Friday, October 24, 2008

Preseason Big East Power Rankings

The Big East will be loaded this year and any of these top 6, possibly 7, schools have a chance to end up in first. I've based this rankings on last years returners and potential. There is so much parody in this league that a true ranking is impossible without seeing them play. Now onto the rankings.

1. Louisville. They have the best forwards in the conference and possibly the country. They have a deep and versatile backcourt. Edgar Sosa, Jerry Smith, and Andre McGee make a three headed monster and throwing in Terence Williams, who could be the best ball handler on the team, makes this team hard to match up. Will Terence Jennings make an impact?

2. UConn. They have all the potential in the world. A talented backcourt with A.J. Price, Craig Austrie, Jerome Dyson, and freshman sensation Kemba Walker. They have the best front-court in the nation with Thabeet and Adrien. We’ve seen great UConn teams on paper have dismal end of the season performances. This team will go as far as their outside shooting will take them.

3. Pittsburgh. DeJuan Blair is a beast and was the only consistent player on the team last year. Levance Fields and Sam Young need to leave it all on the court this year. They showed last year that they could be a great team if they could hit from outside. Will Ashton Gibbs be that man?

4. Notre Dame. Luke Harangody and Kyle McAlarney are the engine but Tory Jackson, Luke Zeller, and Ryan Ayers are the fuel. They rely heavily on their perimeter shot and need their forwards to handle the scoring when Harangody is double teamed.

5. Marquette. With Crean gone, Buzz Williams will need to prove himself. He’s got a great team to do that with. Dominic James, a fantastic guard, and Jerel McNeal make a dynamic duo, but they are thin in the paint and need Lazar Hayward to step up. Will Chris Otule bulk up and be a presence that the Golden Eagles need?

6. Villanova. This feisty team finds a way to win despite being out-sized in the conference. Scottie Reynolds, Corey Stokes, and Corey Fisher are the catalyst to this team. They create mismatches with their speed and ability to protect the fast break. They depend on Dante Cunningham too much in the rebounding department, but he produces.

7. West Virginia. Will this team find it’s identity without Joe Alexander? Alex Ruoff hopes they will. They are still a small team and without a legitimate go-to scorer this team might stumble out of the gates. Will Devin Ebanks, Kevin Jones, and Darryl Bryant make impacts?

8. Georgetown. 33 points a game departed this team and they’re going to need DeJuan Summers, Jessie Sapp and Austin Freeman to fill that void. Will that stellar defense carry over with this team and keep them in games while they find scorers? Will Greg Monroe mature in his first year and contribute?

9. Syracuse. One of the most athletic teams in the conference but last year the zone was Swiss cheese. They need to be able to stop teams and being the 14th rated defense in the league is unacceptable. Jonny Flynn, Eric Devendorf, and Paul Harris are as talented as anyone in the league and should create points. Will Rick Jackson be the one to anchor that zone?

10. Rutgers. Ndiaye and Inman create a great one-two punch and Corey Chandler looks promising. With a solid draft class, and All-American, Mike Rosario, this team will be much improved. They will surprise some teams this year. This team’s success rests on Rosario’s shoulders.

11. Providence. Geoff McDermott and Jeff Xavier anchor the team, but Sharaud Curry and Efejuku (Spell Check killer) are primed to break out. Will Keno Davis be able to mold this team into a winner? It is now or never for this team with five seniors and three juniors. They have all the experience. It is all about execution.
12. Cincinnati. Deonta Vaughn shoulders too much of the scoring burden and Larry Davis, Rashad Bishop, and Alvin Mitchell need to help out. They’ll have a tough time matching up against faster backcourts and bigger frontcourts. Will Cashmere Wright turn into a go to player?

13. DePaul. It’s Dar Tucker and Mac Koshwal’s team now and they need to be more assertive with the loss of Draelon Burns. Will Walker needs to stretch the defense and Poscic needs to rebound. Will Krys Faber be the inside presence this team has lacked?

14. Seton Hall. They have an uphill battle on their hands with losing Brian Laing and his 18.6 points per game. A lot of the scoring burden falls on Eugene Harvey and Jeremy Hazell. The Pirates need to find that defensive consistency that they lacked last year, coming in dead last in the conference. Will Jordan Theodore make an impact and give Harvey a break and can Melvyn Oliver and Mike Davis be the big men down low that they sorely lacked.

15. St. John’s. They had such a young team last year and they should be more improved but that doesn’t keep them out of the cellar to start the year. Anthony Mason Jr. and Justin Burrell need to lead this team with intensity and leadership. They need a few players to be committed to the boards and contribute in the stats that don’t always show up on paper. They’re a quick and streaky team but lack the night in and night out consistency.

16. South Florida. Who’s going to step up now that Kentrell Gransberry is gone? Dominque Jones had a spectacular freshman year but can he shoulder the expectations. They have five freshmen on the squad and look to have some growing pains. They lack size and should do most of their damage from outside. If Chris Howard can take his game to the next level, they could make some noise.

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