2009-2010 Big East Conference Preview

Posted on 27. Aug, 2009 by Nolan Shulman in Conference Previews, NCAA

A new era is upon us in the almighty Big East. One year removed from being the premier conference in America, The Big East enters this season searching for a new identity. Last year the league boasted some of the scariest and most productive front courts in the land and the conference was as physical as I can ever remember. Hasheem Thabeet, DeJuan Blair, and Dante Cunningham are gone and the league faces an uphill battle in replacing them. Although The Big East is bringing in new recruits which feature some very talented big men, I suspect it will be a more guard dominant league in 2009-2010. This is best shown below in my projected standings, where Villanova and their 4-out 1-in motion offense sits atop the food chain. Can this new identity (strong guard play) once again send 8 teams to the dance, while placing 3 teams on the top line of the bracket? Conventional wisdom says no. Last year it was a pretty special league and duplicating that kind of success will not be easy. After losing 9 players to the NBA Draft, and countless more to Europe, there will be an opportunity for new stars to emerge. Will these players be able to match the success of 2008-2009? I doubt it, but only time will tell.

2008-2009 Big East Standings
1. Louisville 16-2
2. Pittsburgh 15-3
3. Connecticut 15-3
4. Villanova 13-5
5. Marquette 12-6
6. Syracuse 11-7
7. West Virginia 10-8
8. Providence 10-8
9. Notre Dame 8-10
10. Cincinnati 8-10
11. Seton Hall 7-11
12. Georgetown 7-11
13. St. John’s 6-12
14. South Florida 4-14
15. Rutgers 2-16
16. DePaul 0-18

2009-2010 Projected Standings
1. Villanova 17-1
2. West Virginia 14-4
3. Cincinnati 13-5
4. Syracuse 13-5
5. UConn 12-6
6. Georgetown 12-6
7. Louisville 11-7
8. Notre Dame 10-8
9. Seton Hall 9-9
10. Pittsburgh 9-9
11. Rutgers 7-11
12. Providence 5-13
13. St.John’s 5-13
14. South Florida 3-15
15. Marquette 3-15
16. DePaul 1-17

PRE-SEASON All-CONFERENCE TEAMS

Player of the Year: Luke Harongody, Notre Dame

After testing the waters and hearing a lot of positives from G.M.’s and scouts, Gody decided to come back to Notre Dame and improve his draft stock. Word is he’s trimmed down, faster getting up and down the court, and faster laterally. He dazzled scouts with his shooting ability and has apparently become deadly from mid range. He was the player of the year two seasons ago and he’s a much improved player today. With Blair and Thabeet gone, Gody is once again the top big man in the league. If he can get the Irish back to the tournament, he’ll bring home the hardware.

First Team
G- Deonta Vaughn, Cincinnati: For the first time he’s got some help and won’t have to shoulder such a heavy load. Cashmere Wright will take over a lot of the ball handling duties which should allow Vaughn to do what he does best. Score the basketball.
G- DaSean Butler, West Virginia: Talented scorer averaged 17 pts and 6 rebounds last year. He and EBanks are expected to give the Mountaineers their best title chance in recent memory.
F- Devin EBanks, West Virginia: The kid has Limitless potential. If he can bring up his energy level and tap into some of that unseen natural talent, he may be top NBA prospect in the league.
F- Luke Harongody, Notre Dame: If he can get some help, Gody could carry Irish near the top of the league. That’s a big if !!!
C- Greg Monroe, Georgetown: Big East Rookie of the Year is poised for a breakout campaign and should emerge as one of the nations top Centers. He got his feet wet in JT3’s complicated offense in year one, now it’s time to produce.

Second Team
G- Scottie Reynolds, Villanova: It’ll be tough to duplicate last season. Hitting the game winning shot to send Nova to the final four is the memory of a lifetime. He needs to become more consistent this season if he wants a shot to play in the NBA.
G- Jerome Dyson, UConn: He was the missing ingredient for UConn last season as the team faltered after he got injured. This year he’s going to need to play a prominent role if the Huskies are going to be any good.
F- Lazar Hayward, Marquette: With Jerel McNeal, Wesley Matthews and Dominic James gone the Golden Eagles are Lazar’s team.
F- Stanley Robinson, Uconn: He’s got all the talent in the world and Calhoun needs a big year from the Junior to be.
C- Yancy Gates, Cincinnati: His body is more toned and he’s worked his tail off all summer to become a dominant Big East big man.

Third Team
G- Kemba Walker, UConn: Kemba had a pretty good year, though didn’t live up to expectations playing behind A.J. Price. With A.J. gone it’s now Kemba’s team. That’s exactly how he wants it as the young man is hungry to prove he’s one of the conferences best young players.
G- Austin Freeman, Georgetown: Is this the year Freeman finally breaks out? The Hoyas hope so or they are in for another long year.
F- Lance Stephenson, Cincinnati: Born Ready was born to play in the Big East. He’s physical, loves contact, and is already a New York City basketball legend.
F- Wesley Johnson, Syracuse: Could finish the season on the first team according to multiple coaches around the conference. Until we’ve seen him get it done, he remains on the third team.
C- Arinze Onuaku, Syracuse: If his knee injury is a thing of the past, he’s in for a monster season. He led the conference in field goal percentage last season and should benefit from having less fire power in the back court.

PRE-SEASON ALL-FRESHMAN TEAMS

Freshman of the Year: Lance Stephenson, Cincinnati

He may have been the last freshman in the conference to commit, but he’s also the best. Despite some character concerns, Lance’s signing puts Cincinnati in a great position to contend for a conference title. He’s going to score in bunches and Big East Big men better be ready for some collisions at the rim. Even with Deonta Vaughn and Yancy Gates back in the fold, the biggest star in Cincy is going to be “Born Ready”.

First Team
G- Peyton Siva, Louisville: Unfortunately for Edgar Sosa, Siva is going to start at point guard this year. He’s quick, can run an offense and gives Louisville something they have been lacking for a few years. A reliable lead guard.
G- Junior Cadougan, Marquette: Canadian point guard is a pure point guard and a born winner. Too bad he’s going to endure an ugly season with so many key players leaving Marquette. Will get lots of playing time in his freshman year.
F- Lance Stephenson, Cincinnati: Lance should get a lot of shots playing in Cincinnati. He’s got the talent to be special if he can stay out of trouble and buy into what Mick Cronin teaches him.
F- Mouphtauo Yarou, Villanova: Top 10 recruit will replace Dante Cunningham. He’ll bring high energy and clean the glass.
C- Alex Oriakhi, UCONN: Replacing the Tanzanian giant is going to be tough at just 6′8. He’s more polished offensively but won’t protect the rim like Thabeet.

Second Team
G- Brandon Triche, Syracuse: Replacing Flynn won’t be easy, but the local New York State player of the year is up to the challenge. Just ask Jim Boeheim.
G- Malik Waynes, Villanova: It’s going to be tough for the guard to get much PT with Reynolds and Fisher still in town. He’d be on the first team if there wasn’t a log jam in the Nova back court.
F- Dominic Cheek, Villanova: Kid has lottery talent but might need a year or two before Jay Wright brings it all out of him. When he does, look out.
F- Dante Taylor, Pittsburgh: Without Blair, Taylor is going to need to have a monster freshman campaign if Pitt is going to be relevant this yeaThe kid can score and rebound, but likely not at the level of Blair.
C- Talib Zanna, Pittsburgh: Along with Taylor, Zanna is will help replace Blair. He’s a big and tough kid who fits Pittsburgh style perfectly.

PRE-SEASON ALL-TRANSFER TEAM

Transfer of the Year: Wesley Johnson, Syracuse

There’s been a lot of pressure and a lot of hype surrounding Wesley’s upcoming season at Syracuse. Jim Boeheim has been singing his praises all summer long and believes the 6′8 forward is going to be very good. He’ll replace Paul Harris at the back end of the zone and should be able to closeout on the shooters better than Paul did. He should also help replace Paul’s rebounding which was superb for a 6′4 wing. With Arinze Onuaku and Rick Jackson also on the backend, Syracuse zone should be very long and much better. Offensively Johnson can do a little bit of everything. He can take it off the bounce, face up, and shoot it from deep. He’s somewhere between Carmelo and Donte Greene. He won’t be as effective on the baseline as Melo, but shouldn’t camp out at the three point line quite as often as Greene.

G- Malcolm Grant, Miami (Villanova): He couldn’t find any run in Villanova’s guard rotation so he decided to transfer to the Canes where he is expected to start immediately.
G- Ben Hansbrough, Notre Dame (Missisipi St.): Tyler’s brother will be taking over for Kyle McCalarney. He was productive in the SEC and should be even more productive for the Irish.
F- Taylor King, Villanova (Duke): He’s a prototypical Nova guy. A big who can take his defender away from the net and allow the guards to penetrate the lane. King can shoot and will make his way into the rotation.
F- Wesley Johnson, Syracuse (Iowa St.): Syracuse will be leaning on Wes to pick up the scoring slack left behind by the trio of Harris, Devendorf, and Flynn. He’s the long, lean, athletic forward that thrives in Boeheim’s system. He’s going to be huge.
F- Herb Pope, Seton Hall (New Mexico St.): Pope averaged over 11 pts and nearly 7 rebounds per game last season and should give Hazell some much needed help.

COACH ON THE HOT SEAT

Norm Roberts, St. John’s: With DJ Kennedy and Paris Horne back, and Anthony Mason Jr. returning from injury there are some increased expectations in NYC. The Johnies have been patient enough with Roberts. It’s time to see an increase in the win column or else.

Nolan Shulman
nolan@flagrantfouls.com

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3 Responses to “2009-2010 Big East Conference Preview”

  1. BB-Bob

    03. Sep, 2009

    Ummmm…. Did we forget Fab Mello on one of the all freshman teams?

    Reply to this comment
    • Nolan

      03. Sep, 2009

      FAB MELO won’t be attending College until 2010-2011. He will certainly be on one of my all freshman teams next season.

      Reply to this comment
  2. Diceman

    27. Aug, 2009

    great preview.

    Reply to this comment

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