Posted on: March 8, 2009 4:19 pm

Big East Conference Tournament Preview

Great weekend of basketball this weekend, from the Duke/UNC matchup to the Syracuse/Marquette game to the Pitt/UConn game all the way down to the Missouri Valley Conference Championship between Illinois State and Northern Iowa. The Big East Tournament is all set, the 16 seeds are locked, so it's time to look at the matchups and see who is going to be able to make a run to the top.

The Tuesday games in the first round should be no brainers, at least I think.

9 Cincinatti vs. 16 Depaul - 12PM - Depaul has not won a conference game this year, don't expect that to change, although Cincy has been slipping all over the place lately

12 Georgetown vs. 13 St. Johns - 2PM - This one should be interesting. St. John's is playing at home, coming off of a win over Georgetown last week, but expect the Hoyas to give the Red Storm enough trouble to win that game.

10 Notre Dame vs. 15 Rutgers - 7PM - Be careful of Notre Dame. If they can shoot the ball over 40 percent they could be very dangerous.

11 Seton Hall vs. 14 South Florida - 9PM - There is no reason why Seton Hall should lose this game. We shall see.

This would put 9 Cincy vs. 8 Providence, 5 Marquette vs. 12 Georgetown, 7 West Virginia vs. 10 Notre Dame, and 6 Syracuse vs. 11 Seton Hall. I like Providence, Marquette, Notre Dame, and Syracuse. (Notre Dame is my upset team for this tournament)

In the third round, we have then 1 Louisville vs. 8 Providence, 4 Villanova vs. 5 Marquette, 2 Pittsburgh vs. 10 Notre Dame, and 3 UConn vs. 6 Syracuse. I have Louisville, Pitt, Nova, and UConn all winning here, but don't be suprised at all if Marquette and Syracuse advance to the semifinals.

In the Semis, Louisville vs. Nova and Pitt vs. UConn. Pitt clearly will beat UConn again and I like Villanova over Louisville. Pittsburgh should win the whole thing somewhat easily, with their toughest test coming vs. UConn in the semis. I say that Marquette could upset Villanova, and this is true, but if Villanova wins that game then I think they could beat Louisville if they play well and play defense.


Another thing, if you did not watch the Missouri Valley Conference Championship, you missed one heck of a basketball game. Northern Iowa got off to an early lead in the first half, only to see Illinois State claw its way back into the game through halftime. The entire second half was back and forth trading of leads, and absolute slugfest. The Illinois State run was led by Osiris Eldrich, hitting three circus-type threes in a row to give the Redbirds the lead. Northern Iowa is a higher seed despite Ill. St. having a better overall record. Ill. St. got the last possession of regulation, tied up at 48, and forced up a terrible-looking three which sent the game into overtime. Northern Iowa eventually won it in a shootout-type overtime period - but it goes to show you that when you're playing for a tournament berth the games are just going to get better and better.




Posted on: March 4, 2009 12:23 pm

Syracuse vs. Rutgers

So in my previous post, I outlined the fact that Notre Dame, Georgetown, and Syracuse need to get off their slides, Georgetown more than any of those teams, but only one team has proven that they deserve to be in the tournament and that is Syracuse. Granted, the schedule has been a little lackluster, but their three consecutive blowout wins are exactly what the Orange needed to do to solidify a spot in March.

The game last night was particularly impressive for Syracuse, if you erase the fact that the first half actually existed. The Syracuse defense was lackluster, they weren't getting the rotation in the zone that they needed, and Rutgers started the game up 14-6. It looked like the Orange's offense was very still, and their drives to the hoop were getting rejected by the big men. The defense started to clamp down at about the 10:00 mark, allowing only 6 points the rest of the half. Cuse went into halftime down 20-19.

Boeheim must have said something at halftime, because Syracuse came out in the second half and outscored Rutgers 51-20 in the second. Paul Harris had a game high 18 points, with about four really nice slams and moves that would make the highlight reel. Senior Kristof Onganeat really stepped up his game and scored in double digits for the first time in a long time. The crowd has been recently rallying behind him ever since he got ejected from the game against Georgetown. The walk-ons came in at about the 4:00 mark left in the game, and all of the seniors on the team scored.

Rutgers looks so bad right now. They can't play a full 40 minutes, they have no offense, and they barely have a defense. The program isn't looking real good right now.

My favorite moment of the game was when the starters were all on the bench. They took their shoes off, signed them, and then started chucking them into the stands. It was quite dangerous, but the guy in front of me got one of Arinze Onuaku's shoes. It was pretty awesome.

Syracuse 22-8 (10-7) has put themselves into good position to lock up anywhere from a 5-7 seed in the tournament. Georgetown has absolutely no shot after losing to St. John's and Notre Dame has an outside chance of making it in. If the committee puts Notre Dame in the tournament and leaves Providence out, I will probably riot. And if anyone tells me that Georgetown deserves to be even in the discussion come to New York so that I can slap you in the face, please.



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