Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Big East Power Rankings
1. Pittsburgh. The Panthers are playing great basketball and have all the tools to break through the Elite Eight barrier. Super Sam and Levance Fields are at the top of their games now, scoring a combined 29.6 points a game. DeJuan Blair has emerged as one of the top big men in the conference, averaging 14.2 points and 12.5 rebounds a game. They have a deep bench, going 11 deep at times. They lead the league in rebounding margin at +10.9 a game.
2. UConn. The Huskies have three players, Dyson, Adrien, and Thabeet, all averaging 14 points a game. Price has started finding his groove since the Gonzaga game and the addition of Stanley Robinson has stabilized the man-to-man defense. They are third in the conference in scoring margin at 19.4 points a game and second in three-point percentage at .377 a game, though they have shot a league low 167.
3. Syracuse. They continue to win playing a run-and-gun style of play. They have the number one rated offense but come in at a woeful 13th in defense and that’s with the leagues best perimeter defense. They are getting killed inside. Jonny Flynn is tearing it up, averaging 17.2 points and 5.3 assists a game. Arinze Onuaku is the X-factor for this team and is filling in nicely with 12.1 points and 7.6 rebounds a game.
4. Marquette. Lazar Hayward is having a heck of a season, averaging 17 points a game and 8.7 boards. They aren’t clicking on all cylinders yet. When Dominic James gets going, 11.2 ppg and 3.5 boards, then this team will be deadly. With Wesley Matthews and Jerel McNeal playing great and knocking down shots, they haven’t needed to lean on James. But their defense is a work in progress ranking a low 11th.
5. Louisville. Here come the Cardinals. Earl Clark and Terrence Williams are the pillars of this team but they have struggled in finding role players to help the offense. Samardo Samuels is one of next great Big East big men, but he has had his freshman games. Knowles and Sosa need to contribute more. Preston Knowles is shooting the ball well, hitting .452 from three.
6. Georgetown. This young team is having its ups and downs. DeJuan Summers and Austin Freeman are anchoring the team, but they're horrible rebounding will cost them games. They don’t have a player averaging 6 rebounds or more a game. With the emergence of Greg Monroe this team will be dangerous come tournament time.
7. West Virginia. Ruoff and Butler shoulder much of the scoring burden. They group rebound well with Butler, Ebanks, Smith, Jones and Flowers creating the 5th placed rebounding team in the league. They rank 1st in offensive rebounds but dead last in defensive rebounds. The myth about this team is that they are a three-point shooting team. They are seventh in the league in three pointers attempted. They also boast the leagues best turnover margin.
8. Notre Dame. Harangody has emerged as the best player in the conference with a monster line of 24 p.p.g . and 12.4 rebounds. Mcalarney and Ayers are deadly shooters that you must respect and the big man feasts inside. They also have the best home court in the country. While the offense is a jet engine, the defense is a Jetta, coming in at 12th in the league.
9. Villanova. Dante Cunningham is a player. He scores, knocks down big buckets, rebounds, hits free throws and plays solid defense. With Scottie Reynolds running the show and Corey Stokes and Fisher knocking down threes this team is sneaky dangerous. The defense is carrying them, ranking 5th in the league.
10. Providence. The team is looking for defenders, coming in at 15th in the league in defense. Geoff McDermott is rebounding well but he needs to contribute more offensively. They have started conference play well against the lower echelon team, but need to knock off a top team to move farther up the rankings. They need another body inside to help rebound.
11. St. John’s. Paris Horne and D.J. Kennedy are playing well. Anthony Mason Jr. is coming into his own and Sean Evans is doing a great job on the boards. They took out a great Notre Dame team at home, which is a big boost to this squad, but their offense, 13th in the conference, is struggling. They are dead last in the league in 3-pointers made. This team is missing an explosive scorer.
12. Cincinnati. They have struggled entering Big East play. Deonta Vaughn is doing all he can to keep Cincinnati in ballgames but he needs another scorer to step up. Larry Davis is an outside threat, Yancy Gates has shown flashes and Mike Williams looks the part, but they haven’t been able to finish games. They do a great job rebounding, ranking 3rd at +7.9 a game, but rank a low 11th in scoring margin at +6.7 a game.
13. Seton Hall. Jeremy Hazell is tearing up the league, averaging 22.4 points a game. Robert Mitchell and Eugene Harvey chip in a combined 28.9 points also. They also have the worst defense, coming in dead last. They try to outscore opponents, but in this league defense wins and they are not committed to that end of the floor.
14. Rutgers. This team should be much better. They have a talented freshman in Mike Rosario, scoring 17.4 points a game, and they have big men in Hamady Ndiaye and Gregory Echenique but they haven’t gotten it done. They just can’t find buckets. J.R. Inman needs to play better, 6.4 points a game isn’t cutting it.
15. USF. Dominique Jones and Jesus Verdejo are playing well but no one on this team is averaging 5 rebounds or better. They are also struggling on the offensive end of the floor, ranking dead last. They are a young team and they are finding out that getting wins in this league aren’t easy.
16. DePaul. Dar Tucker and Mac Koshwal pack a good one-two punch but they aren’t getting wins. They are struggling from deep and only Koshwal is a rebounding threat. They need to do a better job on the boards and work harder on the defensive end of the court, coming in at 14th.