU, values quality academic and athletic programs, and has a great tradition of success. This is a very exciting time for WVU and Mountaineer nation. I am confident that the future of WVU athletics has never been more promising.”

West Virginia University, located in Morgantown, sponsors 17 varsity sports. Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, football, soccer, swimming & diving and wrestling. Women’s sports are basketball, cross country, gymnastics, rowing, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis, indoor and outdoor track & field and volleyball. The Mountaineers also boast a co-ed rifle squad. The Big 12 sponsors every sport the Mountaineers participate in except rifle and men’s soccer.

“We are excited to add West Virginia to our exceptional lineup of Conference members,” said Big 12 Interim Commissioner Chuck Neinas. “They bring an excellent overall athletic program to the Big 12 and allow the league to expand into an area that boasts a passionate group of fans and alumni throughout its region.”

Since its inception 15 years ago, the Big 12 has won 42 team national championships and 492 NCAA individual crowns. In addition, more than 3,700 student-athletes have earned All-America First Team accolades for their play on the field with more than 500 being recognized with Academic All-America honors.

Beginning with the 2012-13 season it is expected that the Big 12 Conference will be comprised of 10 Universities – Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech and West Virginia. The Big 12’s footprint will encompass five states with over 36 million people. More than 4,100 student-athletes from across the United States and around the World compete annually in the 23 sports sponsored by the Conference.


October 28, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Statement from Commissioner John Marinatto on the departure of West Virginia:

“This move by West Virginia does not come as a surprise. League officials, members of our conference and the candidate schools to whom we have been talking were aware of this possibility. We have taken West Virginia’s possible departure into account as we have moved forward with our own realignment plans. West Virginia is fully aware that the Big East Conference is committed to enforcing the 27-month notification period for members who choose to leave the conference. We are confident that in the coming weeks we will complete our own realignment program, adding a number of high-quality members to remain among the top conferences in both football and basketball.”

What should the Big East do next? Well, here is my opinion on what the individual schools should decide to do: Enough is Enough!.


October 20, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

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.
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October 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

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

Preseason awards:

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:

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