Big East Report: Worst Losses

by Andrew Force | December 24th, 2008

The Thanksgiving Weekend shopping spree coincided with some costly losses for Big East teams. While you picked out that new cell phone or barked at masses of shoppers, Georgetown, Cincinnati, and Louisville all joined the highly populated, extremely unpopular “Defeated club.”

This week in the Big East Report, we take a look at each team’s worst loss.

DePaul will have double-digit losses again this year. Without dramatic improvement, the Demons could finish under .500. The Morgan State loss at home is embarrassing, no matter what stage of rebuilding DePaul is now in. A MEAC team in your building…unacceptable.

Georgetown will get to Christmas without a bad loss. The only loss thus far was to Tennessee in the Old Spice Classic. With only two returning starters, GU must be satisfied with the wins over Maryland and Memphis. As the guards gel, this will be an interesting unit to defend.

The Louisville Cardinals are still hearing about their first loss from Rick Pitino. Since the days of Travis Ford, Anthony Epps, and Tony Delk at Kentucky Coach RiPi has been exploiting the three-point line. Against Western Kentucky, his charges failed the system. Of the thirty triples attempted, only six hit the target.

Marquette has desires of earning their first Sweet 16 berth as a Big East member. Coach Buzz Williams has very few roadblocks in the pre-conference portion. Two of the three potential potholes caused MU to lose control of the car. A 12-point loss to Tennessee is forgivable, but the Dayton loss in Chicago remains tenuous. Dayton has yet to prove capable of winning on the road and might turnout to be a victim Marquette needed.

Seton Hall performed well in the first month of the season. Only one loss, to Memphis, chased them into Christmastime. The Pirates did win the other two San Juan Shootout games. Walking the plank were USC and Virginia Tech. San Juan aside, Seton Hall has not challenged themselves to date.

South Florida came to the Big East with Louisville, Marquette, DePaul, and Cincinnati. The Bulls of USF are still struggling with the transition three years later. Of the four consecutive losses from December 3rd to December 16th, the loss to Central Florida will be the most detrimental to their post-season dreams. Hope evaporates faster in the heat of Florida apparently.

What do Lehigh and Binghamton have in common? No one knows where they are located, and they both beat Rutgers in hoops this year. It still frustrates me to know the RAC name is no longer. For that Rutgers deserves to stumble against NJIT or Bryant, both amongst the worst 40 teams in the nation.

Notre Dame has few flaws. The play technical, fluid basketball. Unfortunately their ceiling is lower than the top-flight Big East teams. That said, losses to North Carolina and Ohio State are forgivable.

The Mick Cronin Era is starting to take shape. Cincinnati should be able to enter Big East play with no more than three losses. If Cincy loiters on the bubble, then the loss to a weaker than usual Florida State unit will sting. Yancy Gates had his worst outing of the season. Unlike most Big East teams, this one needs its freshmen (Gates especially) to produce.

West Virginia might make the Big Dance. Right now they are 1-2 in neutral games. The Mountaineers absorbed losses versus Kentucky and Davidson, neither of which would be deal breakers for the committee.

Villanova’s only loss was to an enigmatic Texas squad. The proud Wildcats knocked off three Big 5 opponents already. Temple is the only Philly-based foe remaining on the docket.

Syracuse lost to Cleveland State on an epic heave. Scoop Jardine, Cuse guard, thinks the Orange are Top 5 material. They won’t get a chance to prove it until mid-January when The Hoyas of Georgetown rekindle the rivalry.

Providence lost to Northeastern in their season opener. No excuses for PC this year. The administration removed a serviceable head coach at the wrong time. Five seniors and transition do not go hand in hand.

St. John’s fell 82-70 to Boston College. It was their only loss, which would be impressive if the Red Storm undertook anyone better than Cornell. If Norm Roberts strategy on keeping his job was to play cupcakes, fruitcakes, and cream puffs, then he is on his way.

A dozen Big East teams will reach New Year’s with two or fewer losses. The conference has not been this strong in over a decade. To be fair, some squads are taking the non-conference season easy and loading up on impotent foes.

When the calendar turns, the trail takes on more bumps. Pebbles are no longer the laughable obstructions. Boulders take their place and fouls will be called only when you collapse to the floor in pain.

Toughness is equally as important as talent. The strong will survive. The difference is the strong are even stronger than last year.

Happy Holidays!

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