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Big East Notebook

January 20, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments



Big East Notebook

by Kevin Reilly

Literally Lights out for the Hall

A power failure couldn’t prevent the recently resurgent Seton Hall Pirates from lighting up the Miami Hurricanes this past Saturday. Coach Louie Orr’s crew shot an amazing 71% from behind the arc despite the game being stopped for 15 minutes due to darkness.

The Hall’s second consecutive win in conference play shows evidence that the Garden State squad may be ready to make some noise as teams begin to jockey for conference tourney seedings as well as post-season considerations.

Freshman J.R. Morris had a breakout game with 21 points including five 3-pointers. Andre Barrett who has been looking for help all season had a career high 11 assists to go along with 21 points.

Things get interesting for the Pirates this week when they visit the Carrier Dome for a rematch with Coach Orr’s alma mater Syracuse. A few weeks back the Orange escaped from the Continental Arena with the narrowest of victories after a last second no-call on an apparent Syracuse foul.

Pitt Holding Court

The Panthers have done nothing to sway attention from themselves as legitimate national title contenders. They took on the conference’s hottest team, Syracuse (who had just defeated Missouri), and handled them fairly easily. What made the result even more impressive was that Pitt’s point guard, Brandin Knight, missed time in the second half due to a concussion and also did not score.

Coach Ben Howland’s vaunted defense also did a fine job defending Syracuse’s all-everything frosh Carmelo Anthony, limiting him to 14 points about ten under his average. With Duke’s first loss the door is open for Pittsburgh to grab their share of first place votes in this week’s rankings.

Irish Eyes not Smiling

Has Notre Dame been exposed? No, not exactly but they were beaten soundly in
Lexington by a physical Kentucky team. Matt Carroll continues to put up big offensive numbers tallying 29 markers against the Wildcats. Floor general Chris Thomas had his hands full vs Coach Tubby Smith’s bunch turning the ball over nine times.

The Irish have been out-rebounded in four straight ballgames. That’s not great news.
People know about their outside game but Coach Mike Brey needs to bolster his
inside game and rebounding efforts to regain their early season momentum.

Never Over for ‘Nova

Villanova has quietly run off victories in their first four Big East starts. This team has
a great blend of seasoned veterans and talent-laden newcomers. They recently went
on the road to Rutgers and thrashed a decent Scarlet Knight’s team, 110-89.

That’s a whole lot of points and the RAC is a tough place to play.

Go Figure this One

The enigma of the conference this year may be very well be the Boston College Eagles. This past week Coach Al Skinner’s crew traveled to Raleigh, NC
and up-ended North Carolina State, halting their four-game losing streak.

The Eagles, who did receive some national attention in the pre-season, are now 7-6
but have dropped their first two contests in league play. Earlier this season,
BC went on the road and beat Iowa State.

With the one-two punch of Troy Bell and Ryan Sidney and freshman behemoth
Craig Smith, there is talent on this ballclub. Defense may be a question.
Al Skinner has found answers before.

This team could be interesting to watch, and as their play so far as indicated, this
team can go either way. If they can find some consistency, more surprises could be in store especially on the road where they have been up to the challenge already.

     

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