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Big East Notebook

December 20, 2002 Conference Notes No Comments

Big East Notebook

by Kevin Reilly

With Christmas less than a week away, it’s time to check on what Santa may be bringing some members of the Big East Conference


Hype-proofing for the Panthers. Some pundits including myself are not sold on
this crew’s upper echelon ranking. A win over the Ohio State Buckeyes gave
Ben Howland’s guys a 7-0 start, their best in 15 years. How about this stat.
Pitt has won 39 of their last 40 when they hold the opposition under 60 points.

Notre Dame

Respect for the Irish. Okay, they have beaten Marquette, Maryland and Texas.
How will they fare in conference play? As far as national play, I think they may be one of the best surprises this season, but league play this winter will be brutal. Coach Brey has a special mix with this crew.

Louis Orr (Seton Hall)

How about a few more fannies in the seats for his team’s Continental Arena
performances. Mysterious reporting of crowd size over the years here in NJ.
I have been at games where the announced crowd was double that which was
actually present. Back to Orr, what a class act and what experience. This is the kind of guy you root for a la Jim O’Brien at Ohio State.

John Beilein (West Virginia)

Can we award him the Coach of the Year trophy before New Year’s Day?
He’s been doing it with mirrors, scotch tape and chewing gum down in Morgantown.
He’s got walk-ons in the rotation in leaving the gates at a 5-1 mark. His son
has been playing as a freshmen and wasn’t even given a thought as a possible contributor preseason. They have already knocked off Florida and grabbed some votes in the Top 25 polls.

Jim Boeheim (Syracuse)

Plain and simple, all Coach Boeheim wants is for frosh phenom Carmelo Anthony
to be under the Christmas tree next year up in Syracuse. That’s wishful thinking,
but nevertheless Boeheim will continue to get it done. If Anthony leaves early,
you know some other blue-chipper will be waiting in the wings.


Seasoning and maturity for Jay Wright’s youngsters. There have been some ups and downs, but needless to say, the Wildcats will be in the hunt with a great blend
of veterans and rookies

Troy Bell (Boston College)

A little bit of national attention for this guy, please. I can’t remember a more quiet
2,000 point career scorer. Hopefully, the Eagles upset at Iowa State caught some eyes.

Emeka Okafor (UConn)

A spot in the draft lottery at seasons end may be in Santa’s bag this year.
This guy is simply a stat sheet stuffer. He’s a double-double guy on a nightly basis
and blocks six shots an outing. Tremendous upside as well. At 6-9 and 240
he’s got that NBA body and he is still only a sophomore.

Willie Shaw (St. John’s) and Danny Miller (Notre Dame)

New leases on their basketball lives for these two guys. Shaw has reemerged
for the Johnnies and Miller has resurfaced at South Bend. These two players
will be integral parts of their teams’ success.


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