(Editor's Note: A very well done FanPost! See, I wasn't lying. Right to the front page!)
Thanks Chris for pointing out the FanPosts Feature on the Blog.
The Big East is really shaping up to be a power conference like it usually is despite the pre-season doubts that always seem to linger.
After reading the post about the Big East reigning supreme, a few thoughts came to mind --
After St.John's upset against the Hoyas, some may say see St. John's as the sleeper team to watch out for. With the third best recruiting class coming in next season, the Johnnies certainly have much to look forward to. With three wins and no losses in the BIG EAST so far, the Red Storm can make a statement this season. Their upcoming schedule against 7 straight ranked teams should really show whether the Storm can be considered a force in the Big East.
Notable Opponents Coming Up: Syracuse, Notre Dame, and Duke
For thoughts on Notre Dame and UConn, see you after The Jump.
The Fighting Irish are beginning to make a strong case about why they should be considered atop the Big East. With convincing wins against Georgetown and Connecticut, the Irish are looking to possibly push into the top 10. Watching the game against Connecticut, I could see why they were ranked # 15 in the nation. After shooting 50% from the 3-pt range (hitting 7-14) in the first half, #9 ranked UCONN or better yet #9 ranked Kemba Walker had some work to do. The Irish's starting five are averaging double digits in points per game with Abromaitis and Hansbrough showing their range from downtown. With contributions from Nash, Scott and Martin, as part of the starting 5, the team has some confidence going further into Big East play. However, it should be mentioned that unsung players such as Jack Cooley (Harangody look-a-like) are able to contribute to the hard fought wins. Overall, I see some good basketball being played here as the Irish knock on the doors of the BIG EAST top-contenders such as Pitt, Nova, and Cuse (despite their 12-point loss to the Orangemen earlier this week)
Notable Opponents Coming Up: St. John's - two games within 8 days.
Being a Connecticut native and a die-hard Villanova fan, I have always been very critical of the Huskies. Going from unranked to being #4 in the rankings, UConn has proved a lot to their skeptics such as me. But, have they really? I can't deny the talent of Kemba Walker and his pure athleticism but how much can he really do night in and night out? Averaging nearly 26.7 points per game, he clearly has been lights out night in and night out. But for how much longer?
With a starting line-up including three freshmen, Walker and an inconsistent big-man in Oriakhi, I sense some trouble brewing for the Huskies. With a 15pt loss against Pittsburgh and a close OT-win against USF, the Huskies went into South Bend to face the confident Irish tonight. As mentioned, the Huskies allowed the Irish to shoot an astonishing 7 shots from 3-point land. With a "down" night from Kemba (scored only 4 points in the first half and 15 in the 2nd - was 8-23 FGM-FGA shooting 34%), the Huskies needed help from their freshmen. Thanks to Shabazz Napier, the game wasn't a complete blow-out - well his last second attempt at a game-tying 3-pointer was atrocious considering he still had 2 seconds left on the clock. The Huskies fell 73-70.
For the first time this season, the Huskies saw their freshmen making a difference in scoring. This was about the only positive thing I saw for the Huskies tonight. I see some great potential in the fresh meat such as Shabazz Napier, Roscoe Smith, and Lamb but they will be facing a Big East that can reduce their Husky barks to whimpers.
Lastly, in order for the Huskies to even attempt to stay a force in the Big East, Alex Oriakhi needs to show up to play. At 6 ft 9 inches weighing nearly 240, Oriakhi has to make his presence known in the paint. He started off on fire at the beginning of the season when the Huskies stunned millions in Maui but really has hit a wall since. In tonight's game against the Irish, Oriakhi fouled out with 0 points and 6 rebounds.
If Walker, Oriakhi and Shabazz can find a rhythm, then I would say WATCH OUT for the Huskies, Big East. Until then, the one man team will unfortunately have to grind out close wins.
Notable Opponents Coming Up: Texas and Villanova (Jan. 17th at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, CT at 3:30pm on ESPN).
Discuss! I would love to hear your opinions about any of these teams or anything else you want to bring up that I might have missed.