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Big East Basketball: Syracuse, Rutgers, St. John's and Conference Off To Indecisive Start

-- Visit Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician for the latest on Syracuse Basketball. -- On The Banks is all Scarlet Knight sports. -- The UConn Blog has Week 1 of the Big East Basketball Power Rankings.

The Big East Conference record and position in the latest NCAA college basketball polls will probably make you conclude that the league is off to a terrific start.

The 16-team league is 24-4 overall and has three teams in the Top 10 of the AP poll -- No. 5 Pittsburgh; No. 6 Villanova and No. 10 Syracuse.

Both the Orange (3-0) and Panthers (3-0) already have three victories. Georgetown (No. 20 and No. 21), Villanova, Notre Dame, Providence and Marquette (No. 42 in the ESPN-USA Today poll) all sit at 2-0.


Big East Conference Standings


One of the league's four losses came early Tuesday morning (2 a.m. ET) when St. John's lost its season opener, 76-71, at St. Mary's in Moraga, Ca.

Tuesday night, Louisville helped the Big East rebound by defeating Butler (No. 18 and No. 16) at the new KFC Yum! Center, 88-73.

However, not everything is so grand in the Big East after Week 1. At least, not according to some experts and league head coaches.

According to Sports Illustrated's College Basketball Preview not one player in the conference is good enough to crack three preseason All-America teams.

Villanova's Corey Fisher, Georgetown's Austin Freeman, Pittsburgh's Ashton Gibbs and West Virginia's Kevin Jones earned just honorable mention honors from writers Seth Davis and Luke Winn.

To continue the Snobfest on Big East players, Yahoo Sports' Jason King made this point about the conference's draft prospects on Tuesday:

"Of the 60 players projected to be taken in the 2011 NBA draft, only six are from the 16-team Big east: Kemba Walker (No. 12) and Kris Joseph (No. 26) are listed as first-rounders. Kevin Jones, D.J. Kennedy, Gilbert Brown and Yancy Gates are picked to go in the second round."

Of course, it's way too early to hammer preseason predictions because a) they haven't had time to be proven right or wrong; and b) I very much dislike preseason polls, All-America teams or tournament projections. They're fun to look at and create but mean nothing because no games have been played.

With that said, I can't see how no Big East player will make first, second or third team All-American. There's just too much talent in the league for that to happen.

A couple quick notes before getting to SB Nation New York's local teams.

Last Friday night, West Virginia took 29 3-point shots to beat Oakland (Michigan) 95-71. The Mountaineers made 41 percent from beyond the arc. Look for both of those stats to be a common trend throughout the season.

In their first two games of the season, Georgetown is shooting a dismal 47 percent from the free-throw line, where Louisville took 43 shots in its win over Butler.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Mike Rice's team lost it's season-opener Friday to Princeton, 78-73, but rebounded against Fairfield with a 63-58 home win, on Monday.

According to Brendan Prunty of the Star-Ledger there has been some quality back-court play from the team picked to finish 15th out of 16 team in the Big East preseason coaches' poll.

"... Mike Rice has to be liking what he's getting out of his backcourt so far, wrote Prunty. "First, James Beatty in a losing effort on Friday against Princeton and then Mike Coburn Monday night against Fairfield."

"It's been a rebirthing for Coburn, who was all but useless under Fred Hill for the last three seasons. Guards were just asked to penetrate and kick to the wings and that's not particularly Coburn's strong-suit. But being able to operate in space and knock down though shots is something that the senior seems to be quite comfortable with."

In two games, Coburn is averaging 12 points and shooting 55.6 percent from the field.


Scarlet Knights Basketball Schedule

Next 5 Games

Miami Sun 11/21 4:00 PM EST
Norfolk St. Tue 11/23 7:30 PM EST
@ St. Joseph's Fri 11/26 7:30 PM EST
NJIT Highlanders Wed 12/01 7:30 PM EST
Marist Tue 12/07 7:30 PM EST

Last 5 Games

Fairfield Mon 11/15 W 68 - 53
@ Princeton Fri 11/12 L 73 - 78

St. John's Red Storm

The Johnnies failed to score in the first five minutes of their season opener. "That's enough real life time to hit the can, grab a beer and get back into the La-Z-Boy without missing a basketball. Not good," wrote Lenn Robbins of the NY Post on Wednesday.

Whether it was jet lag or the start time -- which was 2 a.m. ET because of ESPN's 24-hour Tip-Off Marathon -- St. John's didn't look sharp in Steve Lavin's debut, says Yahoo! Sports:

"Fans certainly have a reason to be frustrated over the defeat. With 10 seniors, St. John's boasted more experience than the Gaels, who lost leading scorer and rebounder Omar Samhan from last year's team. And the Red Storm was certainly more athletic."

At. St. John's, it's a work in progress but there's no reason to believe it won't happen. After all Lavin has done the last six months, there's no reason to doubt him now."

On the bright side, freshman Dwayne Polee took 16 shots and tallied a team-high 16 points. 


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 - Dwayne Polee Jr. 1 29.0 6.0 16.0 37.5 2.0 5.0 40.0 2.0 2.0 100.0 0.0 4.0 4.0 0.0 2.0 2.0 1.0 2.0 16.0

The Johnnies can rebound Wednesday night against visiting Columbia.


Red Storm Basketball Schedule

Next 5 Games

Columbia Wed 11/17 8:00 PM EST
Ball St. Thu 11/25 1:45 AM EST
Wagner Wed 12/01 7:00 PM EST
St. Bonaventure Tue 12/07 7:00 PM EST
@ Fordham Sat 12/11 7:00 PM EST

Last 5 Games

@ St. Mary's, Calif. Tue 11/16 L 71 - 76

 

Syracuse Orange

Despite the Orange being 3-0 and being in the Top 10 in the AP poll, head coach Jim Boeheim isn't pleased.

"Right now, we're the most overrated team that I've ever had," said Boeheim after SU moved to 2-0 overall with a 86-67 victory over Canisius on Sunday. "And I'm a little shocked that everybody's bought into this whole thing. We've got a long ways to go. We are not a good basketball team."

Two days later, guard Scoop Jardine netted career-high 27 points to help SU beat Detroit, 66-55. Boeheim still wasn't too happy -- even though it was his 66th birthday.

"For those keeping score, Boeheim had run all 10 of his healthy scholarship players onto the court barely 10 minutes into the game," wrote Syracuse Post-Standard columnist Bud Poliquin on Wednesday. "Meanwhile, he'd unfastened his top button and loosened his tie by the seven-minute mark of the first half."

Though the season is just underway and the Orange have yet to have a blemish on their overall record, there is some concern.

Against three inferior opponents, the Orange defeated Northern Iowa, 68-46, Friday, SU has either led or trailed by just a couple points at halftime.

Junior forward Kris Joseph has averaged just nine points in his three starts as SU's go-to guy.

Freshmen Dion Waiters and Fab Melo have been awful.


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 - Fab Melo 3 15.3 1.3 2.3 57.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.7 0.0 0.7 1.7 2.3 0.0 0.7 0.3 0.7 4.3 2.7


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 - Dion Waiters 3 14.0 1.7 5.7 29.4 1.3 3.0 44.4 0.7 1.3 50.0 0.3 1.3 1.7 1.3 0.0 0.3 0.0 0.7 5.3

At least, Orange Nation has four more games until they play Michigan State (No. 2 in both the AP and USA-Today polls).


Orange Basketball Schedule

Next 5 Games

William & Mary Sun 11/21 2:00 PM EST
@ Michigan Fri 11/26 8:00 PM EST
Cornell Tue 11/30 7:00 PM EST
N.C. State Sat 12/04 5:15 PM EST
Michigan St. Tue 12/07 9:00 PM EST

Last 5 Games

Detroit Tue 11/16 W 66 - 55
Canisius Sun 11/14 W 86 - 67
Northern Iowa Fri 11/12 W 68 - 46