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Big East Basketball Notebook 1.2.12: New Year, New Expectations

It was a solid past week for the SB Nation New York men's college hoops programs. Here's a brief recap of what transpired and a look forward for Syracuse, Seton Hall, St. John's and Rutgers.

The first full week of Big East Conference men's basketball play is in the rear-view mirror, and when it comes to the SB Nation New York Big East programs -- Syracuse University, St. John's University, Seton Hall University and Rutgers University -- it wasn't a bad start to the season. Not a bad start at all.

In case you missed it, here's a quick recap of how our schools did and a schedule of what's to come:

Syracuse Orange --- Record: 15-0; Conference 2-0

It seems as if Syracuse's initial critics, who thought the Orange backed into the nation's No. 1 rankings a few weeks ago, are slowly fading away. In five games since becoming the country's top team, the Orange have won by an average margin of 19.8 points per game and at no time won by less than 16.

In fact, blowouts have become the normal for the 'Cuse, which have compiled wins of 19-plus points in 10 of its 15 victories. In nine games, at least one walk-on player has seen action.

Upcoming Syracuse basketball schedule:

At Providence Friars -- Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET on SNY
Vs. Marquette Golden Eagles -- Saturday at 4 p.m. on SNY

For more on the Orange, check out the SB Nation blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician.

Seton Hall Pirates -- Record: 12-2; Conference: 1-1

Alas, I was wrong about the Pirates upsetting the Orange and handing them their first loss of the season. (And, boy did I look bad when everything was said and done). But, that's all over with now and lets not forget that Seton Hall rebounded from the SU shellacking by beating the West Virginia Mountaineers Friday by 19 points.

Sophomore forward Fuquan Edwin answered his terrible outing against Syracuse (three points, 0-for-11 from the field) with a team-best 19 points, while senior point guard Jordan Theodore added 18 points.

Look, the loss to Syracuse was bad but to respond with a victory against a program coached by Bob Huggins is not to shabby. Soon or later, this Pirates squad will crack the top 25, but it will take a victory over a ranked team to do so.

Upcoming Seton Hall basketball schedule:

Vs. Connecticut Huskies -- Tuesday at 7 p.m. on SNY
At Providence -- Saturday at 6 p.m. on SNY

For more on the Pirates, check out South Orange Juice.

St. John's Red Storm -- Record: 7-6; Conference 1-1

Despite being pretty much manhandled Saturday by UConn, 83-69, the Red Storm did finish the week with a 1-1 conference record after crushing Providence Tuesday, 91-67.

Now, the Johnnies may not contend for a Big East title this season, but they sure are going to be fun to keep track of, especially if freshmen Moe Harkless and D'Angelo Harrison keeping progressing at the clip they are.

On Tuesday, forward Harkless dropped 32 point on the Friars, while Harrison added a collegiate-best 25 points. Then, against the Huskies Harrison scored a team-best 17, while Harkless added 16.

What's hurting the Red Storm right now is the lack of a true point guard -- which was lost when Nurideen Lindsey decided to transfer about a month ago -- and a true veteran star, which they had last season with senior guard Dwight Hardy.

Upcoming St. John's basketball schedule:

Vs. Louisville Cardinals -- Tuesday at 7 p.m. on ESPNU
At Cincinnati Bearcats -- Saturday at 2 p.m. on MSG

For more on the Red Storm, visit Rumble In The Garden.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights -- Record: 8-6, Conference 0-1

Rutgers started conference play a bit later then the others, but the wait was worth it when the Scarlet Knights pulled off a stunning, 85-83, upset over the No. 10 Florida Gators.

Freshman guard Eli Carter tallied a collegiate-best 31 points in the double-overtime victory at the Louis Brown Athletic Center, which featured the fans storming the court by game's end.

It was the Scarlet Knights second win over a top 10 program in the past two years, which is a solid stat for head coach Mike Rice to have. However, the victory was short lived, as Rutgers fell to the South Florid Bulls Sunday, 67-65.

Despite the edging to USF, Rutgers does have some promising young stars in Carter and sixth man, freshman guard Myles Mack, who is averaging 11 ppg.

Again, don't look for the Scarlet Knights to make a run at a postseason bid, but they will steal some victories in the Big East and to watch them progress will be fun.

Upcoming Rutgers basketball schedule:

Vs. West Virginia -- Wednesday at 7 p.m. on SNY
Vs. UConn -- Saturday at 8 p.m. on SNY

For more on the Scarlet Knights, visit On The Banks.

Big East Conference

In conclusion, there's a lot to be excited for heading into the new year, especially when it comes to the New York-New Jersey Big East schools.

Overall, the Big East doesn't look as strong as it has been in the past few season, but there maybe better elite teams -- Syracuse, UConn, Georgetown, Marquette and Louisville -- that could contender for a National Championship. The rest of the field (besides Providence) seems to be good, but not stellar. However, it's still going to be a solid Big East season, especially around these parts.

Other notes:

  • The third 30-point performance of the week came from WVU's guard Darryl Bryant, who netted 34 in a 83-69 victory against visiting Villanova Wildcats.
  • Syracuse sophomore center Fab Melo tallied a collegiate-best 12 points and 10 blocks in the victory over Seton Hall. Melo also collected seven rebounds.
  • Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Alex Dragicevich pace his squad with 22 points in their victory, 72-59, over Pittsburgh last Tuesday.

Here's a quick look at the current Big umblEast basketball standings:

Big East Conference Standings

(updated 1.2.2012 at 2:28 AM EST)

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