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Big East Notebook

February 4, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments



Big East Notebook

by Kevin Reilly

Topsy-Turvy

An unpredictable season of college hoops continues to be just that – unpredictable. Let’s take a look at three ball games this weekend in this conference that didn’t exactly flow according to form. But, why should they? It’s been that kind of season.

West Virginia travels to Philly and upends home-standing Villanova. These Mountaineers don’t know when to roll over and lay dead. Has John Beilein wrapped up conference Coach of the Year honors? A record of 12-7, not too shabby for a team decimated by personnel problems even before the season started. Drew Schiffino puts up 31 points. Has this guy come out of nowhere or what?

Is there a more enigmatic team in the entire nation than Boston College? All they did this week was knock off UConn on the road. The last time the Eagles won at Connecticut, Ronald Reagan was living in the White House. They didn’t just beat the Huskies, they took them apart, racing out to a 23 point margin ten minutes into the contest. Troy Bell had 19 in the first half alone. Craig Smith who finished with 20 continues to be one of the nations most-unheralded first year players. This team which has had its problems with injuries and defensive lapses has emerged as a squad no one will want to face in the Big East Tourney.

Pittsburgh’s climb to a number one national ranking took a tumble with a loss to a perennially tough Syracuse squad. The stage was set with an Arizona loss Thursday for Pitt to take their seat atop the college hoops world. The Orangemen simply would not comply with the Panther’s desire. Coach Ben Howland’s crew has two losses now and mysteriously both have occurred when the Panthers were on the verge of the number one position. Actually in this one All-American Brandin Knight hit a 40-footer agonizingly just after the final buzzer had sounded.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery to UConn head coach Jim Calhoun as he begins his battle versus prostate cancer. A tough coach of a tough team now wages a fight against a tough disease. The doctor’s are optimistic and Calhoun is definitely a fighter. He will take a leave of absence and in his stead will be George Blaney, whose last job was at Big East rival Seton Hall. Blaney has New England roots from his many successful years at Holy Cross.

     

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