NBE Basketball Report
Big East Tournament

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: 2012 BIG EAST TOURNAMENT SEMIFINALS SET

March 9, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

One of the most exciting nights of the year is upon us: Big East Tournament Semifinal Friday at Madison Square Garden.

This year’s doubleheader features No. 1 seed Syracuse taking on Mick Cronin’s 4th-seeded Cincinnati Bearcats at 7 PM and No. 7 seed Louisville matched up against No. 3 seed Notre Dame in the nightcap.

Since the conference went to the double-bye format, this is the best results for the teams with the double-bye, going 3-1 in the quarterfinals. Despite a very slow start offensively, Syracuse got past UConn 58-55 in the day’s first contest. Dion Waiters picked up the scoring slack while the starters took a while to find their footing at MSG, leading the Orange with 18 points off the bench. Fellow reserve James Southerland hit the clutch shots down the stretch to finish with 10.

For the Huskies, who saw their seven-game BIG EAST Tournament win streak snapped, Shabazz Napier led them in scoring with 15 points, but was just 5-17 from the floor. Andre Drummond added a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Read more

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.
Read more

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.
Read more

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.

Read more

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:

Read more

2012 BIG EAST TOURNAMENT IS SET TO TIP TUESDAY

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:

Read more

MERNAGH: FAB 5 RUN BY UCONN

March 13, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

I got to New York City on Monday afternoon, went out for a great dinner with my cousin and then went back to my hotel and went to bed.

I knew the next day was going to be the beginning of a whirlwind that was scheduled to start with the UConn vs DePaul game.

The Huskies dispatched the Blue Demons by getting out in transition. It was, Jim Calhoun was hoping, a get in rhythm type win. One that in the best circumstances could propel UConn to a good showing against Georgetown the following day.

And it did.

On Wednesday the kids from Storrs busted up Georgetown’s zone by running some of the best half-court offense I’d seen all year.

Kemba Walker was fantastic in both games, going for 26 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists against DePaul and 28, 6, 3 and 2 steals against the Hoyas.

By the end of day two, Wednesday, I was fatigued a bit — eight games in two days will do that to you (not to mention internet problems as you unsuccessfully try to write about said games).

I figured UConn must be tired too.

I figured wrong.

The next day at noon, having been bounced from my court-side perch by a freelancer, I settled down in the ramps to see how UConn would deal with their third noon game in three days — not to mention #1 seed Pitt.

Jeremy Lamb picked up the scoring slack for Walker — who was chased and hounded into an iffy-shooting night by Brad Wanamaker — by scoring 17 points. Shabazz Napier provided help as well with 10 of his own.

Alex Oriakhi was a monster, playing through foul trouble to put up 13 and 7 while getting huge offensive rebounds inside the last 5 minutes. Ashton Gibbs was going bananas for 27 and Walker started making some shots down the stretch.

Then, with the game tied and time running out, Kemba Walker sealed his place in Big East Tournament history with a step-back jumper that will live on as long as their is video tape.

Friday was finally a night-time game for the Huskies against Syracuse and their vaunted 2/3 zone.

Walker spit all over it. In a performance for the ages Kemba Walker scored 33 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, dished for 5 assists and stole the ball 6 times.

Oriakhi once again helped out with 15 and 11.

“I just want a Big East ring man,” the sophomore big told me afterwards, “hopefully we all have something left in the tank tomorrow night.”

I asked him if he thought Walker was tired?

“Nope, he doesn’t get tired,” said Oriakhi, “he’s like the energizer bunny.”

And last night, on Championship Saturday in New York City, Kemba Walker was indeed tired, bending over often late in the game to try and catch his breath.

But he fought through it, delivering a gorgeous wrap-around pass to Jeremy Lamb for a layup — after slicing through 3 or 4 Louisville bodies — that gave UConn all the points they would need in a 69-66 win over the Cards.

Oriakhi, Lamb and Roscoe Smith (huge 12 and 7 night for the rookie) joined Walker in double figures.

Five wins in five days is an incredible feat.

Oriakhi got his ring…and Kemba Walker secured his place in Big East history.

PITT LEFT MCGHEE ON AN ISLAND

March 11, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

by RAY MERNAGH

The UConn/Pitt game, a classic thriller featuring a back and forth battle between two of the best guards in the country in Kemba Walker and Ashton Gibbs, ended when Walker — not giving Gibbs a chance to retaliate as he did all night long — sank a cold-blooded step-back J at the buzzer that killed Pitt’s dreams of sweeping both the regular season and Big East Tournament titles. The last possession was curious for a number of reasons.

First, Connecticut got another chance at the game winner because Pitt didn’t get a body on Jamal Coombs-McDaniel after a missed shot by Walker from ten feet just seconds before. On that play UConn ran the same high ball screen for Walker and Gary McGhee hedged hard, then recovered to his man and Brad Wanamaker got back on to Walker. Pitt would’ve had the ball if Nasir Robinson had been able to block out McDaniel but he didn’t get to him.

Second, Walker admitted he was taking the final shot to me afterwards..”no matter what,” was the way he put it. He also admitted that he knew McGhee was going to switch the screen and he’d be isolated on the 6’10″ behemoth in a colossal mismatch of epic proportions. You have to figure Pitt knew Walker was going to take the shot as well.

After all, this is the kid I dubbed “Young Kemba the Lion” as a freshman, and he’s transformed into just that, a basketball killer in late-game situations no matter how chaotic they may be. He’s won a handful of games this season alone by making shots in crunch time. I go through all these things because it makes you wonder why Pitt allowed the situation to play out the way it did. If everyone knew Walker was going to take the shot, and that Pitt was going to switch in that late-game situation, why do what everyone knows you’re going to do when you have an NBA-level shot-maker on the other side and you know he’s not giving the rock up even to an Uzi-toting thug let alone Jeremy Lamb, Shabazz Napier or Jamal Coombs-McDaniel?

Because that was the gameplan according to Gibbs and everybody else in the somber Pittsburgh locker room afterwards. “That was the gameplan, switch everything 1 thru 5,” said Gibbs before adding, ” not sure it should’ve been” in a near-whisper. I’m positive it shouldn’t have been. Sure hindsight is 20/20, but if you let my 9-year-old niece ‘Lyse watch Kemba Walker on film, then show her clips of Gary McGhee and Brad Wanamaker, she’s gonna tell you with great affirmation that “Bradley should guard Kemba because he’s fast and he’ll probably make the big guy fall down!”

Now Lyse’s a smart cookie, not to mention the daughter of a coach, so she watches a ton of hoop, but she’s 9 and she would definitely know that matchup would not be beneficial for her Mama’s Panthers (her mom is a Pitt grad). Even Wanamaker didn’t want to switch. You can see he’s trying to get back on Kemba but McGhee is locked into his assignment. McGhee isn’t at fault. He’s doing what he’s been told to do.

There was lots of talk last night that Pitt lost the game because of rebounding and defense and blah blah blah. And to be sure all of the blahs didn’t help in their eventual defeat. Late in the first half they needed a timeout and didn’t take one — they had 3 30′s and a full left — until UConn’s run cut a 7-point Pitt lead to basically nothing.

But Pitt lost on that last shot by Walker because they left Gary McGhee on an island that needed to be inhabited by Wanamaker or Brown or any number of other Panthers. The one Panther that never should’ve been on it was McGhee.

And Young Kemba most definitely voted him off.

Notes On Last Night:

Was in the tunnel talking to UConn and Pitt when two St. John’s players carried DJ Kennedy past us with a doctor quickly following behind. The Pittsburgh kid has suffered through three very tough years and always played hard as teammates all around him transferred or lost interest in the losing they were going through. Finally this year, Kennedy has been a member of a winning team, an NCAA team, and he won’t be able to participate because he tore his ACL. Cruel game sometimes.

Notre Dame looked super-crisp against Cincinnati, winning by 38. The Irish are a joy to watch even in a blowout like last night because they all know how to play the game and are pretty skilled. Everyone around Ben Hansbrough is a threat to hit shots and the Cooley kid gives them interior defense and rebounding. Carlton Scott has a bright future with his skills, toughness and size IMHO. And Hansbrough is just so good both on and off the ball.

Louisville did what Louisville does and that’s make things frantic. They are really good athletes with speed. Marra and Kuric (especially Kuric) really battle against bigger bodies defensively and punish those bigger bodies offensively with their athleticism and shot-making prowess. Knowles can get his shot off with a centimeter of space, while Siva has sick-quickness.

There was a Fab Melo sighting! Melo, the Brazillian big that the coaches voted as preseason Rookie of the Year, scored 12 points and made some big plays in the ,a href=”http://www.nbebasketball.com/w3/big-east-team-pages/syracuse/”>Syracuse close win over the Johnnies. Great stuff from the formerly frustrated big man and credit to the ‘CUSE staff, especially assistant Hopkins, for continuing to coach him and rebuilding his confidence to the point that he’s contributing significantly in a postseason win after not ven playing down the stretch of regular season play.

Marquette finally kind of wore out I think but they equipped themselves well. they have tough kids who play hard. They need Jae Crowder to be tougher and come to play from here out though if they want to win some games in the NCAA’s. They need much more from Crowder than what he’s been giving them. He came off the bench last night and played hit shots early. Louisville had too much in almost every area for Marquette though.
——————————————————————————————–

For travel deals and arrangements, click here: Book Air and/or hotel for NYC and 2011 BIG EAST Tournament
icon

The tournament made be sold out to the general public, but below you can STILL buy tickets through our unique partnership with TicketNetwork.com. Below is the schedule for tonight and tomorrow with links to view and buy available tickets.





2011 BIG EAST TOURNAMENT PRIMER & NOTES – - SEMIFINALS

March 11, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Notes (and pictures) provided by Ray Floriani

NEW YORK CITY – Day three, the quarterfinals at the 2011 Big East Tournament. Notes and thoughts…

Jim Boeheim admitted he could not complain. His Syracuse club outlasted St. John‘s in a hard fought 79-73 decision. The second game of the afternoon doubleheader saw the Orange get the key stops and make the crucial plays down the stretch. Score was tied at 68 with two minutes to play.

2011 BIG EAST Tournament is living up to the hype.


Boeheim has admitted not being a fan of the double bye. He would rather play than sit around and wait while others are getting past the early nerves and finding a groove.

The double bye did not affect Syracuse in this contest. Still, Boeheim is no fan of it.

Boeheim was asked about facing a Connecticut team that will be playing its fourth game in four days. “They (UCONN) are deeper,” Boehiem said. “Plus I think Kemba Walker could go forty minutes eight straight days.” Walker was outstanding, scoring 24 points and canning the winning buzzer beater.

Read more

MERNAGH: QUICK UCONN/PITT PRIMER

March 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

IMHO you can throw out just about everything about the first game between these two, a 78-63 Pitt win at home.

Just about everything, but not everything.

Pitt would love for the game to get to a point where Kemba Walker feels like he has to take 27 shots to give his team a chance to win. Walker scored 35 in that game but UConn, despite the fact that they were always within a run of winning the game until late, never once threatened to win it.

But that UConn team hasn’t existed for quite some time.

Walker was magnificent yesterday and made the most impressive play I’ve seen so far in this tournament when he closed on the much bigger Hollis Thompson of Georgetown, tracked Thompson as he drove to the elbow area and then elevated to block the 6’8″ forwards shot and gain possession all in the span of maybe 2 seconds. That in itself would’ve been impressive enough but the human jet then went coast to coast and finished through contact for the and one.

Walker is making those kinds of plays but the difference is the young bucks around him, at least yesterday, are playing with a great deal of confidence and have the requisite talent to make that confidence scary. If freshmen Jeremy Lamb, Shabazz Napier, Roscoe Smith play freely and smart, and sophomore Alex Oriahki continues to go to the glass with a possessed mind state they are capable of beating anyone…including a Pitt team that’s coming into a noon game a bit cold compared to the Huskies.

And that’s the key for Pitt IMHO –to get off to a decent start so they don’t find themselves in a hole early.

Has the makings of a helluva game…and a helluva day.

Main Note On Last Night:

Marquette’s Junior Cadougan was incredible, coming up with clutch baskets each time the Warriors needed one and being an intelligent, calmning influence when it seemed his mates might succumb to the chaos that results when all hell breaks loose in a 1-2 possession game this time of year. Marquette bounced WVU mainly because of Cadougan’s play, he was that big. Now Buzz Williams and his bunch get another shot at Louisville, a team that they self-destructed against earlier this season. I said on radio two days ago that Marquette was my darkhorse to go deep into the week. A win tonight against the Cards will make them the people’s favorite no doubt.
——————————————————————————————

Still need your BIG EAST Tournament tickets? We have YOUR seat below! Follow the links below to the individual sessions you desire or buy for the entire event. Even with the games starting in less than three hours today it is not too late and still GREAT prices and GREAT seats available! The quarterfinals are only the warm-up to great action ahead for Friday and Saturday in this historic event!

Need a place to stay in NYC for the weekend, click here to Book Air and/or hotel for NYC and the 2011 BIG EAST Tournament
icon


For travel deals and arrangements, click here: Book Air and/or hotel for NYC and 2011 BIG EAST Tournament
icon




2011 BIG EAST TOURNAMENT PRIMER – - QUARTERFINALS

March 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

As if the 2011 BIG EAST Tournament did not need any more attention…the events of Wednesday transpires. The officiating meltdown of the last minute in the St. John’s/Rutgers game will take away from the excellent college basketball competition that we saw in that game, as well as the day’s nightcap with West Virginia/Marquette. No doubt the controvoersy will continue to overshadow the event today, which features a tremendous pair of double-headers in both the afternoon and evening sessions. Eight NCAA Tournament teams will compete on the Madison Square Garden court today and expect the Garden to be full from start to finish for these four games:

QUARTERFINALS: THURSDAY MARCH 10th:

–No. 9 Connecticut vs. No. 1 Pittsburgh, 12 noon.
–No. 5 St. John’s vs. No. 4 Syracuse, 2 PM.

Season Series: The Panthers and Huskies opened the 2010-2011 BIG EAST conference schedule with a December 27th date at the Peterson Events Center on the Pitt campus. Jamie Dixon’s club welcomed the young pops of UConn to the BIG EAST with a 78-63 thumping. Kemba Walker was the lone Husky in double figures, scoring 31, but he needed 27 shots to do so. The rest of the team was just 9-33 (27%) from the field. On the other hand, Pitt got 21 points from Ashton Gibbs, 14 from Brad Wanamaker and double-doubles from Gary McGhee (11 points, 11 rebounds) and Nasir Robinson (11 points, 10 rebounds). The Panthers also assisted on 19 of their 24 made field goals while UConn was credited with just 6 assists as a team. The Huskies have matured a lot since that game as the five freshmen have now been through 20 games of BIG EAST competition, including their two wins at MSG already in the 2011 BIG EAST Tournament.

While the talk all week has been how good the Red Storm have been in Madison Square Garden this season, SJU has not forgotten the 76-59 shellacking they took at the hands of the Orange on this very floor back on January 12th. SU came into the Garden and shot 57% from the floor and 45% from beyond the arc as they blew Steve Lavin’s crew out. Kris Joseph led four Syracuse players in double figures with 18 points. SU also held a 40-32 edge on the boards, with Rick Jackson posting a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. The Red Storm was able to force 20 turnovers and that pressure defense will have to be turned up another notch this afternoon. Expect SU to sit in their patented 2-3 zone and see if SJU can make them pay from beyond the arc.

————————————————————————————————————————————-

–No. 7 Cincinnati vs. No. 2 Notre Dame, 7 PM.
–No. 11 Marquette vs. No. 3 Louisville, 9 PM.

Season Series: The Irish got past UC 66-58 at Purcell Pavilion in South Bend (IN) back on January 19th. ND used a balanced attack with five players in double figures to come away with the victory. That contest saw Carleton Scott return from injury, snapping a two-game losing streak for the Irish and would kickstart a seven game winning streak and Mike Brey’s club has won 11 of 12 since. Redshirt freshman Sean Kilpatrick had a team-high 16 for UC in the loss. The Bearcats are playing well, winning six of their last seven, and look poised for their first NCAA Tournament appearance under Mick Cronin.

The day’s nightcap features the Golden Eagles and Cardinals, two former Conference USA rivals. The two teams played a classic at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville back on January 15th as UL came out on top 71-70. Fans will remember the story as Rick Pitino’s club finished the game on a 24-5 run in the final 5:44 to erase a 65-47 deficit for the win. Preston Knowles buried four three-pointers in the run and his ability to find Kyle Kuric open for the winning layup with four seconds left completed the remarkable comeback. Knowles finished with a game-high 17 in the win. Darius Johnson-Odom scored 16 for MU in the first meeting.
—————————————————————————————————

Still need your BIG EAST Tournament tickets? We have YOUR seat below! Follow the links below to the individual sessions you desire or buy for the entire event. Even with the games starting in less than three hours today it is not too late and still GREAT prices and GREAT seats available! The quarterfinals are only the warm-up to great action ahead for Friday and Saturday in this historic event!

Need a place to stay in NYC for the weekend, click here to Book Air and/or hotel for NYC and the 2011 BIG EAST Tournament
icon


For travel deals and arrangements, click here: Book Air and/or hotel for NYC and 2011 BIG EAST Tournament
icon




WEDNESDAY EVENING NOTES FROM BIG EAST BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT

March 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

by RAY FLORIANI

NEW YORK CITY – Notes and thoughts from day two, the evening session, at the 2011 BIG EAST Tournament.

Entering the press room for the evening doubleheader the big news concerned the ending of the Rutgers-St. John’s game. And that ’buzz’ and debate seemed to last through the games, and I’m sure into the night.

As a veteran of years of officiating I will not comment on the crew’s performance. Suffice to say they weren’t looking forward to getting to the locker room with the prospect of Art Hyland, the Big East Supervisor, in all likelihood there to ask a few tough questions.

Cincinnati cheerleaders celebrate UC's 25th win Wednesday night at MSG


Is there another 25 win team with less respect than Cincinnati? All the Bearcats do is win, and fail to get respect by the pollsters. Bearcat coach Mick Cronin is not pleased with the constant oversights and lack of mention. The Cincy mentor did sum it all up saying, “I tell my team you want respect, win tomorrow and you will get it.”

‘Tomorrow’ is a quart final date with a powerful Notre Dame team in the quarterfinals.

Cincy very impressive in their 87-61 win over South Florida. They limited the Bulls to 37% two point range shooting while hitting 67% on their end.
T
The numbers from the two evening contests:

Team……………………Possessions……………………..Offensive Efficiency
South Florida………………..65……………………………………..94
Cincinnati…………………….67……………………………………130

In the last game of the evening Marquette defeated West Virginia 67-61 guaranteeing a new Big East champion this year.

Team…………………………………Possessions……………………….Offensive Efficiency
Marquette………………………………….61……………………………………..110
West Virginia……………………………….61…………………………………….100

Thought Bob Huggins going to a 1-3-1 late was a good move. Show something different. One problem, Darius Johnson-Odom found an opening in the zone and buried two crucial treys. Right after the second trey, Huggins went back man to man.

Working media room at MSG for Big East Tournament Wednesday


Steve Masiello was a press row neighbor. A Louisville assistant, Masiello advanced scouted both games for Rick Pitino’s staff. Reminded Steve of the story he told me about holding Mike Bibby scoreless in the NCAA finals back in ‘97. Masiello was a Kentucky reserve and saw about 30 seconds of action. During that time Bibby did not score. But his Arizona club did win the national championship.

Met the Mountaineer as he was polishing his rifle in the cheerleader holding area on the way to the interview room. He assured me he does not carry the rifle on the New York streets, opting for a musical instrument case instead. Very judicious move.

Junior guard Anthony Crater only played 19 minutes for South Florida. Crater was injured the latter part of the first half. Bulls trailed by only 8 at the half and coach Stan Heath felt they did not play that well. Minus Crater, South Florida struggled.

Heath is encouraged as for he second straight year, his club won a first round game before being eliminated.

During time outs is there anyone in the stands NOT texting or checking messages?

Yancy Gates of Cincinnati probably had the best all around game of the evening doubleheader. The 6-9 junior had 25 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocked shots. Gates shot 10 of 11 from the floor.

St. Peter’s coach John Dunne was at the evening session receiving congratulations from a number of well wishers. NicK Mariniello, doing a great job at Hudson Catholic(NJ) High School was also on hand. Mariniello coached St. Peter’s’ Wesley Jenkins while at Bloomfield Tech.

West Virginia scored only two field goals the final eight minutes of the game. Both were by senior forward John Flowers. Score was tied at 53 with eight minutes to go.

Quarterfinals naturally feature four solid matchups. Definitely feel St. John’s-Syracuse will be a lot closer than their January meeting won easily by the Orange at MSG. Steve Lavin’s club has defeated a number of high profile opponents since then and will be a tough out.

Fans enter MSG on Wednesday for the 2011 BIG EAST Tournament. You can still join them for the great action ahead...

For the sixth consecutive year, all tickets to the BIG EAST Men’s Basketball Tournament Championship have been sold in advance. All ticket packages for the 2011 Championship have been purchased by the 16 member institutions, negating the need for a public sale at Madison Square Garden, also possibly making it the toughest ticket in town.

Still need your BIG EAST Tournament tickets? We have YOUR seat below! Follow the links below to the individual sessions you desire or buy for the entire event. Even with the games starting in less than three hours it is not too late and still GREAT prices and GREAT seats available!

Need a place to stay in NYC for the tournament, click here to Book Air and/or hotel for NYC and the 2011 BIG EAST Tournament
icon


For travel deals and arrangements, click here: Book Air and/or hotel for NYC and 2011 BIG EAST Tournament
icon




MERNAGH: REFS NEED TO BE ACCOUNTABLE & RETURN TO THE BACKGROUND

March 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

It happens in every game you watch I bet — a referee suddenly go on turbo blast, hopping into the fray (and the camera frame) to do a little Jig while making a block/charge call.

And then there’s the ref who positions himself at the oppsite side of the court during a timeout and — instead of doing what he should do and ignore a coach who’s venting his spleen — glare at the upset coach with Frank Martin-eyes (especially if the cameras are on and he knows some Syracuse grad will mention it).

And how about the refs that act as if they’re working the room, engaging in friendly banter with media and TV types, winking and preening for the television announcers?

The examples above have become common place in college basketball.

Officials are now a huge part of the show and it has to stop. They should be on the court to officiate, not to grandstand.

It used to be said you knew a game was well officiated when the refs weren’t mentioned.

We need to get back to that

And the inexcusable job done by Jim Burr, Tim Higgins and Earl Walton in the Rutgers/St. John’s game this afternoon is as good a starting point as any.

In a hotly contested Big East Tournament game they failed to make three calls that were quite evident down the stretch — but those are understandable if they stand alone (they still might make Mike Rice’s skin crawl, but as the classy RU coach said afterwards mistakes are going to happen). What’s not understandable is that after creating an absolutely chaotic scene with those no-calls, they folded and ran off the floor like scared little boys.

Just yesterday Rice’s player Gil Biruta was penalized after the referees went to video on a call they didn’t make on the floor during the action (even though two of them were looking right at it). Biruta fouled out because of that call made with video review. Today three officials looked on as Justin Brownlee stepped out of bounds, took two steps and flung the ball into the stands with TIME STILL ON THE CLOCK. Not one of the three blew a single whistle during any of the three actions by Brownlee. Because they stopped officiating with time on the clock, the clock operator correctly let the clock run because there was never a whistle signaling a stoppage of play. Since judgement calls such as traveling or out-of-bounds are not reviewable, the officials had nothing to review because there was not a timing error and the game was over.

Today, Biruta and all his teammates were penalized because the referees stopped doing their JOB before the game was over.

The NCAA’s head of officiating called it “unacceptable”, the BIG EAST commissioner released a statement admitting to “errors made”. None of that gives Rutgers the chance to finish the game. That would be all they want, the chance to finish the game.

A basketball game is 40 minutes long by rule.

There were only 39 minutes and 58 seconds played in the Scarlet Knights two-point loss to St. John’s. Rutgers was denied a final possession despite all the facts proving they deserved one.

That cannot happen.

But it did…and that’s a problem.
—————————————————————————————-

For the sixth consecutive year, all tickets to the BIG EAST Men’s Basketball Tournament Championship have been sold in advance. All ticket packages for the 2011 Championship have been purchased by the 16 member institutions, negating the need for a public sale at Madison Square Garden, also possibly making it the toughest ticket in town.

Still need your BIG EAST Tournament tickets? We have YOUR seat below! Follow the links below to the individual sessions you desire or buy for the entire event. Even with the games starting in less than three hours it is not too late and still GREAT prices and GREAT seats available!

Need a place to stay in NYC for the tournament, click here to Book Air and/or hotel for NYC and the 2011 BIG EAST Tournament
icon


For travel deals and arrangements, click here: Book Air and/or hotel for NYC and 2011 BIG EAST Tournament
icon




MERNAGH: CRATER HAS HIS MOMENT

March 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Anthony Crater had a big reputation as a young high school point guard in Flint, Michigan.

By big I mean huge. And with that huge rep came the hoisted-upon pressure that too many people put on young kids when they show a certain skill at a very early age. In Crater’s case his skill was speed. The kid they used to call ‘Noopy’ had a burst off the bounce that still is very rare even at the Big East level he currently plays at.

But that pressure, that fall we almost anticipate and expect kids to have when we rank them in single digits as prospects, can often be a really tough road.

After giving a commitment to Ohio State, Crater moved away from Flint — and all the much-discussed distractions for young folks in that city — and went to Brewster Academy (in New Hampshire) to play for Jason Smith. He arrived at Ohio State and was getting decent minutes for a first-year point guard, but he wasn’t getting huge minutes and that made the folks who had his ear unhappy.

He was the man they told him.

He was being disrespected.

Chirp, chirp, chirp.

So Crater, like a young kid who doesn’t know better, bolted after what could charitably be called a half-season and ended up at South Florida.

Read more

2011 BIG EAST TOURNAMENT PRIMER – - DAY TWO

March 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

* Day One Notes Below provided by Ray Floriani

Today’s Schedule (and tickets):

ROUND TWO: WEDNESDAY MARCH 9th:

–No. 9 Connecticut vs. No. 8 Georgetown, 12 noon.
–No. 13 Rutgers vs. No. 5 St. John’s, 2 PM.

Outside MSG on Day One of 2011 BIG EAST Tournament

Season Series: In their lone meeting on February 16, UConn scored a 78-70 win at the Hartford Civic Center. Kemba Walker pored in 31 points and also added 10 assists and 7 rebounds and Jamal Coombs-McDaniel added 23. The Hoyas got a team-high 19 points from point guard Chris Wright as the senior guard connected on five shots from three-point range. Wright will miss today’s game with a broken left (non-shooting) hand. Wright was injured early in the 2nd half of their Feb. 23 58-46 loss to Cincinnati which began a three-game losing streak for the Hoyas entering the 2011 BIG EAST Basketball Tournament.

In their lone battle this season, the Red Storm snuck past Rutgers at Carnesecca Arena, 58-56, back on Feb. 2. The Scarlet Knights turned the ball over 23 times in the contest. Dwight Hardy led the winners with 15 points while Jonathan Mitchell scored 21 for RU in the loss.
——————————————————————————————

–No. 15 South Florida vs. No. 7 Cincinnati, 7 PM.
–No. 11 Marquette vs. No. 6 West Virginia, 9 PM.

Season Series: The Bearcats defeated USF 74-66 at Fifth Third Arena back on January 12th. Sean Kilpatrick led four Bearcats in double-figures with a game-high 18 points. UC turned the Bulls over 18 times in that contest. Ron Anderson Jr. led USF with 13 points in that contest.

The Golden Eagles and Mountaineers met on New Year’s Day in Milwaukee with Marquette coming out on top, 79-74. Jae Crowder had 29 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals in that contest with Darius Johnson-Odom adding 21. In a losing cause, ‘Truck’ Bryant scored 25 for WVU. Buzz Williams’ crew won the battle of the boards 36-24 in the first meeting.
—————————————————————————————-

Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Louisville and Syracuse await Wednesday’s winners in the quarterfinal round Thursday at MSG. Teams with double-byes are just 3-5 in the quarterfinals the last two seasons since the 16-team format was introduced.

Read more

MERNAGH: DESPITE HAZELL’S CLUTCH THREE, RUTGERS OUTLASTS SETON HALL IN OT

March 8, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

by RAY MERNAGH

Seton Hall, the team folks expected to be at least in contention for a tournament berth prior to the season finds itself in need of an unprecedented, and damn-near impossible, five-game run here in New York to make that dream a reality. The Pirates are on a bit of a roll though having won two straight games against quality opponents (St. John’s and Marquette) to close out their regular season.

In Jeremy Hazell, and to a lesser degree Herb Pope, Jeff Robinson and Jordan Theodore, the Hall seemingly posseses the talent necessary (especially when you throw in frosh Fuquan Edwin) to go deep in the week here. But that’s the thing about Kevin Willard’s group — they’re capable of scoring 90 (like they did at Syracuse on 1/25) or scoring 48 like they did in a loss at Notre Dame (not exactly a defensive juggernaut those Irish). When you add all that up, then throw Rutgers into the mix as their opponent, it really wasn’t clear at all how Hazell and company would respond.

Well, Hazell responded to the tune of 27 points, the last 3 of which put this game into overtime when an almost disasterous decision by Rutgers not to foul down three with mere seconds remaining.

Rutgers got the better of the X and O battle up to that point. They consistently got Jonathan Mitchell good looks down the stretch in a tight game and the Mt. Vernon native reponded time and again with either buckets or free throws. Mitchell finished with 25 points on 6-13 shooting and was 11-14 from the line.

Jeff Robinson kept jacking 3′s for the Hall even though he never made one. He was 0-7 on the day from distance and 4-16 overall. Seton Hall’s offense in the halfcourt left a ton to be desired, one possession in particular was absolutely brutal and ended with Hazell shooting a fading 3 as he fell into his team’s bench. Fortunately the ref whistled Rutgers for a foul on the play.

Rice said afterwards his philosophy was/is/not so sure now/ to not foul in that situation ever since he watched a game end badly for a team that did foul. He also admitted that philosophy might change going forward, “especially when you have a shooter like Hazell on the other team.”

It was a crazy game that featured Gil Biruta of Rutgers fouling out on a dead ball technical contact foul (definitely a case of video not being needed in this instance). Biruta was effective all day in the post and his departure seemed like it would doom the Scarlet Knights.

But just like Hazell’s 3 didn’t, niether did the curious call made by officials not on the floor but after they looked at the video monitor.

Rutgers will now face St. John’s tomorrow in another Metropolitan battle.

ROUND TWO: WEDNESDAY MARCH 9th:

–No. 9 Connecticut vs. No. 8 Georgetown, 12 noon.
–No. 13 Rutgers vs. No. 5 St. John’s, 2 PM.




MERNAGH: WALKER LEADS UCONN PAST DEPAUL

March 8, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Coming into his third Big East Tournament Kemba Walker was definitely looking for some better results, both for his team and himself.

In his two Big East tournament apppearances so far (which consists of two games) Walker averaged 10 points a game and 6 assists while shooting a dismal .229 from the field. Obviously UConn went 0 for 2 in those games.

So coming into today’s contest against a game but overmatched DePaul squad, Walker was ready to erase all memories of those Garden struggles from his psyche.

Walker did just that with a 26 point, 7 rebound and 5 assist performance in a harder than the final score suggests 97-71 win over DePaul. The Blue Demons pressure turned UConn over 20 times and they cut a once 20-plus point lead to 8 midway through the second half.

Walker calmed Calhoun’s troops — and any idea of an upset — with a pullup jumper along the baseline at the 7:09 mark that put his team up 76-63.

From there, UConn cruised to the 26-point victory.

Jeremy Lamb had a great first half with 17 points and finished the game with 19. Alex Oriakhi had a monster line with 13 points and 19 rebounds for UConn (who had 46-22 board advantage). The Huskies will take on No. 8 seed Georgetown on Wednesday in Round Two.

DePaul was led by their freshmen duo of Brandon young (20) and Moses Morgan (14) while also getting a good shooting day from Jeremiah Kelly (5-10 on 3′s) for his 15 points.

ROUND TWO: WEDNESDAY MARCH 9th:

–No. 9 Connecticut vs. No. 8 Georgetown, 12 noon.
–13/12 Winner vs. No. 5 St. John’s, 2 PM.




2011 BIG EAST TOURNAMENT PRIMER – - DAY ONE

March 8, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Intro by Ray Floriani

LYNDHURST, NJ – The Big East Tournament will tip off in a few hours at Madison Square Garden. Five days of new stories to be written, a mix of the surprising, disappointing. The ’what happened to’ and a Cinderella usually added for good measure.

Game two in this afternoon’s session will be the ’rubber’ match of the battle between New Jersey’s two Big East schools. When Rutgers faces Seton Hall in the tournament’s second game of the schedule, approximately 2:30, a former officiating partner will be there. Not on the floor, the bench.

About six years ago a call came on a Summer morning asking if I could get to College of New Jersey. The Eastern Camp needed more officials. Instantly accepted but reminded the caller, the trip would be about an hour. No problem.

Arrived at TCNJ late morning and was told by the coordinator, “you will work with a camp counselor. Do you know Mike Rice?” Of course I did having covered his games as a Fordham point guard and following his coaching career. Mike knew me, more from the journalistic end. We were scheduled and worked three games. Told him to forget the signals, coaches just want the calls and don’t worry about positioning as much, I could work and adjust off his court location. Most important, I told Mike he played at a high level in college so officiating wouldn’t be impossible for him. In other words, he knew the game.

It was a high school team camp. We had some competitive clubs as one from Virginia as well as Neptune and CBA, two strong New Jersey programs. The games went well. Mike put his intensity seen these days on the Rutgers sideline, and conscientiousness into the effort. He was good with the coaches who may have questioned a call or no call. Showed a lot of patience in working the games and was impressive with his judgment. As noted, playing at the high level of DI, gave him the ability to decide on a call or pass on a ‘no call’. It was just a thrill and pleasure to work with him.

Not long after I mentioned the experience in my Eastern Basketball Magazine column, Mike was starting on Phil Martelli’s staff at St. Joseph’s. Mike told me later he copied the column to send to recruits. Why? To show prospects that coaches at St. Joseph’s will do anything and go the extra mile to help the kids in their program.

Read more

2011 BIG EAST TOURNAMENT PREVIEW

March 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The 2011 BIG EAST Tournament is upon us, tipping off at high noon Tuesday at Madison Square Garden. All 16 teams from the conference converge on New York City for a five day basketball festival that promises to capture the attention of college basketball fans across the country.

In a season unlike any other seen before in the BIG EAST, Jamie Dixon and his Pittsburgh club led the regular season wire-to-wire after being pegged as the favorites by the league’s coaches last fall. The Panthers tied their school-record with 15 league wins, the same number the Sam Young, DeJuan Blair-led Pitt squad of 2008-2009. That club went on to the Elite 8 of the NCAA Tournament, this team is looking for more.

“We really want to make this special for the seniors, especially with the team we have,” said senior Gilbert Brown following the regular season finale against Villanova. “We have a special group of individuals. I think we’re capable of doing a lot of great things. This is just the first step. I feel really confident going into the postseason.”

Brown was a key contributor off the bench for the 2008-2009 team as a sophomore and played a key role in Pitt’s BIG EAST Tournament championship win in 2008 against Georgetown, scoring 12 points as a redshirt freshman in that game.

Read more

MERNAGH’S FIRST DAY BIG EAST TOURNAMENT PREVIEW

March 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

by RAY MERNAGH

Below is my first day preview/breakdown/analysis of the 2011 Big East Tournament. I’m writing this at midnight Sunday, five or six hours before I hit the road for the trip to NYC.

We kick things off Tuesday with No. 16 DePaul vs. No. 9 Connecticut at 12 Noon. Syracuse scored something like 195 points against DePaul on Saturday. UConn should be able to score at least 85 and win easily. If they don’t, Jim Calhoun’s post-game presser will be legendary and Oliver Purnell might go into shock.

The second game features #13 Rutgers against #12 Seton Hall. Neighborhood battle here. The Hall is on a run having beaten St. John’s and Marquette in back-to-back home games. Jeremy Hazell could go for 30, Jordan Theodore has looked very good and Jeff Robinson and the (Herb) Pope are always dangerous. Mike Rice will have a plan to limit Hazell’s touches and to make him hit tough shots.

The Scarlet Knights will be ready and each team won on the others floor in the regular season in two closely contested games. I expect the same thing here. Look for this to be a one possession game with five minutes left to play. Whoever makes more plays in that five minutes will get the win and move on to face St. John’s in Wednesday’s 2pm game. Rutgers needs Dane Miller to have an efficient game offensively and rebound the ball while also needing Gil Biruta to stay out of foul trouble to win. Seton Hall needs to limit turnovers and share the ball. They would also be helped by getting out in transition.

You can STILL get your tickets, see link below…



—————————————————————————————-

Session 2 on Tuesday starts with #15 South Florida against #10 Villanova in a 7pm tip. The Bulls have a skilled frontcourt that’s got a world of talent. It baffles me that they’re so bad. I watched them get whatever they wanted offensively against Pitt last month only to fade in the last 10 minutes because they started getting out of their offense (and likely because the Panthers turned things up defensively). Still, this team, if focused and taking care of the ball while playing through Gilchrist, Famous and Fitzpatrick, could give the banged up Wildcats a game. Of course they haven’t been able to do that since the first few weeks of the season so…’Nova probably finds a way to get through and face a hot Cincinnati club at 7pm on Wednesday.

The nightcap of the first day has a batch of offensive fireworks ready to explode all ove the Garden floor as #14 Providence battles #11 Marquette. I was wrong regarding the Golden Eagles by the way. I thought there was no way this group finished 8th and they finished three spots below that and find themselves fighting for their tournament life. DJO, Jimmy F. Butler and Jae Crowder have to rise up in this one. PC will counter with Marshon “Fitty2″ Brooks who admittedly hasn’t been the same since he almost put the entire Notre Dame staff on Psyche Leave that memorable night (the Irish won, saving any potential commitments). Buzz Williams and crew needs this one bad. IMHO the Warriors (as I will always know them as) show up ready, while PC packs it in…unless of course Brooks goes all Chris Jackson circa ’88 on them. In that case, anything’s possible. Something tells me this has the chance, along with the Jersey Game, to be the most entertaining contest of Day 1.



———————————————————————-

Somebody’s honking their horn. I think it’s my ride. I’ll most likely be doing daily guest spots with Joe Bendel on ESPN 970 during the week. Joe’s on from 4-7 each afternoon and you can listen live at this link. For updates all week, including what times I’ll be going live with Joe, follow me on twitter @raymern or follow NBE Sports on Twitter ( http://twitter.com/NBESports) and the NBE facebook page.

Don’t forget, you can join us this week in NYC, too. For travel deals and arrangements, click here: Book Air and/or hotel for NYC and 2011 BIG EAST Tournament
icon.

Back at you soon!

As a side note…the potential (I stress potential as teams like SHU/RU and Georgetown hope to have something to say about this) Thursday afternoon match-ups for the Quarterfinals has become one of the hottest MSG tickets I can remember for a mid-week afternoon BIG EAST Tournament ever. Everyone knows how well Syracuse and Connecticut (if they get past DePaul AND Georgetown) draw at MSG, throw in a revitalized St. John’s and #1 seed Pittsburgh and you have a tremendous matinee of basketball that will have the attention of the nation. Don’t miss your chance to be there live…but the prices are going up by the minute each time I check…so, buy now…





Next Page »

  • Your Ad Here
  • Your Ad Here
  • Your Ad Here
NBE Basketball Report · SiteMap