Big East Notebook
The Big East has surprised more than its share of fans this season, including the outcome of the Georgetown/Syracuse game. After seven tries against ranked opponents so far this season, Mike Sweetney was finally able to lead his team to a victory, scoring a game-high 18 points en route to a 75-60 win versus the Orangemen.
Only a few nights earlier, Troy Bell and Boston College attempted to dethrone the Blue Devils, but Carlos Boozer proved to be too much, pouring in 28 points against the Eagles. Though Bell shot well from the field (11-22), he was unable to hang onto the ball, turning it over 8 times in the contest. Duke had five players who scored in double figures, proving its squad is as balanced as any in college basketball.
Players of the Week
Darius Rice, Miami, Sophomore Forward
John Linehan, Providence, Senior Guard
Rice poured in 30 points and grabbed 10 boards in a 76-58 victory over Villanova, Miami’s only game of the week. He shot 10-for-15 from the field, including 4-for-6 from beyond the arc. Linehan set a Big East record with 11 steals in a 70-55 win over Rutgers. He followed that effort with 19 points, 6 steals and 5 assists in a 75-70 overtime win at St. John’s. Linehan is second on the Big East all-time steals list (181) behind former Friar Eric Murdock (197).
Conference Play Update
At 6-0, the Connecticut Huskies remain the only undefeated team in Big East league play. Each season the Huskies have started league play at 6-0, they have continued on to win either a divisional or regular season crown. Not too surprisingly, Miami and Syracuse, two of the league’s ranked teams, have enjoyed success with league play this season. Pittsburgh, however, has climbed its way up the national ladder and earned a national ranking, despite not being recognized until January. UConn, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, and Miami seem to pose the greatest threats at the moment, but the outcome for this season’s Big East tournament hasn’t been written yet.
Syracuse, Miami, Pittsburgh, and UConn are all in ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. With the Orangemen having lost to rival Georgetown, their ranking is sure to drop. The other teams seem to be performing well, and the way Jim Boeheim prepares his team for Rutgers next week will be interesting. Leading scorer, Preston Shumpert, was not a factor against the Hoyas, scoring only 3 points in 19 minutes of play. For the Orangemen to perform, they’re going to need their main threat to step it up down the stretch.