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Georgetown Hoyas 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 11, 2011 in Conference Notes

Georgetown Hoyas

 

Last Year:

21-11 overall, 10-8 Big East (8th)

Coach:

John Thompson III (8th season, 159-66)

Projected starting five:

G: Markel Starks, So.
G: Jason Clark, Sr.
F: Hollis Thompson, Jr.
F: Nate Lubick, So.
C: Henry Sims, Sr.

Important departures:

Austin Freeman 17.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.4 apg
Chris Wright 12.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 5.3 apg
Julian Vaughn 7.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.5 apg

Inside the numbers:

43 percent scoring returning
63 percent rebounding returning

Additions:

F: Otto Porter, 6’9”, 200 – ESPNU #42
C: Mikael Hopkins, 6’8”, 210 – ESPNU #78
G: Jabril Trawick, 6’5”, 200 – ESPNU #80

Schedule:

Toughest nonconference game(s): 11/21 at (13) Kansas, 12/1 at (17) Alabama, 12/22 vs. (9) Memphis
Toughest in-conference stretch: 1/28 – 2/8 at (11) Pittsburgh, vs. (4) Connecticut, vs. South Florida, at (5) Syracuse

Prediction:

8th in BE; 20+ wins; NCAA Tournament berth

What to expect:

The Hoyas lost their two leading scorers, Austin Freeman and Chris Wright, but reloaded with the No. 15 recruiting class according to ESPNU. Although we don’t project any of the newcomers to start right away for the Hoyas, don’t be surprised to see Otto Porter, Mikael Hopkins or Jabril Trawick play some significant time for JT3.

Georgetown isn’t doing itself any favors with their nonconference schedule, playing three top 25 teams before opening the Big East with Louisville Dec. 28. The last time we saw the Hoyas, they were getting in a little skirmish with a Chinese team, but perhaps that fight could do something for the chemistry of the young team.

Hollis Thompson and Jason Clark will be the leaders of the team with Clark finally getting his time to shine. Thompson is one of those long swing guys who can cause match up nightmares for opposing coaches. Sophomore guard Markel Starks could become the facilitator that the Hoyas lacked after Wright’s wrist injury last year. As usual, JT3’s boys will have the athleticism and talent to beat any team on a given day.

Next: Louisville Cardinals

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Louisville Cardinals 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 11, 2011 in Conference Notes

Louisville Cardinals

 

Last Year:

25-10 overall, 12-6 Big East (T-3rd)

Coach:

Rick Pitino (11th season, 245-96)

Projected starting five:

G: Peyton Siva, Jr.
G: Chris Smith, Sr.
F: Kyle Kuric, Sr.
F: Chane Behanan, Fr.
C: Gorgui Dieng, So.

Important departures:

Preston Knowles 14.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.1 apg
Terrence Jennings 9.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg

Inside the numbers:

66 percent scoring returning
67 percent rebounding returning

Additions:

F: Chane Behanan, 6’6”, 250 – Rivals #21
F: Wayne Blackshear, 6’5” 210 – Rivals #36
C: Zach Price, 6’1”, 240 – Rivals #67
G: Kevin Ware, 6’4”, 167 – Rivals # 70
F: Angel Nunez, 6’8”, 190 – ESPNU #91

Schedule:

Toughest nonconference game(s): 12/2 vs. (7) Vanderbilt, 12/31 at (2) Kentucky
Toughest in-conference stretch: 2/23 – 3/3 at (22) Cincinnati, vs. (11) Pittsburgh, vs. South Florida, at (5) Syracuse

Prediction:

4th in BE; 25+ wins; Second weekend of NCAA Tournament

What to expect:

One of the strongest recruiting classes in the nation gives the Cards more than enough to replace Preston Knowles and Terrence Jennings. As Louisville showed last year, they don’t have any real standout players, although Siva is on the cusp and Kyle Kuric showed on multiple occasions last season he can take over the game — and win homecoming king.

Louisville’s depth give the Cards the chance to wear out their opponents running Pitino’s full-court press, creating turnovers and forcing tough shots late in the shot clock. With Siva and Kuric in the backcourt, accompanied by Chris Smith, the Cards will look down low to Gorgui Dieng.

Dieng will take Jennings’ place on the low block and will act as the last line of defense if a team were to break the Cardinals’ pressure. Dieng’s length gives him the ability to alter shots around the rim, although Dieng, as well as the team as a whole, could benefit from picking up more boards. If the Cards can get past the idea of only having one ball between their dynamic playmakers, look for Louisville to make a run at a league and possibly, a national championship.

Next: Marquette Golden Eagles

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Marquette Golden Eagles 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 11, 2011 in Conference Notes

Marquette Golden Eagles

 

Last Year:

22-15 overall, 9-9 Big East (T-9th)

Coach:

Buzz Williams (4th season, 69-36)

Projected starting five:

G: Junior Cadougan, Sr.
G: Darius Johnson-Odom, Sr.
F: Vander Blue, So.
F: Jae Crowder, Sr.
C: Chris Otule, Jr.

Important departures:

Jimmy Butler 15.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.3 apg
Dwight Buycks 8.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3.4 apg

Inside the numbers:

62 percent scoring returning
66 percent rebounding returning

Additions:

F: Juan Anderson 6’6”, 200 – Rivals #61
G: Derrick Wilson, 6’0”, 205 – ESPNU Pos. #32
G: Todd Mayo, 6’3”, 190

Schedule:

Toughest nonconference game(s): 12/3 at (14) Wisconsin, 12/29 vs. (7) Vanderbilt
Toughest in-conference stretch: 1/7 – 1/16 at (5) Syracuse, vs. St. John’s, vs. (11) Pittsburgh, vs. (8) Louisville

Prediction:

6th in BE; 20+ wins; Second round of NCAA Tournament

What to expect:

Marquette, coming off a roller-coaster season that ended with a loss to UNC in the Sweet 16, should have a solid core returning that could make the Golden Eagles a threat to make a little run in the NCAA Tournament again this year.

Despite losing Jimmy Butler and Dwight Buycks, Marquette has guys like Darius Johnson-Odom, Jae Crowder and Junior Cadougan who can fill the void. DJO and Crowder will be the primary scorers for Marquette as Cadougan will be pegged as mainly a facilitator.

Look for DJO and Crowder to flourish as Buzz Williams mixes in Vander Blue, Oregon transfer Jamil Wilson and Derrick Wilson, giving the Golden Eagles plenty of options to have a solid year in the BE and possibly make some noise in the NCAA.

Next: Notre Dame

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Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 11, 2011 in Conference Notes

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

 

Last Year:

27-7 overall, 14-4 Big East (2nd)

Coach:

Mike Brey (11th season, 238-120)

Projected starting five:

G: Eric Atkins, So.
G: Pat Connaughton, Fr.
F: Tim Abromatitis, Sr.
F: Scott Martin, Sr.
C: Jack Cooley, So.

Important departures:

Ben Hansbrough 18.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 4.3 apg, 35.4 mpg
Carleton Scott 11.2, 7.4 rpg, 31.2 mpg
Tyrone Nash 9.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg

Inside the numbers:

50 percent scoring returning
56 percent rebounding returning

Additions:

F: Eric Katenda, 6’8”, 210 – Rivals #118
F: Patrick Connaughton 6’5”, 175 – Rivals #127

Schedule:

Toughest nonconference game(s): 11/21 at (25) Missouri, 11/30 at (23) Gonzaga
Toughest in-conference stretch: 12/27 – 1/7 vs. (11) Pittsburgh, at (22) Cincinnati, at (8) Louisville

Prediction:

9th in BE; 20+ wins; NCAA Tournament berth

What to expect:

After a surprising 2010-11 campaign that saw the Fighting Irish improve after losing Luke Harangody, Notre Dame is looking for a repeat performance, but it could be a little harder this time around without BE Player of the Year Ben Hansbrough, Carleton Scott and Tyrone Nash all lost to graduation.

The silver lining for Notre Dame is fifth-year senior Tim Abromaitis is still around. Abromaitis will miss the first four games of the season because of some exhibition games he played in three years ago, but the Irish should handle that stretch without any problems. When they get into BE play, that’s when some of ND’s weaknesses may be exposed.

The main concern for the Golden Domers will be how Abromaitis’ supporting cast comes together. Scott Martin and Eric Atkins played significant minutes last year, but Pat Connaughton and Jack Cooley will have to prove that they can hang in the Big East. The gelling of the rebuilding Irish squad will prove to be the key if they want a trip back to the NCAA Tournament.

Next: Pittsburgh Panthers

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Pittsburgh Panthers 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 11, 2011 in Conference Notes

Pittsburgh Panthers

 

Last Year:

28-6 overall, 15-3 Big East (1st)

Coach:

Jamie Dixon (8th season, 260-60)

Projected starting five:

G: Ashton Gibbs, Sr.
G: Travon Woodwall, Sr.
F: Nasir Robinson, Sr.
F: Lamar Patterson, So.
C: Dante Taylor, Jr.

Important departures:

Brad Wannamaker 11.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 5.1 apg
Gilbert Brown 11.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.7 apg
Gary McGhee 6.9 ppg 7.7 rpg

Inside the numbers:

59 percent scoring returning
55 percent rebounding returning

Additions:

F: Khem Birch, 6’10”, 210 – Rivals #9
F: Durand Johnson, 6’6”, 191 – Rivals #120
C: Malcolm Gilbert, 6’11”, 230 – Rivals #133

Schedule:

Toughest nonconference game: 12/3 at Tennessee
Toughest in-conference stretch: 1/14 – 1/21 at (21) Marquette, at (5) Syracuse, vs. (8) Louisville

Prediction:

2nd in BE; 25+ wins; Second weekend of NCAA Tournament

What to expect:

The Panthers begin and end with Ashton Gibbs. Our pick for BE Player of the Year is also in the running for a host of other honors that are sure to include the Wooden and Naismith awards. Perhaps the best shooter in the country, Gibbs has no problem spotting up or creating his own shot coming off of screens.

Despite returning Gibbs, their leading scorer from a year ago, the Panthers lost three starters to graduation, meaning that younger guys are going to have to step into expanded roles. Travon Woodall should be an easy replacement for Brad Wannamaker. Although Woodall is not the scorer or rebounder Wannamaker was, his quickness and ability to get into the lane and finish or drop the ball off for easy buckets should prove to be sufficient.

Other concerns for the Panthers come from replacing Gilbert Brown and Gary McGhee, a couple of cogs in Pitt’s success over the last few years. Dante Taylor has been the man-in-waiting to fill McGhee’s shoes, and Lamar Patterson will have the tall task of taking Brown’s place. With a top 15 recruiting class, however, Jamie Dixon has a couple of guys that he can rotate in the frontcourt to keep the Panthers in the hunt for another Big East title.

Next: Providence Friars

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Providence Friars 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 11, 2011 in Conference Notes

Providence Friars

 

Last Year:

15-17 overall, 4-14 Big East (14th)

Coach:

Ed Cooley (1st season, 92-69 at Fairfield Univ.)

Projected starting five:

G: Vincent Council, Jr.
G: Gerald Coleman, So.
F: LaDontae Henton, Fr.
F: Kadeem Batts, So.
C: Bilal Dixon, Jr.

Important departures:

Marshon Brooks 24.6 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 36.5 mpg
Duke Mondy 7.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg

Inside the numbers:

56 percent scoring returning
60 percent rebounding returning

Additions:

F: LaDontae Henton, 6’6”, 215 – ESPNU Pos. #47
G: Kiwi Gardner, 5’8”, 155 – ESPNU #55

Schedule:

Toughest nonconference game: 12/1 at South Carolina
Toughest in-conference stretch: 1/10 – 1/25 vs. (8) Louisville, at (5) Syracuse, vs. (21) Marquette, at (11) Pittsburgh

Prediction:

16th in BE; 10+ wins

What to expect:

The Friars are coming off an underachieving season that saw standout Marshon Brooks head to the NBA and coach Keno Davis chased out of town. Bilal Dixon and Vincent Council remain as the elder statesmen who plan to take Providence into the Ed Cooley era.

Council will be the leading scoring threat for the Friars this season, but Gerald Coleman should start in the backcourt and give him some offensive help. Down low, Dixon will pair with Kadeem Batts and either LaDontae Henton or Bryce Cotton.

Providence had no problem scoring last season, but their inability to stop a thing is what brought in Cooley and his defensive mindset. It may take some time for Cooley to get his run-and-gun team to buy into the defense-first philosophy, so don’t expect too much from the Friars this year.

Next: Rutgers Scarlet Knights

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Rutgers Scarlet Knights 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 11, 2011 in Conference Notes

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

 

Last Year:

15-17 overall, 5-13 Big East (13th)

Coach:

Mike Rice, Jr. (2nd season, 15-17)

Projected starting five:

G: Myles Mack, Fr.
G: Austin Carroll, So.
F: Dane Miller, Jr.
F: Gilvydas Biruta, So.
C: Austin Johnson, Jr.

Important departures:

Jonathan Mitchell 14.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg
James Beatty 8.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg
Mike Coburn 8.8 ppg, 1.9 rpg

Inside the numbers:

33 percent scoring returning
46 percent rebounding returning

Additions:

G: Myles Mack, 5’9”, 155 – ESPNU #63
F: Kadeem Jack 6’8”, 210 – MaxPreps #77
G: Elijah Carter, 6’2”, 170 – Rivals #114
C: Greg Lewis, 6’9”, 225 – Rivals #139

Schedule:

Toughest nonconference game: 12/29 vs. (10) Florida
Toughest in-conference stretch: 1/7 – 1/14 vs. (4) Connecticut, at (11) Pittsburgh, at West Virginia

Prediction:

11th in BE; 17+ wins; NIT berth

What to expect:

Rutgers made some serious strides last year as the scrappy Scarlet Knights played hard night-in and night-out, turning some heads in the process and making people recognize that they are no longer a gimme win.

While the Scarlet Knights lost three starters from last year’s team, Dane Miller and Gilvydas Biruta are left over to pass on coach Mike Rice’s style of play. The two big men will move Rutgers’ scoring threats primarily down low, but incoming freshman Myles Mack should make an immediate impact from the perimeter.

Austin Carroll will be the Scarlet Knights premium outside scoring threat in an effort to stop teams from closing in on Biruta and Miller in the post. A solid recruiting class has Rutgers looking like they have the tools to build for the future, the question is whether or not they can compete while waiting for their new talent to assimilate.

Next: Seton Hall Pirates

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Seton Hall Pirates 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 11, 2011 in Conference Notes

Seton Hall Pirates

 

Last Year:

13-18 overall, 7-11 Big East (12th)

Coach:

Kevin Willard (2nd season, 13-17)

Projected starting five:

G: Jordan Theodore, Sr.
G: Fuquan Edwin, So.
G: Aaron Cosby, Fr.
F: Patrick Auda, So.
F: Herb Pope, Sr.

Important departures:

Jeremy Hazell 19.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 35.3 mpg
Jeff Robinson 12.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 31.7 mpg

Inside the numbers:

46 percent scoring returning
55 percent rebounding returning

Additions:

C: Kevin Johsnon, 6’9”, 225 – ESPNU Pos. #26
G: Aaron Cosby 6’2”, 190 – ESPNU Pos. #39
G: Freddie Wilson, 6’2”, 275 – ESPNU Pos. #83

Schedule:

Toughest nonconference game: 12/10 vs. Wake Forest
Toughest in-conference stretch: 1/28 – 2/4 vs. (8) Louisville, at (21) Marquette, at (4) Connecticut

Prediction:

13th in BE; 15+ wins; NIT berth

What to expect:

Seton Hall caught some bad luck last year with Jeremy Hazell and Herb Pope missing significant time due to non-basketball related injuries. Hazell was shot and Pope had a heart problem.

The Pirates lose Hazell and second-leading scorer Jeff Robinson, but Herb Pope showed signs at the end of last season that he could become the double-double machine he was as a sophomore. Helping Pope out with be senior PG Jordan Theodore, who anchored the backcourt last season while Hazell was out.

Seton Hall also has a host of newcomers who can make an impact, including Aaron Cosby and Freddie Wilson who will likely see playing time as the first guys off the bench. The Pirates will lean on Pope and Theodore heavily for their team’s success.

Next: South Florida Bulls

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South Florida Bulls 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 11, 2011 in Conference Notes

South Florida Bulls

 

Last Year:

10-23 overall, 3-15 Big East (15th)

Coach:

Stan Heath (5th season, 41-54)

Projected starting five:

G: Blake Nash, So.
G: Shaun Noriega, Jr.
F: Victor Rudd, So.
F: Ron Anderson, Jr., Sr.
C: Augustus Gilchrist, Sr.

Important departures:

Jarrid Famous 8.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg
Shaun Noriega 6.4 ppg

Inside the numbers:

77 percent scoring returning
77 percent rebounding returning

Additions:

C: Jordan Omogbehin, 7’2”, 285 – ESPNU Pos. #30
G: Anthony Collins, 6’1”, 175 – ESPNU Pos. #70

Schedule:

Toughest nonconference game: 12/3 at (13) Kansas
Toughest in-conference stretch: 2/19 – 2/29 at (11) Pittsburgh, at (5) Syracuse, vs. (22) Cincinnati, at (8) Louisville

Prediction:

12th in BE; 17+ wins; NIT berth

What to expect:

After a disappointing 2010-11, the Bulls aren’t much better off going into 2011-12. Their stud, Augustus Gilchrist is one of the most talented big men in the BE, but his run-ins with coach Stan Heath cost him some games last year because of “philosophical differences.”

Still, there are some guys to look forward to. Jawanza Poland will return to the team in December after he recovers from back surgery, and Shaun Noriega can hit from anywhere in the gym if he’s feeling it. The additions of transfers Ron Anderson, Jr. (Kansas State) and Victor Rudd (Arizona State) will give Gilchrist some help of he is up for it.

The chemistry is all off with South Florida, however. They seemed to have the pieces to repeat their bubble-bursting 2010 campaign, but they never got on track. That will be the theme this year as well as Stan Heath tries to put his guys together to reach their potential.

Next: St. John’s Red Storm

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St. John’s Red Storm 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 11, 2011 in Conference Notes

St. John’s Red Storm

 

Last Year:

21-12 overall, 12-6 Big East (T-3rd)

Coach:

Steve Lavin (2nd season, 21-12)

Projected starting five:

G: Nurideen Lindsey, So.
G: D’Angelo Harrison, Fr.
F: Sir’Dominic Pointer, Fr.
F: Moe Harkless, Fr.
C: God’s Gift Achiuwa, Jr.

Important departures:

Dwight Hardy 18.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.9 apg
Justin Brownlee 12.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.9 apg
DJ Kennedy 10.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.0 apg

Inside the numbers:

4 percent scoring returning
2 percent rebounding returning

Additions:

G: D’Angelo Harrison, 6’3”, 186 – Rivals #40
F: Moe Harkless, 6’6”, 180 – Rivals #41
F: Sir’Dominic Pointer, 6’5” 200 – Rivals #44

Schedule:

Toughest nonconference game(s): 11/17 vs. (16) Arizona, 12/1 at (2) Kentucky
Toughest in-conference stretch: 12/31 – 1/11 at (4) Connecticut, vs. (8) Louisville, at (22) Cincinnati, at (21) Marquette

Prediction:

14th in BE; 15+ wins; NIT Bubble

What to expect:

Steve Lavin came into Queens and turned a lot of heads with an impressive first year at St. John’s. The Red Storm were a little slow out of the gate, but after dismantling Duke at Madison Square Garden, the Johnnies took off, winning nine of their next 11 games.

This year doesn’t promise to be as exciting for St. John’s as they practically lose their entire team to graduation. Lavin did unbelievably in recruiting, bringing in ESPNU’s third-ranked class, but with no senior leadership, it looks to be a rebuilding year for St. John’s.

Another blow came when Lavin was diagnosed with prostate cancer, but the coach has had surgery and hopes to be back for the start of the season. Regardless, not much can be expected from a team starting three freshman and two Juco transfers.

Next: Syracuse Orange

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