Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Big East Briefs

Notre Dame The Fighting Irish’s (15-6, 4-4 Big East) hopes for their 2009-2010 season primarily hinged on two words: Luke Harangody. The return of the former Big East player of the year has been responsible for Notre Dame’s considerable success so far this year. The efforts of Harangody, however, have not been able to carry the Fighting Irish every game. The Irish suffered a blow early in the year when Northwestern shocked them with a 72-58 defeat. Harangody had 21 points, but it was not enough.

Losing three of its last four games, Notre Dame has recently struggled at the hands of the Big East’s elite squads. On Jan. 18, the Irish lost to Syracuse 84-71 and Wednesday they lost 90-72 to Villanova. As usual, Harangody led the Irish in scoring in both losses with 29 and 21 points respectively. On Saturday, however, Notre Dame picked up a home victory over DePaul, 87-77. Junior forward Tim Abromaitis scored a game-high 30 points. Besides Harangody, Abromaitis has been Notre Dame’s other consistent scoring threat this season.

Next: Sat. Rutgers; vs. GU: Feb. 27, 12 p.m.


Losing all but one starter from last year’s Elite Eight team, the Panthers (15-4, 5-2 Big East) were not predicted to be one of the top teams in the Big East this season, but they have surprisingly staked their claim as a contender. A difficult 10-point loss in the Jimmy V Classic to Indiana in December seemed to foreshadow a long season for Pittsburgh. Following this loss, however, the Panthers rallied to win eight straight games, including two very impressive road wins. Pitt then traveled to the hostile environments of Syracuse and Connecticut and defeated both Big East powers by 10 points. This remarkable run allowed the Panthers to garner a top-10 national ranking in the AP Poll.

The ranking was short-lived though, and Pitt’s loss to the Hoyas has sent the Panthers into a recent slump. On Sunday, the Panthers were upset by Seton Hall, 64-61.

The scoring void left by guard Levance Fields and forward Sam Young has been filled by sophomore guard Ashton Gibbs and junior guard Brad Wanamaker. Gibbs averages 17.8 points per game while Wanamaker adds 12.6 points per game. Gibbs scored a game-high 23 points in Pittsburgh’s recent loss to Seton Hall, but he was unable to convert on two game-tying three-pointers.

Next: Sun. South Florida; vs. GU: Jan. 20, L 74-66


Villanova, arguably the best team in the Big East, continues to get better. The Wildcats (19-1, 8-0 Big East) are once again one of the most exciting teams in the nation. Choosing to play with speed over size, Villanova runs teams into the ground with its fast-paced offense. Starting four guards, the Wildcats are not worried about post play, but rather elect to score by driving to the basket and taking plenty of three-pointers.

You cannot talk Villanova basketball without mentioning Scottie Reynolds. The senior guard leads the team in nearly every statistical category and will be a candidate for national player of the year. Not only does he average 18.7 points and 3.4 assists per game, Reynolds has the uncanny ability to make the big play whenever the game is on the line. Junior guard Corey Stokes continues to contribute and freshman guard Maalik Wayns will also be of significant importance for the Wildcats’ postseason run.

After a dominating 90-72 win over Notre Dame on Wednesday, Villanova will likely be undefeated in the Big East prior to its showdown against the Hoyas next Saturday at Verizon Center.

Next: Feb. 2 vs. Seton Hall; vs. GU: Jan. 17, W 82-77; Feb. 6, 12 p.m.


On the other end of the spectrum lie the DePaul Blue Demons (8-12, 1-7 Big East). The perennial cellar dwellers of the Big East continue to struggle in conference play. Last season, DePaul did not win a single conference game until the Big East tournament in New York.

This year, the Blue Demons picked up right where they left off. After starting 0-4 in conference play, DePaul fired its coach, Jerry Wainwright, and the season was essentially left for dead. The Blue Demons, however, were able to provide one of the biggest surprises after they knocked off Marquette 51-50 for their first Big East regular season victory in 24 tries. They are unlikely to repeat that success as they have lost all of their other Big East games by at least 10 points.

Senior guard Will Walker and junior center Mac Koshwal are the only two players scoring, averaging 16.1 and 14.0 respectively. Unless they can get contributions from the rest of the team, the only bright spot on their schedule will be when it ends. The road does not get any easier for DePaul as it takes on Syracuse on Saturday.

Next: Sat. vs. Syracuse; Vs. GU: Jan. 3, L 67-50


For Louisville fans, this has been a sobering year. Last year, the Cardinals captured the Big East title after going 16-2 in-conference and were the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament, before falling to Michigan State in the Elite Eight.

The squad has gone from the “team-to-beat” to very beatable. Louisville stands at 13-7 overall and 4-3 in the Big East. Last season, Terrence Williams and Earl Clark, the 11th and 14th picks in the NBA draft, led the Cardinals in rebounding and scoring with 14.2 and 12.5 points per game respectively. This season, none of Louisville’s five freshmen have made a substantial impact. Guard Peyton Siva, averaging 4.1 points and nine minutes per game, leads the pack.

The Cardinal to watch is sophomore Samardo Samuels. At 6-foot-9 and 260 lbs, the imposing forward continues to develop as a team leader, averaging about 16 points per game and 7.6 rebounds. The Cardinals are on the road this weekend, taking on West Virginia. On Monday night they will be back at Freedom Hall, hosting UConn.

Next: Sat. West Virginia; Vs. GU: Feb. 23, 7 p.m.

St. John’s

The Red Storm ended last year on a high note, defeating Georgetown in the first round of the Big East tournament to advance to the second round for the first time since 2003. Although the team fell to Marquette in the next round, St. John’s fans hoped that one of the program’s biggest wins in the last five years would set a positive tone for this season.

Yet it has been much of the same for St. John’s. The Red Storm are 12-7 overall and 2-6 in the Big East. More ominously, 10 of St. John’s 16 players are juniors. They also lack height – St. John’s has only three players over 6-foot-7, two of whom are 6-foot-8.

So far, two efforts have been particularly noteworthy. St. John’s put up a strong fight against No. 6 Duke, losing 80-71. Then, it bounced back from a narrow loss to Louisville to eke out a last-second, 52-50 victory against Cincinnati. The Red Storm’s next contest is on Tuesday night against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

Next: Feb. 2 Rutgers; Vs. GU: Dec. 31, L 66-59

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Hoya Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *