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Big East Notebook

December 4, 2002 Conference Notes No Comments

Big East Notebook

by Kevin Reilly

Bragging Rights

The Big East conference picked up two big victories this past week against some top-
notch competition. Villanova headed north to Alaska last weekend and upended
No. 10 Michigan State, 81-73, while Notre Dame mauled No. 12 Marquette, 92-71.

Now, I know there are still three weeks to Christmas and the season is in its
embryonic stages, but these are major wins for these schools and maybe more importantly for the conference.

The Alaskan fans fell in love with this young Villanova squad.
Steve Jordan, a coaching colleague of mine, was in attendance at the tourney
and stated, “You forget how young these kids are when they start playing.
Their talent level is amazing.”

Gary Buchanon and Ricky Wright are providing the senior leadership for this team
and help make for a dangerous combination of seasoned veterans and tenacious rookies. Villanova fell to Charleston in the finals but came back home with some invaluable experience.

Chris Thomas had a career game for the Irish with 32 points and 10 assists.
Notre Dame has been the Big East’s most active squad compiling a 6-1 record
over the first two weeks-plus of the season. Terrapin transfer Danny Miller continued his stellar play for Coach Mike Brey adding 20 points.

PJ Sighting

I must confess that despite being an admitted college hoops fanatic I do
occasionally take a glance at the NBA. Last week while working the remote
I came across the San Antonio Spurs in action. On their bench was former
Seton Hall Pirate head man PJ Carlesimo.

Carlesimo led Seton Hall to the NCAA Championship game back in 1989.
He is a new Dad and seems to be enjoying his return to the sidelines
after a brief stint behind the microphone. The guy had a good run at the Hall, posting a mark of 12-6 in NCAA action which ranked him 8th among active coaches at he time he moved on to the professional ranks.

Reilly’s Ratings

I haven’t seen all the teams play yet, and it is very early, but here goes
a quick look at my picks for the top five squads in the Big East Conference:

1. UConn (3-0)
Lots of talent here. They had a narrow escape at Vanderbilt
but this team has experience and a good inside outside combo with Brown and
Okafor. Is there a better coach in this conference than Jim Calhoun?

2. Pittsburgh (3-0)
Lots of hype here. Won’t be tested till Dec. 18 when they
host Ohio State. Beautiful new gym. Get your tickets soon!!

3. Notre Dame (6-1)
Most active team in America. Played seven games
before some had played their second. No sophomore jinx for Chris Thomas.
Good story shaping up for Danny Miller.

4. Rutgers (3-2)
Okay, I am a Jersey guy but the Knights should have
beaten NIT winner North Carolina at the Dean Dome and have also should have
pulled off a win at Temple.

5. Villanova (3-2)
Northern exposure a benefit for the young Cats. This team
will be dangerous and can only improve over the long haul. Two losses to
ranked Marquette and perennially tough Charleston.

I know Georgetown and Miami are undefeated but wins over Grambling, James
Madison, New Hampshire and Savannah State don’t quite do it for me.


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