Blog Entry

Big East Thursday lookahead

Posted on: March 8, 2012 1:55 am
Edited on: March 8, 2012 11:48 am
 
South Florida's tournament chances couldn't have possibly been helped with how it won over Villanova, right? The Bulls got yet another Big East win -- their 13th now, by the way -- yet plenty stil see USF as a team with more to prove. Stan Heath's team faced the easiest schedule in the Big East. Things shook out their way, but credit to Heath for actually getting his team to a one-day bye and not slipping up in the opening game.

I think the Bulls are in. They've compiled enough and had so many good players missing from the early parts of their schedule, I think to judge the team on what it's done when it's been completely healthy means USF is not only in, but just skirts out of the First Four and will have its first tournament game next Thursday or Friday.

Now, let's look at what Thursday has to offer in the World's Most Famous Arena.

Syracuse (1) vs. Connecticut (9). The day's most anticipated game if the first one, as 30-1 Syracuse gets its first Big East tournament game against Connecticut. It's the 14th meeting between programs in Manhattan; Syracuse leads the series 7-6. The intrigue behind this game has almost nothing to do with the basketball to be played. UConn's ensured itself of an at-large bid after coming back and beating West Virginia in overtime Wednesday. Syracuse is locked into a No. 1 seed and will play in the East Regional, even if it loses this game by 74 points.

The interest around this game, of course, is the coaches. Boe and Cal. Jim Calhoun's had a week of appreciation for his team and his feelings on this season. He's a fighter, but there's a tenderness coming through that's not typical of the man. Calhoun coaches this inconsistent team, chasing as many more wins possible this season knowing that 2012-13 could bring an academic-related NCAA tournament ban.

Jim Boeheim, on the other hand, walks into a situation where he'll be asked about why there have been problems with his program's drug-testing and if the team has looked the other way on positive tests. The Boeheim press conference around 2:20 on Thursday afternoon will be must-watch. Boeheim and Calhoun are the biggest of rivals in college basketball, but they also respect each other a tremendous amount. I wonder if they've shared a phone call leading up to this.

Cincinnati (4) vs. Georgetown (5). Like the first game of the day, this doesn't have much gravity to it. Both teams are easily in the tournament, and the loser of this one won't get shaken in the seed list overall, most likely. Cincinnati's probably in the 8/9 game right now, and if it loses to the Hoyas, it's going to stay there. Georgetown has potential to crack a top-four seed if it plays to Saturday, so that's what it's fighting for.

Marquette (2) vs. Louisville (7). The Cardinals fell in last year's Big East tournament to Marquette, but that was when Marquette was the shaky 11 seed needing one more really nice win to get into the NCAAs. It ended up 81-56, Golden Eagles Cardinals. (Sorry for the error, folks.) Buzz Williams' team made its way to the Sweet 16. This year, MU is clearly superior to Louisville, which uglied the world to its way to a win over Seton Hall Wednesday night. Both teams can do good for their seeding here, but obviously Louisville stands more to gain. This is the second meeting between these two this season. Marquette won the first, 74-63, on Jan. 16.

Notre Dame (3) vs. South Florida (6). We addressed the South Florida hideousness up top. So here's a thought. How many people will be in Madison Square Garden by halftime of this game? USF doesn't travel well, and Notre Dame's sidewalk alumni aren't potent in New York City. You combine that with the fact neither of these teams has a star, both need two games to get to 80 points, and this could be another late-night leper colony of a basketball game. Please, get us to the mid-60s, we beg you. The temperature will be that in Manhattan, at least.

-- Matt Norlander

Category: NCAAB
Comments

Since: Mar 8, 2012
Posted on: March 8, 2012 2:21 pm
 

Big East Thursday lookahead

The prior commenters have correctly noted that Louisville got to the final game last year and defeated both Notre Dame and Marquette in the process.  My comment goes to another glaring mistake by the writer:  It is the "SUBWAY alumni," not the "sidewalk alumni" who turn out for Notre Dame games in NYC.  That phrase goes back to the 1940's when Notre Dame would plaay Army in football at the Polo Grounds.  Frequently, the game would be for the "mythical" national championship.  While I am sure that was before the writer's birth, the phrase has been used frequently enough in modern times that he should know it.  Or perhaps it just shows the poor state of journalism schools today. 




Since: Mar 8, 2012
Posted on: March 8, 2012 9:24 am
 

Big East Thursday lookahead

Ooops...ND win was in OT, UConn Championship game loss was in regulation.  Either way, UofL sure didn't lose to Marquette



Since: Mar 8, 2012
Posted on: March 8, 2012 9:21 am
 

Big East Thursday lookahead

Louisville drilled Marquette in last year's Big East Tournament then lost in overtime in the championship game to eventual National Champion UConn.  Make a correction and do your homework in the future.



Since: Jul 8, 2009
Posted on: March 8, 2012 6:56 am
 

Big East Thursday lookahead

Matt,

    Louisville beat Marquette 81-56 last year in the Big East tourney. They then went on to beat Notre Dame in overtime and lose the title game to Uconn. The Cards were also without leading scorer Kyle Kuric when they played earlier this season in Milwaukee.



Since: Jan 2, 2011
Posted on: March 8, 2012 6:02 am
 

Big East Thursday lookahead

This person who wrote this is a Jerk and should crawl under a rock. USF may not score a lot, but have you heard about a Great Defense!!!! The game may be ugly and close but USF will beat Notre Dame and shut up Jerks like this. Go South Florida Bulls!!!!



Since: Mar 8, 2012
Posted on: March 8, 2012 2:07 am
 

Big East Thursday lookahead

Huh? Louisville beat Marquette in last years quarterfinals...get the facts straight.


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