The Big East Conference wrapped up its men's basketball regular season Saturday, meaning the Big East Tournament is right around the corner. For local college hoops fans, this is by far the greatest time of the year.
Lucky for you, SB Nation New York is ready to get you fully prepared and keep you updated throughout the five-day, 16-team, single-elimination event at Madison Square Garden. From today until Saturday night's championship game, this will be the place to check for the latest news and results for college basketball's best conference tournament.
If haven't yet checked out our front page, well, its filled with a ton of Big East basketball goodies. Meanwhile, you're here to see who earned the honor of being named SB Nation New York's Rookie of the Year. Without further delay, the winner is...
Big East Freshman of the Year: Anthony Collins, guard, South Florida Bulls
For the local college hoop fans curious how players like St. John's Red Storm guard/forward Moe Harkless, guard D`Angelo Harrison or, maybe Rutgers guard Eli Carter didn't win this award because they all were fantastic this year, I just need to say, "USF is in the NCAA Tournament and wouldn't be without Anthony Collins."
Let me say that again, "USF is IN the NCAA Tournament."
See, Collins numbers (8.0 ppg, 1.9 rpg and 5.3 assists per game) may not be impressive, but there's no question that the Bulls aren't putting together their best Big East season in program history without him.
Witnessing Collins in person during a slim 56-48 loss at the Syracuse Orange Feb. 22 made me see two things about Collins and USF.
First, with Collins at the point, USF plays like a veteran team. In the game's first 11 minutes, the Bulls ran their offense extremely well, shooting 60 percent from the field and leading 20-9.
Second, without Collins, who got into foul trouble and needed to sit, the Bulls looked like a typical USF squad. The Bulls went scoreless for the next 12.5 minutes and trailed 33-20 in the second half.
When Collins re-entered in the second half, he helped USF get back in the game and didn't fold like other freshman guards/forward have against the Orange this season.
Ultimately, Collins netted a team-best 12 points and dished out 10 assists. In USF's last seven games of the regular season, which saw the Bulls earn a 5-2 record, the rookie averaged 11.5 ppg and 5.9 apg.
That resume is good enough to confidently say Collins is your Big East Rookie of the Year.
For a complete rundown of all the Big East Tournament, check out this SB Nation New York StoryStream.
For a SB Nation New York preview of other Big East schools, click on its respective links: Syracuse, Marquette, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Georgetown, South Florida, Louisville, West Virginia, Connecticut, Seton Hall, Rutgers, St. John's, Pittsburgh, Villanova, Providence, DePaul.