Blogging Around The Big East: The Otto-Man Empire And Hoya Hysteria

WASHINGTON DC- JANUARY 12: Chris Wright #4 of the Georgetown Hoya reacts to a loss after a college basketball game against the Pittsburgh Panthers on January 12 2011 at the Verizon Center in Washington DC. The Panthers won 72-57. (Photo by Mitchell LaytonGetty Images)

If it wasn't for No. 4-ranked Syracuse Orange downright conquering the St. John's Red Storm, 76-59, Wednesday night and claiming NYC and the rest of Northeast America -- more on this later -- their own, I'd have that as my lead story for Thursday.

However, the less than dramatic game at Madison Square Garden has my focuses shifting to the nations capital where last night the No. 19 Georgetown Hoyas lost badly to No. 5 Pittsburgh, 72-57.

The Casual Hoya is not angry but sad about its teams latest setback.

"We didn't play offense, we didn't play defense, we didn't rebound, we didn't hit free throws, we just existed," wrote JGD of the Casual Hoya on Wednesday night. "In my six plus years as a Georgetown fan, I have never seen a game this depressing."

"The first five games of this Big East season have been like the five stages of grief. Against Notre Dame, I was in denial. "Oh no, we just had a bad shooting night, we're fine, white people suck." Against Depaul, I was angry. Against St. John's, I was bargaining. "How could we possibly not box out on the last possession?" After the loss to West Virginia, I was depressed. Tonight, I am just accepting."

Cardiac Hill didn't want to continue to step on the throats of the Georgetown faithful but did.

"I typically don't start recaps talking about the other team, but Georgetown has me perplexed," wrote SB Nation's Cardiac Hill on Wednesday night. " Having lost three out of its past four games, and with road games against Syracuse, Villanova, UConn, and Cincinnati I really expected Georgetown to put up a much bigger fight on Wednesday against Pitt. The Hoyas looked much less like a top 25 ranked team and much more like (can I say it?) a team that may miss the NCAA tournament."

Right now, the only thing going for Georgetown (12-5, 1-4) is that they play two beatable opponents (Rutgers Scarlet Knights and Seton Hall Pirates) in it's next two games.

Currently, the Panthers (16-1, 4-0) look almost flawless. Pitt and Syracuse are going to make strong cases for No. 1 seeds come March.

Hoyas Basketball Schedule

Next 5 Games

@ Rutgers Sat 01/15 12:00 PM EST
@ Seton Hall Tue 01/18 7:00 PM EST
St. John's Wed 01/26 7:00 PM EST
@ Villanova Sat 01/29 12:00 PM EST
Louisville Mon 01/31 7:00 PM EST

Last 5 Games

Pittsburgh Wed 01/12 L 57 - 72
West Virginia Sat 01/08 L 59 - 65
@ St. John's Mon 01/03 L 58 - 61
DePaul Sat 01/01 W 86 - 75
@ Notre Dame Wed 12/29 L 55 - 69

If you live or around the state of New York, you know that Syracuse (16-0, 4-0) cemented it's claim as NY's college team by beating the upstart Red Storm (10-4, 3-2) at MSG.

Rumble In The Garden hated to admit it but...

"Syracuse dominated the Red Storm from about the 9.00 minute mark in the first half onward. And from the sounds of it, the Orange, once again, dominated the crowd at Madison Square Garden."

Over at Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician, Sean Keeley is at war with the talking heads of ESPN, who claim SU has played only two "true" road games so far this season -- at least that's what ESPNU play-by-play announcer Carter Blackburn claimed last night.

Now,  I could be wrong but I am pretty sure Blackburn was referring to games at Seton Hall and St. John's; forgetting SU has played two games in Atlantic City, NJ and another at MSG.

"Syracuse, or The Otto-Man Empire as it is referred to in some texts, is a prominent city-state in modern-day America," wrote Keeley on Thursday. "Situated on the banks of the River Hudson, stretching from the mighty waters of the Atlantic to the frigid lakes of Great North."

"Syracuse emerged as a political entity around the 21 century AD, when the invading Orange tribe from the North sacked the remaining city-states of Upstate New York, New York City, Connecticut and New Jersey. Since 2009, it has become the dominant military land-power in the Northeast."

Kudos, Mr. Keeley because this SU topic is really getting annoying.

Every time SU plays, this topic is brought up. Can ESPN production crew still can't find a better Orange topic to talk about?

Heck, I'd rather listen to them talk about Scoop Jardine and Rick Jackson playing on the same high school team in Philadelphia. As long as this topic dies.

I must admit though, if they began calling it the Otto-Man Empire I would let them rant on and on.

Orange Basketball Schedule

Next 5 Games

Cincinnati Sat 01/15 12:00 PM EST
@ Pittsburgh Mon 01/17 7:30 PM EST
Villanova Sat 01/22 12:00 PM EST
Seton Hall Tue 01/25 7:00 PM EST
@ Marquette Sat 01/29 3:00 PM EST

Last 5 Games

@ St. John's Wed 01/12 W 76 - 59
@ Seton Hall Sat 01/08 W 61 - 56
Notre Dame Sat 01/01 W 70 - 58
Providence Tue 12/28 W 81 - 74
Drexel Wed 12/22 W 93 - 65

In Philadelphia, the No. 7 Villanova Wildcats (15-1, 4-0) fought off a early barrage of 3-pointers from No. 17 Louisville Cardinals (13-3, 2-1) to claim a 88-74 home victory.

Chris Lane of The Nova Blog is happy with the performance.

"It was an amazingly balanced display that consistently had me and atrask8 throwing our hands up at the bar after every made shot and every great defensive play," wrote Chris Lane of The Nova Blog on Thursday morning. "Can we get that performance every night?"

The story of the night was 'Nova guard Corey Stokes, who Lane says is playing like a top-tier NBA draft pick.

"He's finally showing that seemingly limitless range, is playing strong defense, and is drawing a ton of fouls going to the hoop (9-9 on the FT line last night). He's our best player at this stage."

The writers at Card Chronicle are hardly pushing the panic button but are asking a little bit more out of their big men.

"I hope the guys stay up until 3 AM working on blocking out OR only having one guy go for the block while the other stays home for the rebound," CardsFan922 posted on Wednesday. "Lack of rebounding and bad defense has made us mad all season."

Villanova, which won it's first four Big East games by 11 or more points, has been impressive.

I don't know if the Duke Blue Devils losing to Florida State Seminoles will be enough for the Wildcats to sneak into the Top 5. But they are right there, talent wise, with both SU and Pitt.

Wildcats Basketball Schedule

Next 5 Games

Maryland Sat 01/15 1:00 PM EST
@ Connecticut Mon 01/17 3:30 PM EST
@ Syracuse Sat 01/22 12:00 PM EST
@ Providence Wed 01/26 7:00 PM EST
Georgetown Sat 01/29 12:00 PM EST

Last 5 Games

Louisville Wed 01/12 W 88 - 74
Cincinnati Sun 01/09 W 72 - 61
@ South Florida Thu 01/06 W 83 - 71
Rutgers Sun 01/02 W 81 - 65
Temple Thu 12/30 W 78 - 74

The South Orange Juice is celebrating it's 78-67 victory over the DePaul Blue Demons (6-10, 0-4) and the return of star guard Jeremy Hazell.

"The unquestioned story of the night was Jeremy Hazell returning to the Pirates' lineup following a 54 day absence," wrote JPGuerette on Thursday. "There were questions ("Will he play?") and assumptions ("He's not going to be a major factor tonight- he'll need some time."), but all of those were thrown out the window quicker than you can say "Welcome Back, Jeremy."

"His advanced skill level was on full display tonight, and Pirate fans should be excited as ever."

Hazell, who broke his wrist in November then was shot below the right arm during a robbery attempt on Christmas Eve, netted a game-best 23 points as Seton Hall (8-9, 2-3) cruised.

"If he can put up 23 efficient points against DePaul while wearing a splint after 54 days without real game action, can you imagine what will happen once he really gets going? I shudder to think about it. But it's a good shudder. Welcome Back, Bigg Game Hazell!"

This is a great story for Pirates fans, who wont be hearing a lot of good news the rest of the season.

However, if Hazell can play at a high level then it might allow for SHU to steal a couple league games.

FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2010 - Jeremy Hazell 4 32.0 7.5 13.8 54.5 3.3 5.5 59.1 5.5 7.3 75.9 0.5 1.3 1.8 1.8 2.3 2.3 0.3 0.8 23.8

In the Midwest, the No. 25 Cincinnati Bearcats (16-1, 3-1) dominated the South Florida Bulls, 74-66, but the Voodoo Five isn't looking at the negatives and trying to stay positive.

"USF is better than Duke," wrote Ken DeCelles. "There, I said it."

"If you guys are as big a fan of the transitive property as I am, you'll remember that USF beat Auburn, who somehow beat Florida State, who upset top-ranked and previously undefeated Duke tonight. Just like that, it's USF > Duke. I'm sure USF could even spot Duke 8 points, and the Bulls would still come out on top."

Down The Drive was unavailable for comment.

The Bulls are 6-12 overall and 0-5 in the conference.

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