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Big East Notebook

February 18, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments



Big East Notebook

by Kevin Reilly

Different Directions

As the Northeast digs out from the Blizzard of 2003, several Big East teams find themselves battling for berths as well as positions for the season ending conference tournament. Some teams are gaining necessary momentum while others may have hit the proverbial wall.

Only twelve of the leagues fourteen schools will qualify to head to New York City
in March. The play-in game is a thing of the past. Two teams will be left out and with
that exemption lose any chance of gaining a post-season invite. A win or two
at the Garden can lead a team to at the very least a shot at the NIT Tournament.

Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Syracuse and even UConn seem locks to be NCAA-bound.
After that, there are question marks. Momentum is critical as the stretch run begins.
Some teams have it and others may never find it.

Villanova (14-9, 7-3) is clearly a bubble team but remains dangerous with there
potent blend of seasoned veterans and fabulous frosh. They currently lead the Eastern division but a key matchup with a hot Seton Hall team was snowed out this evening.

Speaking of the Hall (12-9,6-4), Coach Louie Orr’s crew has won 5 straight including wins over Top Ten rivals Pittsburgh and Notre Dame. Just a few weeks back, this team was given up for dead and look at them now. Nothing like a few big wins.
Andre Barrett is making a push for all-conference honors. He is having as good an all-around year as any of the conference’s backcourters.

Rutgers (11-11,3-7) has struggled and just Saturday lost a bitterly fought contest to visiting West Virginia. The Scarlet Knights must now hold off Georgetown to avoid
missing the Big East Tourney. Coach Gary Waters’ squad had difficulty maintaining their traditionally strong home court advantage and has only managed to split six
home contests.

The Mountaineers (13-9,4-6) now have beaten Rutgers twice (a key tie breaker).
John Beilein’s contingent has overachieved all year and is worthy of consideration by the NIT committee. This team made up of frosh and little-known players has not gotten it yet, that they are not supposed to be a threat this season.

St. John’s (12-9, 5-6) blew a 16 point lead Saturday vs Providence and with that a chance to pull within one game of the lead in the Eastern division of the conference. The Johnnies have been up and down the whole season and this was one that clearly got away especially on their home court.

Then there is Boston College (13-9, 6-5), a team which one day is a giant-killer and the next plays like an also-ran. This team has shown it can win on the road
(Iowa State, North Carolina State and UConn as victims). Troy Bell is heating up
for the final stretch of his senior campaign witness scoring 67 points in his last two efforts. The Eagles will not be a team you want to face come tournament time.

Here We Go Again

Oh no! Not another case of an athlete in trouble. By now the whole college hoops world has heard of the Ben Gordon incident. Gordon is UConn’s top scorer this year.
He was arrested in an alleged assault on a young woman.

The UConn staff says they are “aware of the situation” and Gordon posted bail
and played the next game.

Maybe I am just another “law and order guy” or just a person with a strong sense of
right and wrong but something seems wrong with this picture.

I guess we are a nation of laws and along with those laws come the rights that each citizen has. I do still have a hard time with all this.

We can follow the outcome of this case and see what happens.

If Gordon was not the Huskies top scorer would he have accompanied the team
for their big matchup with Villanova?

Lots of questions. Hopefully some quick answers are around the corner.

But heck, I am just a father of two daughters who has an incredibly heard time dealing with Allen Iverson’s popularity among adolescent girls.

     

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