Saturday, March 3, 2012

Big East Power Rankings

1. Syracuse. This team won in every conceivable fashion from nail biters to blowouts. They’ve only lost one game and that was when Fab Melo was out. They are playing really well and are a lock for a number one seed in both tournaments.

2. Marquette. What a job Buzz Williams has done with this team. They have two Big East Player of the Year prospects in Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder. They lead the conference in assists per game and scoring offense which shows a team with a ton of chemistry and players that understand their roles.

3. Notre Dame. Mike Brey has gotten the most out of this team than about anyone else in the country and deserves the Coach of the Year award. It is amazing what they have done since they don’t lead in any of the major team categories. They play a slow tempo and are efficient in their limited possessions. The efficiency comes from Cooley, who leads the league in field goal percentage, and Grant who leads the league in assists to turnover ratio.

4. Georgetown. It is all about defense with this team. If they can keep games in the low 60’s they usually pull out the victory. They have the best perimeter defense in the conference and lead the league in defensive rebounding. Jason Clark is having a fantastic senior year and Hollis Thompson is leading the league in 3-point field goal percentage.

5. Louisville. Louisville has done a great job of mucking up opponents offense with a combination of full court pressure and zone defense which has created the leagues best defensive field goal percentage. They lack that go to scorer though Dieng has emerged as a legit NBA prospect, and Siva has done a good job of running the team.

6. Cincinnati. Surprisingly the Bearcats have made the most 3-pointers in the league at 7.5 a game, especially when they have Yancy Gates on the team, but Sean Kilpatrick has emerged as a top scorer in this league, but they are average in most of the leagues team statistics.

7. USF. It is hard to tell if this team is for real. They’ve beat the teams they had to beat but haven’t had that signature win yet. They do hold the leagues best defense, but lack that point guard to make this team as efficient as they need to be offensively.

8. Seton Hall. It is hard to tell what Pirates team will show up. The one that can drop 80 on you or the one that struggles to reach 60. Herb Pope and Jordan Theodore are an experienced scoring duo, but they need more around them to make them a contender to knock off the top Big East teams in the tournament.

9. West Virginia. I know that Kevin Jones is on a floundering team, but he is putting up some gaudy numbers and should be awarded the Big East Player of the Year award. Like many of the teams in the middle of the Big East pack, this team is struggling with consistency especially on the defense side of the ball.

10. UConn. The Huskies just can’t put together a solid 40 minutes of basketball. They get down by 20 and claw back for a 2 point loss or they blow a double digit lead to win by two. Their offensive droughts coupled with defensive lapses have put this team squarely on the bubble.

11. St. John’s. This is a young team struggling to find their way with their coach not coaching. They can surely score points but it is on the defensive end that they need to improve. They have a nice nucleus to build on but are not ready to break through to the next level yet.

12. Villanova. This has been a heartbreaker of a year for the Wildcats. They’ve let leads slip away and lost games in the closing seconds. They have the leagues worst field goal percentage and are near the bottom in assists to turnovers. They need better point guard play.

13. Pittsburgh. This team has lost all their momentum and this once proud franchise looks to be heading out of the Big East with its tail between its legs. They can blame most of their woes on the defensive side of the ball.

14. Rutgers. Rutgers just can’t get enough buckets on a consistent basis and are near to last in assists to turnovers. Eli Carter is the one bright spot on this team but they need to build around this talented freshman.

15. Providence. This team is average in just about every category. They don’t do anything particularly well and are struggling to find victories. Vincent Council who leads the Big East in assists, LaDontae Henton and Bryce Cotton are a nice core but can’t finish games out on a consistent basis.

16. DePaul. The Blue Demons are last in the Big East on defense with teams hitting .480 against them and they don’t have the offense to keep up. They also have the league's worst rebounding margin and that puts them squarely in the bottom of the conference. Cleveland Melvin has anchored this team on both scoring and rebounding but he needs others to step up.

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