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Big East Notebook

December 13, 2002 Conference Notes No Comments

Big East Notebook

by Kevin Reilly

Lookin’ Good

So far so good as pertains the Big East conference this season. This highly competitive league has once again emerged as one of the nation’s very best. The early returns have been tremendous. Now, I know it is only December but this conference has at least ten teams capable of reaching the postseason.

The secret in South Bend is out of the bag. Mike Brey’s bunch has earned themselves a top twenty ranking by defeating three top-notch squads (Marquette, Maryland and Texas). No cupcakes there, to quote Dick Vitale. The Irish have streaked to an 8-1 mark and are now considered a legit contender.

At last check, all 14 league members have a . 500 or better record. Two of the more significant but less publicized victories have been by two teams not expected to contend for league honors this year. Namely, Boston College defeating Iowa State on the road and West Virginia’s shocking two-point triumph versus nationally ranked Florida.

Miller Time

This guy’s name keeps coming up in my stories and no it’s not my Jersey bias. Danny Miller continues to sparkle for Notre Dame. This week’s Big East Player of the Week had a tremendous two game stretch against Maryland and Texas. He averaged 19ppg and shot 54.5% from three point land. What makes that story sweeter for Miller is that he did it in his old stomping grounds-the Washington, DC area. My Terrapin friends do not think highly of Miller but his success this season stands for itself.

Where’s Willie?

Two seasons ago Willie Shaw arrived on the St.John’s campus and was a smashing success. The 6-6 swingman finished second on the ballclub in scoring as a frosh at 13.8ppg. He scored 25 points versus UConn and Syracuse, quite good numbers for any player, much less a rookie.

Last year his minutes dropped, as well as his average. He was injured and also suspended late in the season. I guess you could call this the “sophomore jinx.”

This year he was not in the lineup the first three years due again to some sort of NCAA suspension. I will be on top of this as the Red Storm’s season unfolds. Is he in the doghouse? Has he been recruited-over? Just interesting how a guy who was such an impressive frosh can fade to the background?

The Numbers Don’t Lie

Do you want to know why Pitt is ranked in the Top 5 so far? How about some of these stats. The Panthers are shooting 50.6% from the field while holding their opponents to a mark of only 36.4%

How about Notre Dame shooting threes as a team at 41% with their top gunner Chris Thomas making half of his attempts from behind the arc.

You want some individual numbers? Try UConn’s Emeka Okafor on for size, with his 13.5 boards per game and 5.7 blocks per outing.

Lastly, there is Syracuse’s frosh phenom Carmelo Anthony tallying 25ppg in the early going. It’s an outstanding year for first-year players and this latest in the line of Orange stars would rank near the top of anyone’s list. Let’s hope he sticks around for a while.


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