Note: same deal as last week. This post is from Dave.
Now that we've all had some time to recover from the disaster that was the refereeing in the second round of the Big East Tournament, it's time to look ahead.
Rutgers isn't going to be in the NCAA Tournament. But it is a good time to get an idea who the Big East is sending and how far they might go.
More after the jump...Pittsburgh Panthers: Despite the loss to UConn at the buzzer in the Tournament, Pittsburgh is still likely to be a 1 (or two if Notre Dame wins the Big East Tournament) seed. The Panthers are deep and talented. Brad Wannamaker is a warrior who plays great defense and makes huge shots. Ashton Gibbs is another big shot guard and a weapon from the foul line. Gary McGhee anchors the front line and is a beast. The team is incredibly deep and each part of that depth is talented. Prediction: Final Four.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish: Another 2, possible 1, seed. Led by Big East Player of the Year Ben Hansbrough, ND is a team of shooters. Tim Abromitis can hit from deep. Everyone on that team can. If they're on, they can be a lot like a John Beilein West Virginia team. They'll go deep in the tournament if they're hot. But if the outside shot isn't fall and some foul calls don't go their way, they ca be in trouble. Prediction: Elite Eight.
Syracuse Orange: This is a team that has all the pieces and could be peaking at the right time. Rick Jackson is a load downlow. Brandon Triche is a three point shooter who, once he hits one, doesn't miss. And the 2-3 zone is a pain in the neck to prepapre for in a short period of time. This is a team that can go either way, but the wrong match-up can knock them off. Prediction: Sweet Sixteen
Georgetown Hoyas: Austin Freeman is a superstar, and the Hoyas are a patient team. If Chris Wright is back and healthy, they could make a run. They play solid defense, rebound well, and have been known to hit a key shot or two. But the most important x-factor is Wright's injury. If he's not back, the Hoyas are in big trouble. Prediction: Knocked out on the first weekend.
Louisville Cardinals: The Cardinals have gotten healthy and have hit their stride. Peyton Siva is one of--if not the--best point guards in the league. He can dish to any of the other players, and they can hit a three. If this team is hot, much like Notre Dame, they can go far. Not only that, but the team is deep and can play the pressing defense Rick Pitino wants to play. Turnovers can lead to run outs and easy baskets. Prediction: Sweet Sixteen.
St. John's Red Storm: The Red Storm are deep, they play defense and they're patient on offense. Dwight Hardy can really score the ball and Justin Brownlee (despite the uncalled brain fart... ARRGGGHHH) is solid in the run outs. A ton of experienced seniors, the Johnnies are poised to make a dent. That is, until DJ Kennedy seriously injured his knee in a loss in the Big East Tourney. I was going to pencil them in for the Elite Eight, but Kennedy's injury has put a damper on that. Prediction: Win a round.
Cincinnati Bearcats: This is a maddening team, as I can't really get a feel for them. They're deep and they score and when Yancy Gates' head is in the game, they can really be a force. But, they're probably the most underrated Big East team. I've only seen them play a handful of times. It's tough to make a true prediction without match-ups, but I'll say Prediction: Sweet Sixteen.
West Virginia Mountaineers: Joe Mazzula's last go 'round. The point guard has a tendency to go off in big games, and there isn't a bigger stage than the tournament. Kevin Jones is a great small forward to is starting to find himself. But Casey Mitchell can make some bonehead plays. Tough call here. Prediction: Upset a higher seed on day one, but knocked out in their second game.
Marquette Golden Eagles: Another offensive minded team. Darius Johnson-Odom can fill the bucket and Jae Crowder brings toughness to the team. They're not afraid to get into a shootout, but have been fading lately, beating West Virginia and Providence in the Big East Tourney, just to get themselves off the bubble. Are they getting hot at the right time or were they desperate? Prediction: First round loss.
UConn Huskies: Everyone talks about superstar Kemba Walker, but the freshmen are really starting to heat it up too. Jeremy Lamb is going to be the heir apparent when Walkers leaves. But having a young team can really scare you in the tourney. This team will go as far as Walker can carry them. Prediction: Sweet Sixteen.
Villanova Wildcats: To be honest, I'm not even sure they're definitely in. After losing to South Florida in the first round of the tournament, the Wildcats are the definition of floundering. They've plummeted from a top ten ranking, and Corey Stokes injury seems to be hobbling the entire team. If someone from another conferences makes a surprise run in their tournament, Villanova could be left home. That said, I think they get in. But that's it. Prediction: First round loss