Monday, February 9, 2009

Big East Power Rankings

1. UConn. The Huskies are the most balanced team in the Big East coming in at 5th in offense and 3rd in defense. They also lead the conference in field goal percentage at .379 a game. Their weakness is in their lack of an outside shot, though they make them when they take them. They just don’t shot the three, attempting only 28, which is dead last in the league. They rank 2nd in rebounding margin and 1st in block shots a game at a staggering 7.3. The emergence of Thabeet as a scorer, 13 points a game and rebounder 10.1, has caused Adrien to have a stellar season.

2. Louisville. They have been on a steady incline up the rankings since the start of conference play. They have done so on the back of their defense which ranks 2nd in the league. They are 2nd in block shots a game and 1st in steals. They also can hit the outside shot, making 7.7 a game. Terrence Williams has put himself in contention for Player of the Year in the conference since his slow start to the season. Jerry Smith has shown a nice touch from deep and Earl Clark is playing well.

3. Marquette. They have the best backcourt in the Big East and are so fluid offensively, leading the conference in points at 81.6 a game. They make their free throws, hit the three, don’t turn the ball over and play unselfishly. Their only weakness is in their defense which ranks 11th and rebounding, 12th in the league. Jerel McNeal, Wesley Mathews, and Lazar Hayward are all in the top 12 in scoring and Dominic James is 4th in assists a game.

4. Pittsburgh. The Panthers have a balanced team. They are ranked 3rd in the conference in offense and 5th in defense, holding teams to .395 from the floor. They lead the league in rebounding margin at +9.5 and are 2nd in assists a game. Sam Young has emerged as an elite player and is averaging 18.1 points and DeJuan Blair is 2nd in the Big East in rebounding at 12.7 a game. But the difference maker on the team is Levance Fields. He has emerged as the best point guard in the league and has stabilized their offense. Ashton Gibbs has also displayed a nice touch from outside as a freshman and is leading the league in 3-point percentage.

5. Villanova. The scrappiest team in the league come in at 8th in offense and 4th in defense. They will kill you from the charity stripe, ranking 1st in free throw percentage at .745 and they are deadly from deep, ranking 4th in 3-point shooting. Without a big frontcourt, they still manage to rank 5th in rebounding margin at +4.6. Dante Cunningham is playing fantastic ball and ranks 11th in scoring and 14th in rebounding. Scottie Reynolds ranks 21st in scoring and 10th in assists. Corey Stokes is a sharp shooter and ranks 5th in 3-point percentage.

6. West Virginia. They rank 10th in offence but hold the top spot on the defensive end, though they only rank 8th in field goal defense. They are a terror on the perimeter defensively and hold the top spot by a wide margin, having opponents hit only .272 from deep. They are a great group rebounding team, ranking 3rd in rebounding margin at +6.2 a game and they don’t turn the ball over, holding the top spot in the turnover margin at +4.95. De’Sean Butler has emerged as West Virginia’s go to scorer at 17.6 a game and an outside threat. Alex Ruoff is chipping in with 16.2 points a game and is 4th in steals.

7. Syracuse. The Orange are 2nd in offense and 13th in defense in the conference. They try to outscore their opponents, which isn’t easy to do on the road. They come in 4th in blocks a game and 3rd in assists. Jonny Flynn is an exciting player to watch and is 10th in scoring and 2nd in assists. Arinze Onuaku and Paul Harris combine for 16 rebounds a game. If they can’t find any consistency then they’ll be a borderline tournament team again this year.

8. Providence. They’ve done a great job of bailing out the sinking ship and have righted what looked to be a horrible season. They have an excellent offense, ranking 3rd in the conference, but they are dead last in defense. They are 6th in the league in assists and 5th in 3-pointers made. They don’t have a dominate scorer on offense with Weyinmi Efejuku leading the team in scoring with 13 points a game. Geoff McDermott is their primary rebounder with 8.6 a game. Sharaud Curry is ranked 6th in assists a game and Marshon Brooks is their best outside threat, hitting .371 from deep.

9. Cincinnati. They are 12th in offense, 6th in defense, and are rebounding well, ranking 4th in the conference in rebounding margin at +5.9. They crash the glass and rank 4th in offensive rebounds and hit the three, making 7.2 a game. Deonta Vaughn is leading the way with 15.3 points a game, and 4.6 assists. They’ve beaten two sinking ships in Georgetown and Notre Dame. They need to knock off a upper echelon team to make the next leap.

10. Notre Dame. The sinking Irish are 4th in offense and an ugly 14th in defense. They hold the top spot from deep, hitting .403 from there and are 1st in assists a game. But even with Harangody, this team is only ranked 12th in rebounding margin. Notre Dame’s big man is having a fantastic season with a league best in both 25.1 points a game and 13.2 rebounds a game. Tory Jackson is dishing the ball well, ranking 3rd in the league in assists. Kyle McAlarney is still a deadly shooter, ranking 3rd in 3-point percentage. It stinks that Harangody and McAlarney won’t be able to end his career in the Big Dance. They just can’t play defense.

11. Georgetown. The Hoyas are 11th in offense and 7th in defense. They are getting killed on the boards, ranking 14th in the league in rebounding margin at -.5. DaJuan Summers is their leading scorer with 15.1 points a game. Greg Monroe is in contention for Freshman of the Year and is scoring 13.1 a game, 1.7 steals, 1.7 blocks and 6.4 rebounds a game. Chris Wright is their best distributor with 3.6 assists a game.

12. Seton Hall. The Pirates come in at 7th in the league in offense and 15th in defense. They are having a hard time at the rebounding end, ranking 15th in rebounding margin at -3.7 a game. Jeremy Hazell has become a big time player, averaging 23.4 points a game. Robert Mitchell has stepped up, chipping in 15.7 points and 8.2 boards. Eugene Harvey ranks 5th in assists a game. There hectic pace resembles Villanova. They just need to figure out how to stop teams.

13. St. John’s. They are 13th in offense and 9th in defense. They are dead last in perimeter defense, in last place in three pointers made, 13th in assists a game, and 15th in assists to turnovers. Paris Horne is their leading scorer at 14.4 points a game and 1.7 steals. D.J. Kennedy and Sean Evans are their major rebounder combining for 13.3 a game. They just don’t have the pieces to compete with the elite teams.

14. USF. They rank dead last on offense but 8th on defense. They are also dead last in free throw percentage at a horrible .587, steals at 5.5 a game and at field goal percentage at .409. Jesus Verdejo has put together a solid season in his senior year, averaging 13.6 points. Chris Howard runs the show and is averaging 3.6 assists a game. Dominique Jones hasn’t had a consistent season. This young team has shown some heart in the past few games and is just starting their program.

15. Rutgers. They are 15th in offense and 9th on defense. They are 3rd in free throw percentage, 3rd in block shots a game and 3rd in perimeter defense. But they are dead last in assists a game and turnover margin. Mike Rosario is going to become a big time player and is averaging 17.6 points a game and leading the Big East in free throw percentage. Gregory Echenique and Hamady Ndiaye are combining for 14.5 rebounds a game. They are struggling to find some type of consistency.

16. DePaul. They are 14th in offense and 13th in defense, but dead last in scoring margin and 3-point percentage. They are 15th in free throw percentage, 15th in rebounding margin, 15th in assists a game and 15th in field goal percentage. Dar Tucker is an explosive player, averaging 18.5 points a game. Mac Koshwal is ranked 4th in rebounding at 10 a game. They are a young team getting their lumps in a tough and experienced conference.

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