Believe it or not, the college hoops season is at or nearing the halfway point for many schools, and that means the experts are beginning to release their mid-season awards. So, in case you're interested in what the insiders are saying about the SB Nation New York's Big East Conference basketball programs at the halfway point, well, here's a look:
See what experts are saying after the jump...
To start off the Sporting News' Mike DeCourcy began his mid-season award column by listing off the best coaches of the 2011-12 season, and Seton Hall Pirates head coach didn't win the award but was a runner-up to Indiana Hoosiers coach Tim Crean.
The No. 24-ranked Pirates (15-2, 4-1 Big East) did earn DeCourcy's award for best surprise team.
"The Pirates were 13-18 last season and began this year with a roster featuring six freshmen, none of whom was a five-star recruit. They’ve already surpassed last season’s win total, with rejuvenated forward Herb Pope averaging a double-double and guard Jordan Theodore producing 16.5 points and 7.6 assists per game."
Seton Hall senior forward Herb Pope also made the list of biggest surprise players.
|2011 - Herb Pope||17||31.1||7.0||14.0||50.0||0.5||1.4||39.1||2.9||4.5||64.9||3.8||7.1||10.9||1.8||2.8||1.1||1.8||2.7||17.5|
As for the No. 1-ranked Syracuse Orange, DeCourcy named senior forward Kris Joseph to his mid-season All-American team as a third-teamer, even though, some could argue Joseph isn't the best player on the squad.
"Jim Boeheim’s suddenly socialistic approach to playing time — everyone gets a share — has removed some of Joseph’s workload. But he’s about as productive as a year ago — and far more efficient. Synergy Sports Technologies indicates he is one of Syracuse's best zone defenders, holding opponents to 17.1 percent in spot-up situations."
DeCourcy also said that the Orange are the toughest program to judge:
"There’s little doubt the Orange are an elite team. They’ve dominated too many good teams (Seton Hall, NC State) and won too many overall (17-0) to not be considered a challenger for the title. However, they did not play an overabundance of great teams in non-league play and the Big East schedule began with SU either playing at home against solid opponents or going on the road to face the bottom tier. What will Syracuse look like when it’s seriously under pressure."
Meanwhile, SI.com's Seth Davis released his mid-season awards column, and, unfortunately, Syracuse made the list not because of their solid play, instead, David mentioned the sad off-the court story of former long-time assistant head coach Bernie Fine.
"The shock of the allegations made against the longtime Syracuse assistant led to painful questions about the way Jim Boeheim reacted, the responsibility he had and whether the media properly fulfilled its job as the public's watchdog. Worst of all, Fine will escape criminal prosecution because the statute of limitations has expired for his alleged crimes. Syracuse has obviously performed admirably on the court since this story broke, but the fallout will be felt for many years to come."
However, Syracuse basketball wasn't the only Big East school highlighted in a negative light, as the Pittsburgh Panthers were named the biggest disappointment, while the Cincinnati Bearcats was placed in the worst moment -- their brawl with city rival Xavier Musketeers.