Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Big East Conference Preview

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
Last season, the Big East conference was respected as the best in College Basketball. 10-of-16 teams embraced a winning conference record, while three teams were below 500 overall.

That benefited eight conference teams when Selection Sunday came around. The NCAA tournament would soon feature eight Big East teams.

This season, the same respect is due to the tough Big East conference.

The Big East embraces a tough Pittsburgh Panthers team that is currently ranked number five in the nation. Villanova's Corey Fisher is apart of the Big East as well.

Fisher scored 105-points this summer in a pick-up, and all Big East spectators will witness his ability once conference season comes about.

Jamie Dixon's Panthers were favored by the coaches to win the Big East conference capturing 12-of-16 first place votes.

Syracuse acquired two first place votes, and Villanova along with St. Johns both pocketed one each.

Most Talented Team
Pittsburgh Panthers - The Pittsburgh Panthers finished 25-9 last season with a 13-5 conference record after returning one starter from the year before. This season, the Panthers only lost one starter from last year's second round team. Ashton Gibbs, and Brad Wanamaker are the notable players returning that are ready to continue the Panthers Big East dominance.

Big East Sleeper
Seton Hall Pirates - The Seton Hall Pirates raised a lot of eyebrows with their performance in the Big East last season. The Pirates embraced the Big East's third leading scorer Jeremy Hazell, and rebounding leader Herb Pope. Hazell, and Pope both returned to Seton Hall for another season of College Basketball. With both Hazell and Pope partnered with transfer Eniel Poynice, a transfer from Ole Miss, the Pirates could dance this year. Seton Hall was selected to finish 11th in the Big East, but with scoring threat Hazell back the sky is the limit for the Pirates.

Team to Disappoint
West Virginia Mountaineers - West Virginia lost both De'Sean Butler, and Devin Ebanks from last years Final Four squad. Despite returning second-leading scorer Kevin Jones the Mountaineers will have a tough time replacing the contributions of Butler and Ebanks. The Mountaineers offense was ran through both Butler and Ebanks. Bob Huggins will have a tough time surviving as a number five seed in a tough Big East conference.

Team to Watch
Villanova Wildcats - The Villanova Wildcats could be flip-flopped in the above category. The Wildcats returned Corey Fisher who scored 105-points in a pick up game this summer. Villanova will rely on fisher to lead the team in the right direction. That is a tough task for someone who has never led a college program foregoing. If Fisher collars the role of leader, while implementing his scoring ability the 'Cats are in great hands. Villanova will only go as far as Fisher takes them.

Big East Player of the Year
Ashton Gibbs (PITT) - Ashton Gibbs, a junior guard for Pittsburgh accumulated 15.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, and shot 39 percent from three as a sophomore. Without Jermaine Dixon in the starting lineup, expect to see more constant production from Gibbs. His offense is part of the equation, but Gibbs defense this season is what will place him over the top.

Most Improved Player
Peyton Siva (UL) - Peyton Siva took the backseat to Edgar Sosa during his freshman season. This season, Siva will lead the attack for the Cardinals and claimed the starting position. Remember, coming out of High School Siva was one of the more explosive guards in the country, which is one of the reasons why he was a McDonald's All-American. The talent is still there for Rick Pitino it's only a matter of time before we are all witnesses.

Top Newcomer
Fab Melo (SYR) - Fab Melo is a very great talent. Melo is a legit 7-foot center with exceptional length. With his long arms on offense the entry pass should not be a problem. On defense, Melo will able to block and alter a lot of shots. I expect to see Melo ignite the Syracuse frontcourt, grab a lot of rebounds, block shots and become one of the best young centers in the game.

All-Big East Team
Guards: Ashton Gibbs (Pitt), Austin Freeman (GTWN), Jeremy Hazell (HALL), Corey Fisher (Vill), Kemba Walker (UConn), Forward(s): Kevin Jones (WVU)

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