2008 Big East Basketball Preview
In the field of 16 teams in the Big East, as many as 10 could make it to the NCAA Tournament and another three could be NIT bound. Needless to say, this conference is mighty competitive, making it tough for any club to move up in the food chain.
Three teams look to dominate the top of the heap—the UConn Huskies, Louisville Cardinals and West Virginia Mountaineers. Connecticut’s Hasheem Thabeet, A.J. Price and Jeff Adrien are all topnotch. Louisville welcomes the best of the best with the arrival of freshman Samardo Samuels. He’ll join vets Earl Clark and Terrence Williams. The Irish have the Big East Player of the Year, Luke Harangody, plus senior Kyle McAlarney.
Next in line are the Marquette Golden Eagles, Pittsburgh Panthers and Georgetown Hoyas—all which should go to the Big Dance. Marquette welcomes back Dominic James, Jerel McNeal and Wes Mathews. Pittsburgh also has a fine cadre with Levance Fields, Sam Young and DeJuan Blair on board. Georgetown has lost some talent but freshman Greg Monroe could be a big difference-maker.
An improved Syracuse Orange team, a tough Notre Dame Fighting Irish club and an up and coming Providence Friars group will all contend for the Big Dance. The Mountaineers signed top freshman recruit Devin Ebanks while Syracuse welcomes a hearty new class of players. The Friars veteran roster is ready to play with some of the best in the league.
The NIT looks to be the post-season venue for the Cincinnati Bearcats, DePaul Blue Demons and Seton Hall Pirates. Cincinnati’s Deonta Vaughn is the spark plug of their offense while DePaul’s youngsters hold promise. Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez has to turn down the emotions in order to insure his team does not self-destruct.
The Scarlet Knights of Rutgers have a fine freshman class. They’ll be something in a few more years. The Bulls of South Florida and the Red Storm of St. John’s will have to wait a year or two to show improvement.
2008 Big East Basketball Predictions
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2) Louisville Cardinals
3) West Virginia Mountaineers
4) Marquette Golden Eagles
5) Pittsburgh Panthers
6) Georgetown Hoyas
7) Syracuse Orange
8) Villanova Wildcats
9) Notre Dame Fighting Irish
10) Providence Friars
11) Cincinnati Bearcats
12) Seton Hall Pirates
13) De Paul Blue Demons
14) Rutgers Scarlet Knights
15) South Florida Bulls
16) St. John’s Red Storm