Big East Preview – Part 3

Whew. Sorry for the delay everyone. Still recovering from a nasty bout with food poisoning. I simply was unable to concentrate on anything productive this week until I gained a little more sanity. Without further ado, here is Tier 3:

9. St. Johns Red Storm 17-16 (6-12) – The Red Storm are loaded with experience. They have 10 seniors on the team as well as a new coach – Steve Lavin. The only significant player gone from last year’s squad is Anthony Mason Jr.

Returning a bunch of players and having a senior laden team is usually a positive, but the big question is: Will Lavin be able to turn a team that only won 6 conference games last season into an NCAA tournament team? A lot of people are saying yes, including Rick Pitino, who thinks the Johnnies will win the Big East…

10. Louisville Cardinals 20-13 (11-7) – Louisville will be an interesting team this season, to say the least. They lost leading scorer Samardo Samuels, and a trio of guards in Edgar Sosa, Reginald Delk and Jerry Smith. Returning players Jared Swopshire, Peyton Siva and Preston Knowles will have to really step up to keep the Cardinals afloat.
Unfortunately, Memphis transfer Robert Sallie and stud recruit Justin Coleman were both deemed ineligible for Louisville. Center Gorgui Dieng was initially ruled ineligible, but the NCAA reversed that decision.

All in all, Louisville looks to be in a rebuilding type year. Expect Pitino to run his players ragged in an up tempo system, but don’t expect them to make the NCAA tournament.

11. Cincinnati Bearcats 19-16 (11-7) – The Cats only lose two players from last season, unfortunately, those two players were the most important. Forward Lance Stephenson (12.3 ppg) and guard Deonta Vaughn were the focal points in the Bearcat’s offense last year. This time around, Yancy Gates and Ibrahima Thomas will have to pick up the slack in the front court. Cashmere Wright will likely play the point while Rashard Bishop plays a wing position.

Like last year, expect Cincinnati to be a balanced scoring team; No player averaged more than 12.3 ppg. Mick Cronin will need to emphasize stiff defense and superb rebounding if Cincinnati wants to exceed last season’s 11 conference wins because I just don’t see the fire power.

12. Connecticut Huskies 18-16 (7-11) – The Huskies lose three-fourths of their four headed “monster”. Forwards Gavin Edwards (10.6 ppg) and Stanley Robinson (14.5 ppg) along with guard Jerome Dyson (17.3 ppg) have all moved on. The only returning starters for Jim Calhoun is point guard Kemba Walker and forward Alex Oriakhi. Beyond those two, Calhoun might have to utilize freshmen Jeremy Lamb, Shabazz Napier and Roscoe Smith.

This team could be very good a year or two down the road, but I just can’t see 2 or 3 starting freshman carry a team in the Big East.

I will wrap up the Big East with Tier 4 as well as post a few Big East statistics by Sunday night. Hopefully you enjoyed this post and again, follow me on that Twitter thing: @the_bracket_man

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One Response

  1. […] Robinson and Jerome Dyson (42PPG~) would have won the Big East Tournament and make the Final 4? I didn’t, the AP/USA poll didn’t and even the coaches who had to face Connecticut this season […]

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