Tag Archive | "Big East"

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A word to the wise: a freshman’s guide to being a Marquette basketball fan

Posted on 20 August 2008 by Brian Henry

To the Newest Members of the Marquette Student Body,

Welcome to what will be the best four years of your life (perhaps five or six for some of you). It is my pleasure to welcome you to Marquette.
Now, I’m sure you’ve all heard about the friends you are going to make, the lessons you are going to learn, and the beer you are going to drink (trust me, it deserves it’s own category). That stuff is all fine and dandy, but I’m not hear to tell you about any of it. I’m not sentimental…
I’m a sports writer. And as a sports writer, it is my job to quench the one insatiable desire on this campus that never runs dry: Marquette Basketball. With that being said, it is time for you, the Class of 2012, to be acclimated to the proudest athletic tradition we have on campus.
First and foremost, there are no pre-requisites to be a fan of Marquette Basketball. You can be the fourth generation of your family to come to this fine institution, know its history, and know why its basketball program is so treasured. Or, you can still think Marquette is a city in the upper peninsula of Michigan. Either way, we’re all in the same boat.

The next, and second most important step is getting yourself in the building for every home game.
How do we do that Brian?
Easy. Walk into the Al McGuire Center, reach into your wallet, and throw down 85 big ones. That’ll get you one seat to every single home game for the season. Here’s another suggestion to go with that: buy those tickets ASAP!
Before I tell you why, it’s time for a brief history lesson. The last three years have been the most successful stretch in the history of Marquette Basketball since 1980. Come to grips with that. Not one of best, THE best in almost 30 years.
Sixty-nine total victories, averaging 23 wins per season and most importantly, three consecutive births into the NCAA Tournament. On top of that, the returning team was a goofy 7-footer’s miracle shot away from advancing to the Sweet 16. As you can imagine, tickets to these games are a hot commodity to students, faculty, and alums alike.

Now I know the year is just beginning, but do some math with me. There are roughly 4,200 student section seats at the Bradley Center. Our undergraduate enrollment is just over 8,000. Toss in grad students, and that’s 11,500 people who eligible to purchase student season tickets. That means well over half of the student body at Marquette will not have season tickets to basketball games. So if you want to be in the house, make it a priority or trust me, there are plenty that will.

Once you’re in the building, you are entitled to do anything that won’t get you kicked out of the arena (Trust me, I know from experience. Security can get pretty physical). Everyone knows the drill whether you’ve stepped inside the Bradley Center or not. Cheer loud and hard until you are blue in the face. I have no fear that you will struggle with that at all.

It’s the conversation that goes on after the game that forces me to lay down the law on a few issues…
Dominic James is not going to stop shooting threes… Deal with it.
We are a fast-breaking, guard oriented team that loves to play defense… Embrace it.
No, that huge guy at the end of the bench, transfer Liam McMorrow, cannot suit up this year, no matter how bad you want him to.
You are limited to only three uses of the phrase, “If we only had a true center…”
Yes, it is awesome that they sell beer at games, even though the prices are absurd.
And finally, never under any circumstance begin a statement with, “If Tom Crean was here…” (The person that hears you say that gets to punch you in the arm).

I’m not going to try and explain it in detail, but you are going to have a blast this year. This team will put you through more emotional highs and lows than Brett Favre’s off-season (It still stings, doesn’t it Packers fans?). Enjoy your time down at the Bradley Center and love your time here at Marquette.

Brian Henry
Class of 2009

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Marquette Women enter the main event

Posted on 28 February 2007 by Nicole Larson

Basketball fans rejoice: The Big Show is just around the corner. For the lady Golden Eagles, February is a hectic time of year, with feelings of anxiousness and nervous excitement filling their hearts and minds. With only three more regular season games before the kick off of the 2007 Big East Championship, the women have been working hard to prepare. And as they prepare for March Madness, students can look forward to a high intensity run for the championship.

So far this season, the women have been making waves in the Big East Conference and leaving disappointed opponents drowning in their wake, including their latest victory over No. 20 ranked Louisville (65 – 44). Marquette has been showing its true colors against stiff competition from St. John’s (69 – 58) and Georgetown (67 – 52), coming out on top both games.

Standing at No. 21 in the national rankings and No. 3 in the Big East, the Marquette women have a realistic chance at performing extremely well in the Big East Tournament. In conference play, Marquette has only lost two games to UConn and Rutgers. UConn will be a threat to Marquette’s success; Rutgers, currently tied with Marquette in the rankings, will be a threat as well.

Senior forward Christina Quaye will be a primary factor in Marquette’s success in the Big East Championship. Quaye has been a huge contributor to Marquette’s recent victories, pulling in huge individual numbers with at least 20 points in each of the past three games. She has also been a solid presence on the court, leading the way in sportsmanship and showing sheer love for the game through her soulful playing.

Another outstanding player who will play a large role in the success of the Marquette women is sophomore guard Krystal Ellis. She has averaged 10 points or more in the past thirteen consecutive games.

Throughout the entire season, both conference and non-conference, the Marquette women have continued to dominate. This season has been about coming together under common goals: to improve as individuals and as a team, to push themselves to the limit, to mature in body and spirit, to become in sync as a team and to win basketball games. The women have gone above and beyond these goals expectations already, and have grown into their own. They outperformed their previous record of 22 – 10 in the 2005-2006 season. Last year, Marquette tripped against teams such as UConn and Rutgers. Currently, Marquette has an overall record of 23 – 4, with losses yet again to UConn and Rutgers, but with an improved overall record

Keeping in mind the improvements made by the Marquette women this season, let’s focus on the 2007 Big East Tournament. Considering that hard work and dedication to the team has given Marquette increased victories and made them the focal point of the conference, there is a highly favorable outlook for the women. All they really need is the confidence to take it all the way. The Marquette women already have the means to turn the Big East Tournament into the Golden Eagle’s playground. Marquette possesses some of the most talented players in the country, a hardworking and inspiring coaching staff and an impressive work ethic. However, those are not the only factors that will contribute to Marquette’s success this year because the ladies also have faith and passion on their side. As a team, the women believe in themselves and each other, a force that cannot be reckoned with.

The Big East tournament will not be the same after the Marquette women are through with it. This year there is no limit to what the women can accomplish. With hopes as high as mine for the women, I am sure that Marquette will not disappoint.

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Big East Home Opener

Posted on 07 January 2007 by Justin Phillips

It’s time for the first home Big East Game for MU tonight as they take on the Syracuse Orangemen. It will be a battle of two coaching heavyweights in Jim Boeheim and of course Tom Crean. Both teams are coming off losses in their big east opener. Cuse losing to the 10th ranked Pittsburg and MU suffering a surprise defeat to Providence Friars. Cuse started the year off strong ranked 20th in the Nation, and getting as high as 15/14 before dropping back to back games vs Wichita State and Oklahoma State. Cuse completely fell out of the rankings after losing to Drexel. The team is (11-4, 0-1) on the season. Continue Reading

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Women’s Big East basketball outlook: Too much talent to tell

Posted on 08 November 2006 by Peter Worth

Only one word is needed to describe Big East women’s basketball for the 2006-2007 season: loaded. With 11 teams coming off postseason experience (seven NCAA berths and four NIT selections), the Big East will again try to prove why it is the most talented and deep conference in the country. This task should not be too difficult, especially with a second year of the colossal 16-team format in place. Expectations are extremely high throughout the conference, with 10 to 11 teams having a realistic a shots at earning a NCAA Tournament berth and almost as many a chance at the Big East crown. Here’s a brief overview of what should be the top Big East teams this season. Cincinnati: Look for the Lady Bearcats to continue to improve this year after a 2005-2006 season in which they made the seventh best turnaround in the country. Leading scorers Treasure Humphries (12.8 ppg), a senior guard, and sophomore G/F Shelly Bellman (10.9) both return, as does senior Karen Twehaus, who set the school’s all-time record in three-point percentage last year at 44.4 percent.

Connecticut: In an atmosphere that’s championship-or-bust, two years seems like forever. That is when the Lady Huskies last won the NCAA title, something legendary coach Geno Auriemma is not pleased with. That said, UConn still has plenty of talent to work with including Big East Freshman of the Year Renee Montgomery, junior Mel Thomas, and the consensus national high school player of the year of last year in freshman Tina Charles. Losing star Ann Strother will hurt, but with the loaded freshman class UConn has, the Huskies should be right there in March.

DePaul: DePaul has two of their top three scorers returning in second team All-Big East members Allie Quigley and Jenna Rubino. Coming off the first Sweet 16 appearance in school history, expectations are high for the team.

Georgetown: Coming off a 3-13 Big East conference record, it would be easy to assume that the Lady Hoyas will not be much competition this year, especially without any seniors on its roster. However, Terri Williams-Flournoy’s team has a load of talent to go along with the inexperience. Double-double threat Kieraah Marlow returns to dominate the paint, while junior guard Kristin Heidloff looks to improve upon her 4.8 apg, good for third in assists in the Big East last season. Senior Kate Carlin should be deadly from behind the arc. With five freshmen on the roster, the team should struggle early but should show promise for the next few years.

Louisville: The “Jazz” will be heard loud and clear this year in Freedom Hall, and, no, they don’t play Louis Armstrong tunes for their pre-game drills. Who will be playing, however, is Jazz Covington, a first team All-Big East member who needs just 470 points to become the school’s all-time leader. Riding her shoulders, the Lady Cardinals should make their third straight NCAA Tournament appearance.

Marquette: Marquette wants to be nowhere near the bubble this year, as it burst on them in 2005-2006 and sent them to the NIT. They made the most of the postseason opportunity, however, making it all the way to the championship game: a loss to Kansas State. Sophomore Krystal Ellis has the makings of a star and should lead this team to the Big Dance.

Notre Dame: If the Fighting Irish want to make the NCAA Tournament for the twelfth consecutive time, they will have to do it without do-it-all guard Megan Duffy who was lost to graduation. The team leader in both points and assists, Duffy was a first team All-Big East member last season. Look for sophomore Lindsay Schrader (10.5 ppg) to have a breakout season.

Pittsburgh: The Lady Panthers want bigger things this year after bowing out to conference foe Marquette in the WNIT semifinals. A ticket to the Big Dance is very realistic for this team, especially with junior standout Mercedes Walker at the helm. The first team All-Big East selection will be a force again in 2006-2007 after almost averaging a double-double last season.

Providence: Although they only won a total of eight games last season, 2005-2006 was an improvement for the Lady Friars after a dismal 1-27 record in 2004-2005. This year the top scorer returns in senior Shauna Snyder, as well as a pair of talented sophomores in Chelsea Marandola (12.5 ppg) and Shantee Darrian (9.9 rpg). Look for another improvement from last year, but it won’t be big enough to make the NCAA tournament.

Rutgers: What a year 2005-2006 was for C. Vivian Stringer’s club. Despite losing to Tennessee in the Sweet 16, the Lady Scarlet Knights went an unprecedented 16-0 in the first year of the revamped Big East conference schedule. It will be tough to repeat that feat, especially without unanimous Big East Player of the Year Cappie Pondexter, but talent still abounds in Piscataway, N.J. The guard duo of Matee Ajavon (12.6 ppg, 4.5 apg) and Essence Carson (8.3 ppg) should have Rutgers right near the top of the Big East standings again.

Seton Hall: Another 3-13 team in the Big East last season, 2006-2007 should be another year of rebuilding for the Lady Pirates. Senior forward Monique Blake returns from her All-Big East Honorable Mention season, leading the team in points, rebounds and blocked shots. Two early games against Kansas and Iowa on Nov. 11-12 should give this team a difficult early test.

St. John’s: After a dog fight with eventual national champion Maryland in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, the Red Storm realized some of their potential last season. With two Big East first team members returning in Angela Clark and Kia Wright, this team should “storm” well into March.

Syracuse: In all sports, taking advantage of one’s home court is critical to the team’s success. Apparently, no one told this to the Lady Orange, who won only two games in the spacious Carrier Dome all of last season and none in the Big East schedule. Syracuse will look mainly to 6’4” center Vaida Sipaviciute to carry the load this year after she led the team in scoring and rebounding last year. Heralded transfer Fantasia Goodwin, who led Monroe College to a 36-0 record and NJCAA Division III Championship, should make a steady contribution.

South Florida: The forecast for USF this year is simple: as Jessica Dickson goes, so will the Lady Bulls. The preseason Wooden Award candidate should again be one of the premier scorers in the nation this year after averaging 22 ppg in 2005-2006, good for third in the country. Shantia Grace (10.4 ppg) and Nalini Miller (the school’s all-time leader in block shots) return to give the team added depth. A loss in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last year should give the Bulls motivation for a deeper run this year.

Villanova: Villanova will be another team talented enough to make some noise in the conference this year. Although they won 20 games for the fifth time in six years, the Lady Wildcats had to settle for a berth in the NIT, something senior forward Jackie Adamshick (10.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg) will look to change this year. Losing first-team All-Big East forward Liad Suez-Karni might be too big of a loss to overcome.

West Virginia: After a disappointing 4-12 conference record last year, West Virginia pulled a shocker reminiscent of their men’s team in making it to the Big East Championship, defeating the Nos. 1, 4 and 5 seeds along the way. Expect a better conference record this year with senior 3-point threat Meg Bulger (19.8 ppg, 43% 3-pt. percentage) and junior center Olayinki Sanni (12.4 ppg) carrying the load.

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Your season guide to Big East basketball

Posted on 25 October 2006 by Cassie Kowaleski

Cassie Kowaleski analyzes this year’s Big East competition.
Note: JUCO = Junior College Cincinnati Bearcats
Coach: Mick Cronin: 1st season…Cincy alum…24-6 last year with Murray State…named Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year
Returning Starters:
• Cedric McGowan (6-6, SR, F)…averaged 13.3 pts and 8.0 rebounds in three NIT games last year
New Players:
o Tim Crowell (6-2, JR, PG)…JUCO transfer…was 1st team All-Conference and led the league with 7.5 ast last year.
o Marvin Gentry (6-3, JR, SG)… JUCO transfer…North Texas Athletic Conference Player of the Year in 2006
o Herrol Hall (6-10, JR, C)…JUCO transfer…from Costa Rica, plays on their national team
o Abdul Herrera (6-10, SO, C)…didn’t play last year because he was ruled ineligible
o Adam Hrycaniuk (6-10, JR, C)…JUCO transfer…played amateur ball in Poland
o Marcus Sikes (6-8, JR, F)…JUCO transfer…played at Georgia his freshman year
o Deonta Vaughn (6-1, FR, G)…two-time All-State selection in Indiana
o Jamual Warren (6-2, JR, G)…JUCO transfer…2nd team JUCO All-American
o John Williamson (6-6, JR, F)…JUCO transfer…1st team JUCO All-American
Outlook: With a new coach and nine new players, the Bearcats will have an up-and-down season. Look for them to upset a ranked team or two, but also suffer tough losses finishing around .500.

Connecticut Huskies
Coach: Jim Calhoun: 21st season…Naismith Hall of Famer…two National championships (’99, ’04)
Returning Starters: None
New Players:
o A.J. Price (6-2, SO, G)…sat out last season due to violations of university’s student code of conduct
o Ben Eaves (6-7, FR, F/G)…from England where he plays on their U18 National team
o Doug Wiggins (6-1, FR,G)…Connecticut High School Gatorade Player of the Year
o Jerome Dyson (6-3, FR, G)…averaged 26 pts, 8 rebs and 6 ast as a senior in HS
o Stanley Robinson (6-9, FR, F)…most highly touted…plays on U18 U.S. National team
o Jonathon Mandeldove (6-11, FR, C)…Honorable Mention McDonald’s All-American
o Gavin Edwards (6-9, FR, F/C)…holds his high school’s career blocks record
o Hasheem Thabeet (7-3, FR, C)…from Tanzania…moved to Houston where he was 2nd Team All-City
o Curtis Kelly (6-9, FR, F)…New York Post and Daily News Player of the Year
Outlook: Lost top six scorers from last season, but are bringing in eight impact freshmen. They will not be the best team in the league, but they will be in the top five.
DePaul Blue Demons
Coach: Jerry Wainwright: 2nd season…2005-06 finished 12-15 with a big win over then No. 16 Wake Forest…assistant of U18 U.S. National team this past summer
Returning Starters:
• Sammy Mejia (6-6, SR, G)…has already scored over 1,000 career points
• Wilson Chandler (6-8, SO, F)…unanimous selection for Big East All-Rookie Team
• Karron Clarke (6-6, JR, F)…led team in FG and 3-PT shooting percentage last season
• Jabari Currie (6-4, SO, G)…led team in assists last season
New Players:
o Thijin Moses (6-8, FR, F)…from the Sudan, came to U.S. in 2004…MVP at five-star camp…ranked 93rd best senior by www.scout.com
o Will Walker (6-0, FR, G)…ranked 13th best PG by scout.com and rivals.com…78th best player by rivals.com
Outlook: Sporting News named them as a team that could surprise people in a good way in their “Don’t Say You Weren’t Warned” section. This is a team that could finish in the top half of the Big East, which might mean a trip to the “Big Dance.”

Georgetown Hoyas
Coach: John Thompson III: 3rd season…son of legendary Hoyas coach John Thompson…handed Duke its first loss last season
Returning Starters:
• Jeff Green (6-9, JR, F)…2nd Team All Big-East
• Roy Hibbert (7-2, JR, C)…2nd Team All Big-East
• Jonathan Wallace (6-1, JR, G)…4th in Big East in assist/turnover ratio
New Players:
o Patrick Ewing Jr. (6-8, JR, F)…transfer from Indiana…son of THE Patrick Ewing
o Vernon Macklin (6-9, FR, F)…McDonald’s and Parade All-American
o Jeremiah Rivers (6-4, FR, G)…son of former MU great, “Doc” Rivers
o DaJuan Summers (6-8, FR, F)…Maryland’s 2006 Gatorade Player of the Year
Outlook: With an outstanding freshman class, a formidable backcourt and a PG who can distribute and take care of the ball, Georgetown will contend for the Big East title and more.

Louisville Cardinals
Coach: Rick Pitino: 7th season…8th best winning percentage among active coaches…only coach to take three different schools to Final Four (L’ville in 2005)
Returning Starters:
• Brandon Jenkins (6-3, SR, G)…led team in steals last season
• David Padgett (6-11, JR, C)…top scorer returning from last year
• Juan Palacios (6-8, JR, F)…led team in rebounding last season
• Terrence Williams (6-6, SO, F)…started 21 games as a freshman
New Players:
o Derrick Caracter (6-9, FR, F)…named No. 6 prospect in country by Hoop Scoop
o Earl Clark (6-8, FR, G)…McDonald’s and Parade All-American
o Will Scott (6-3, SO, G)…transfer from Cornell…walk-on
o Jerry Smith (6-3, FR, G)…Wisconsin state Player of the Year…3-time All-State selection
o Edgar Sosa (6-2, FR, G)…Co-player of the Year in New York
Outlook: After an 11th place finish in their first Big East season, Pitino should have this team’s attention. Bolstered by an outstanding freshman class, Louisville will finish in the top half of conference play this year.

Marquette Golden Eagles
Coach: Tom Crean: 8th season…took team to Final Four in 2003
Returning Starters:
•Ousmane Barro (6-10, JR, F)…got better throughout the season last year, fan favorite
• Dominic James (5-11, SO, G)…Big East Rookie of the Year
• Jerel McNeal (6-3, SO, G)…Big East All-Rookie team
New Players:
o Maurice Acker (5-8, SO, G)…transfer from Ball State…will sit out this year
o Lawrence Blackledge (6-8, JR, G)…JUCO transfer…Honorable Mention All-American
o David Cubillan (6-0, FR, G)…originally from Venezuela…All-State in New Jersey
o Lazar Hayward (6-6, FR, F)…rated among top 25 wing players by scout.com
Outlook: Marquette has three top-notch perimeter players in James, Matthews and McNeal. If Barro can perform adequately in the post and Dan Fitzgerald or Hayward solidifies the four-spot, this team can play with anyone.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Coach: Mike Brey: 6th season…49-31 record at Notre Dame…took them to Sweet 16 in 2003
Returning Starters:
• Russell Carter (6-4, SR, G)…ND Web site says he will be Big East’s most improved player
• Collin Falls (6-5, SR, G)…canned 102 3-pointers last season
• Rob Kurz (6-9, JR, F)…6.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg last season
New Players:
o Luke Harangody (6-8, FR, F)…two-time All-State selection from Indiana
o Joe Harden (6-7, FR, F)…All-State selection from California
o Tory Jackson (5-10, FR, G)…two-time Michigan Class C Player of the Year
o Jonathon Peoples (6-3, FR, G)…All-State selection from Illinois
Outlook: Lost their two best players from a 12th place team. This season will be another long one for the Irish.

Pittsburgh Panthers
Coach: Jamie Dixon: 4th season…76-22 record in first three years ranks him tied for 4th among all-time best coaching starts
Returning Starters:
• Aaron Gray (7-0, SR, C)…Big East Most Improved Player…one of the best centers in the country
• Ronald Ramon (6-1, JR, G)…led Big East in 3-point FG percentage
• Levon Kendall (6-9, SR, F)…second leading rebounder on team
New Players:
o Gilbert Brown (6-6, FR, G/F)…rated No. 19 shooting guard by scout.com…38” vertical leap
o Austin Wallace (6-9, FR, C)…2nd Team All-State selection from New York
Outlook: Many have tabbed them as the favorite to win the Big East. While they are a tough team, they face a tough schedule and will finish 3rd in the Big East.

Providence Friars
Coach: Tim Welsh: 9th season…197-136 record at PU places him as the 4th winningest coach in school history
Returning Starters:
• Herbert Hill (6-10, SR, F/C)…earned team’s Defensive Player award
• Sharaud Curry (5-10, SO, G)…Big East All-Rookie Team
• Geoff McDermott (6-7, SO, F/G)…Big East All-Rookie Team
• Randall Hanke (6-11, JR, C)…led nation in FG percentage at 67.7%
New Players:
o Jamal Barney (6-3, FR, G)…set school record in HS with 58 points in a game
o Brian McKenzie (6-4, FR, G)…1st team All City in New York
o Ray Hall (6-11, FR, G)…runner-up for Colorado Player of the Year
Outlook: Providence has a young team that continues to improve, but this still will not be their year.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Coach: Fred Hill: 1st season…associate head coach last season…prior to that, was at Villanova where he was credited with bringing in their 2002 and 2003 recruiting classes
Returning Starters:
• Marquis Webb (6-5, SR, G/F)…won team’s Best Defensive Player award
• JR Inman (6-9, SO, F)…Big East All-Rookie Team
• Anthony Farmer (6-1, SO, G)…Big East All-Rookie Team
• Byron Joynes (6-9, SR, G)…led team with 5.5 rpg
Outlook: This young team has some talent, but loss of last year’s leading scorer and team MVP, Quincy Douby, will be too much to overcome. This team again finishes in the bottom half of the Big East.

St. John’s Red Storm
Coach: Norm Roberts: 2nd season…beat two ranked opponents last season
Returning Starters:
• Lamont Hamilton (6-10, SR, F)…Honorable Mention All-Big East
• Daryll Hill (6-0, SR, G)…led Big East in scoring in 2004-05 season
• Eugene Lawrence (6-1, JR, G)…led team with 4.9 assists per game
• Anthony Mason Jr. (6-7, SO, F)…son of former NBA player, Anthony Mason
• Aaron Spears (6-10, SR, F)…led team with .567 FG %
New Players:
o Qa’rraan Calhoun (6-8, FR, F)…led HS team to state championship in Maine
o Larry Wright (6-2, FR, F)…finalist for Mr. Basketball in Michigan
o Derwin Kitchen (6-3, FR, G)…runner-up for Mr. Basketball in Florida
o Avery Patterson (6-4, JR, G)…JUCO transfer…2ndTeam JUCO All-American
o Rob Thomas (6-6, FR, F)…rated as a top 25 small forward by several publications
Outlook: With all five starters returning and a decent recruiting class, this will be an improved St. John’s team that finishes in the middle of the pack in the Big East. Do not be surprised when they beat some highly ranked teams.

Seton Hall Pirates
Coach: Bobby Gonzalez: 1st season…head coach at Manhattan College the past seven seasons
Returning Starters:
• Jamar Nutter (6-2, JR, G)…averaged 14.6 ppg in conference play last season
• Stan Gaines (6-7, SR, F)…one of league’s top post defenders
• Brian Laing (6-5, JR, G/F)…averaged 5.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg last season
New Players:
o Kashif Pratt (6-4, FR, G)…played HS ball with Louisville-commit Edgar Sosa and UConn-commit Curtis Kelly
o Eugene Harvey (6-0, FR, G)…expected to start at PG, if eligible
o Larry Davis (6-4, FR, G)…committed to NC State, until Herb Sendek left for Arizona State
Outlook: Do not expect them to repeat last year’s surprise run to the NCAA tourney. With no reliable big man, they will finish in the bottom half of the conference.

South Florida Bulls
Coach: Robert McCullum: 4th season…surprised then No. 25 Georgetown in last game of season last year
Returning Starters:
• McHugh Mattis (6-6, SR, F)…5th in Big East in blocks with 2.1 per game
• Melvin Buckley (6-7, SR, F)…Big East Academic All-Star
• Chris Capko (6-1, SR, G)…7th in Big East in assists with 4.1 per game
New Players:
o Kentrell Gransberry (6-9, JR, C)…transfer from LSU…eligible in mid-December
o Jared Rubens (6-5, FR, G/F)…walk-on
o Dante Curry (6-4, FR, G)…county player of the year from Florida
o Adamu Saaka (6-6, FR, G/F)…McDonald’s All-American nominee
o Solomon Bozeman (6-0, FR, G)…All-State selection from Arkansas
o Jesus Verdego (6-4, SO, G)…transfer from Arizona…eligible in mid-December
o Aris Williams (6-9, SO, F)…transfer from Valparaiso…sat out last season
o Zaronn Cann (6-6, FR, F)…red-shirted with knee injury last year
Outlook: In a deep league, somebody has to take last.

Syracuse Orangemen
Coach: Jim Boeheim: 30th season…inducted into Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame…won national championship in 2003
Returning Starters:
• Demetrius Nichols (6-8, JR, F)…improved scoring average from 3.9 in 04-05 to 13.3 last season
• Terrence Roberts (6-9, SR, F)…led team in rebounding with 7.6 per game
• Darryl Watkins (6-11, SR, C)…already 9th all-time at SU in career blocks
• Eric Devendorf (6-4, SO, G)…Big East All-Rookie Team
New Players:
o Devin Brennan-McBride (6-9, FR, C)…ranked 31st among centers by scouthoops.com
o Paul Harris (6-5, FR, G)…ranked 7th prospect overall by collegehoops.net
o Mike Jones (6-8, FR, F)…rivals.com rated him the 40th prospect overall
Outlook: With experienced big men and some talented freshmen, the Orangemen should make a push for the Big East title.

Villanova Wildcats
Coach: Jay Wright: 6th season…led team to Elite 8 last season…has 104-59 record at school
Returning Starters:
• Mike Nardi (6-2, SR, G)…2nd Team All-Philadelphia selection
• Will Sheridan (6-8, SR, F)…led team in blocked shots with 46
New Players:
o Casien Drummond (6-10, FR, F/C)…played in Jordan Classic Regional All-American game
o Andrew Ott (6-9, FR, F)…reputed as a big man with excellent shooting touch beyond the 3-point line
o Antonio Penn (6-6, FR, F)…played HS ball with Sebastian Telfair (Boston Celtics PG)
o Reggie Redding (6-4, FR, G)…1st Team All-Philadelphia Catholic League
o Scottie Reynolds (6-0, FR, G)…McDonald’s All-American
o Curtis Sumpter (6-7, SR, F)…2nd Team All-Big East as a junior…sat out last season with ACL tear
Outlook: Villanova lost three guys to the NBA, but is still one of the top teams in the league. The season rides on Sumpter’s ability to bounce back from his knee injury.

West Virginia Mountaineers
Coach: John Beilein: 6th season…has 77-51 record at school, 524-323 overall…led team to Sweet 16 and Elite 8 the past two seasons, respectively.
Returning Starters:
• Frank Young (6-5, SR, F)…averaged 7.6 pts and 3.5 rebs last season
New Players:
o Devan Bawinkel (6-5, FR, G)…three-time All-State selection from Illinois
o Da’sean Butler (6-7, FR, F)…played in Jordan Classic Regional All-American game
o Dennis Gagai (6-2, FR, G)…walk-on
o Jacob Green (6-9, FR, F)…2nd Team All-Metro from Washington, D.C.
o Joe Mazzulla (6-2, FR, G)…Two-time Rhode Island Gatorade Player of the Year
o Jamie Smalligan (7-0, JR, C)…transfer from Butler…sat out season per NCAA rules
o Wellington Smith (6-7, FR, F)…All-State selection from New Jersey
o Cam Thoroughman (6-7, FR, G)…coming off torn meniscus
o Jonnie West (6-3, FR, G)…son of Mountaineer and NBA legend Jerry West
Outlook: With nine new players, this will be a year to forget for West Virginia fans.

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Will Digger use a blue or a gold highlighter?

Posted on 13 September 2006 by Justin Phillips

Either way his tie is going to be pimp. Last Friday, Marquette released the college basketball schedule for the upcoming 2006-2007 year on the Web site gomarquette.com. If you do not get Fanatics tickets for this year, you either don’t have a pulse or you consider Dungeons and Dragons a sport.

This year is going to phenomenal for the university. After last year’s remarkable success in the Big East Conference, Marquette has gained a few notches and more respect in the broadcasting world. Not only will Marquette be broadcast across the whole spectrum of ABC, CBS and the ESPN networks of ESPN and ESPN U, but Marquette will also play on ESPN’s Big Monday two times throughout the year. And that isn’t even the best part! Marquette is going to host College Game Day on March 3 in Marquette’s final home game of the season against Pittsburg.

If you don’t know what this is, let me give you a quick explanation. Starting at 10 a.m. on the day of the game, Digger Phelps, with his famous tie and highlighter coordination, Jay Bilas, Rece Davis and Andy Katz will take over the Bradley Center and turn it into the ESPN Studio. I would bet that Dick Vitale will be on hand as well, considering he thought Al McGuire was his idol. And Dick Vitale at the Bradley Center really would be awesome baby! A second show begins at 7 p.m. which will lead straight into the 8 p.m. game.

Not only will Marquette have some great games televised across the nation, but this year will prove to be more exciting than ever before. Marquette will be hosting a regional part of the 16-team College Basketball Experience Classic. Other host sites are at Duke, Stanford and Texas Tech. Four teams are playing in each region. Detroit, Maine and Idaho State are in our region. The winners of each region will move on to play each other in Kansas City on Nov. 21-22. After the CBE Classic, Marquette will host Eastern Michigan and then travel to Valparaiso. Marquette will also be in the 45th Pepsi Blue and Gold Classic. The other three teams participating are North Dakota State, Princeton and Northwestern State. Before Marquette plays its 113th game against Wisconsin on Dec. 9 on ESPN, Marquette will be playing Delaware State on Dec. 5.

Once Big East play begins, so does the real fun. Five of the first eight games in the Big East will be on the road including Providence, Syracuse and Connecticut. Then the team comes home to play West Virginia before they play consecutive televised road games versus Louisville on ESPN, Jan. 14 and Pittsburg on CBS on Jan. 24. The next game is at home versus Seaton Hall and then away against USF.

Of the seven games Marquette plays in February, the first two will be played at home against Providence and Rutgers. Then the team hits the road to play Georgetown on ESPN and then onto DePaul. Marquette returns home to take on perennial rival Louisville for the second time in the season Feb. 17 on ESPNU and Villanova as part of ESPN’s Big Monday. The last game of the month is against Notre Dame on ABC. March 3 marks the end of the regular season for Marquette as they play Pittsburg, the ESPN crew on hand once again.

After the regular season is the Big East tournament, in which I undoubtedly believe Marquette will participate, and the NCAA tournament will hopefully follow.

Wisconsin will be the first big test of the year for Marquette because of the in-state rivalry. The Big East schedule could be the best thing to happen to Marquette this year. In my mind, an easy schedule could help Marquette become one of the most dominant teams in the Big East, especially since we don’t have to play Cincinnati. Pittsburg, Louisville, Syracuse, Connecticut, Villanova and West Virginia all lost their premiere players this year. The door is open for Marquette to take the Big East outright as long as the Golden Eagles can make up for our own Golden Boy, Steve Novak. The loss of Novak, however, could force Marquette to become a more balanced team. The only threat that can be seen at this time is the health of the team.

Negating parts of the College Basketball Experience Classic and those tournament results, I believe that Marquette could be as good as 23-6. If the team is even more successful in the CBE Classic, Marquette could even gain a first-round bye in the Big East tournament, which would all but guarantee them a spot in the field of 64. With a great Big East tournament, they could be ranked as high as No. 4 in one of the NCAA regional brackets.

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Big East women’s volleyball preview

Posted on 13 September 2006 by Charles Rickert

Jessica Elley, sophomore, earned BIG EAST player of the week honors on September 4. Elley leads the team in both kills and digs. The Bearcats travel to Marquette on Sept. 22 after losing 3-0 to the Golden Eagles last season.

The Huskies beat up on Gonzaga, Portland State and Gardner-Webb to win the Gonzaga Volleyball Classic on Sept. 2. Connecticut is the last remaining undefeated team in the BIG EAST. Sarah Singer, Waukesha, Wis., native, leads all returning players with 246 kills last season.

The Blue Demons lost to five teams in-state (Loyala-Chicago, Illinois-Chicago, Illinois State, Western Illinois and Eastern Illinois) and are picked to finish last in conference by BIG EAST coaches. On the bright side, DePaul can boast a team grade-point average of better than 3.30 last season.

The Hoyas already accomplished something they failed to do all of last season: win at home. Georgetown was 0-11 at home in 2005-06. On a Midwest note: Caitlin Boland, Naperville, Ill., native, recorded a career-high 56 assists against UW-Milwaukee last year.

The Cardinals went 31-3 last season but lost to Jacksonville State to start this season. Ana Stewart, outside hitter, was this year’s preseason conference player of the year. Jana Matiasovska, the tallest player in the BIG EAST at 6’6”, hopes to complete a 16,300-piece puzzle some day, according to the team Web site.

The Golden Eagles enter the year with two preseason all-conference selections in Jamie Mueller and Kimberley Todd. Mueller broke the Marquette record for digs with 41 on Sept. 8. The team is predicted to finish sixth in the BIG EAST, according to preseason polls.

Notre Dame
The Irish own an 8-0 lifetime record against Marquette. If you do not like Notre Dame, take solace in their four early season losses. Either way, Old Notre Dame was the preseason favorite to “win over all” and repeat as conference champions.

The Panthers started the season 8-0 before losing to No. 12 Tennessee on Sept. 8. Head coach Chris Beerman leads the nation with the most appropriate college surname. Outside hitter Diana Andreyko leads the team as a unanimous preseason all-conference selection.

The Friars are independent from the BIG EAST in women’s volleyball.

The Scarlet Knights have but one NCAA Tournament appearance in 1982. Rutgers can claim one thing that no other team can…sophomore Roxy Calder. Where else would a woman with that name really live but in Oceanside, Calif.?

St. John’s
Hui Ping Huang, from The People’s Republic of China, leads the Red Storm after a tremendous freshman season. Not so fun fact: The plane carrying the Marquette women’s volleyball team nearly crashed while landing in New York last season.

Seton Hall
What can we say about Seton Hall that has not already been said? The Pirates are picked to finish 14th in conference, and are also the home of Dick Vitale’s undergraduate degree.

South Florida
The Bulls had one conference win last year, and it was against Georgetown. Juliana Bittar Ripper Nogueira is the full name of USF’s senior setter. Freshman Alli Arbogast is from Marquette High School in Missouri.

Head coach Jing Pu has successfully led the Orange for eleven seasons. Syracuse won a school record of eleven conference games in 2005-06, but lost their program’s first All-American, Kelly Duan, to graduation. Duan joined the Orange coaching staff as graduate assistant this season.

The Wildcats feature senior middle blocker Adrian Semrau. She is 6’4” and an economics major. Last year, Villanova had a 6-1 record in Sunday games and 15-10 on any other day. The Vatican should wonder how a Catholic university excels on the day of rest.

West Virginia
Head coach Veronica Hammersmith enters her 32nd season leading the Mountaineers. Kailee Goold, junior setter, controls the offense after starting every match last season. Nicole Jones, freshman setter, is native to Racine, Wis.

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BIG EAST Tournament Day Three- Final Recap

Posted on 11 March 2006 by Justin Phillips

Syracuse fans everywhere now have a new hero; whoever said Gerry McNamara was overrated. The senior guard came through again in the clutch, as the Orange pulled off another thriller at Madison Square Garden, a 58-57 win over Georgetown. Syracuse trailed for the entire game, and trailed by 15 at halftime, before McNamara took over. McNamara finished with 17, and his three-point shooting helped the Orange come back. His three with 52 seconds left cut the Hoya lead to one, then McNamara hit Eric Devendorf with a beautiful bounce pass on the fast break, leading to a layup and Syracuse???s first and only lead with nine seconds left. McNamara then forced a traveling violation on Ashanti Cook, giving Syracuse the victory and a spot in Saturday???s Championship game, where they will face Pitt.

Pittsburgh clinched its fifth Championship game appearance in six years with a 68-54 victory over #2 Villanova. Antonio Graves led the Panthers with 18 points off the bench, and Randy Foye had 26 in a losing effort for the Wildcats. Villanova had to play most of the second half without All-American guard Allen Ray, who suffered a gruesome eye injury just 32 seconds into the second half when he was accidentally hit in the eye by Carl Krauser. Ray was taken to an area hospital, and may be back in time for the NCAA Tournament, coach Jay Wright told the Associated Press. Without Ray, Villanova was hurting big time, with their leader out with what appeared to be a very serious injury at the time. The Wildcats were able to chip away a little bit at the Pitt lead, but could not overcome the Panthers.

The BIG EAST Championship Game will be at 7:00 Saturday night, on ESPN.

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BIG EAST Tournament Day Two- Final Recap

Posted on 10 March 2006 by Justin Phillips

There must be something about Madison Square Garden and Syracuse. After starting yesterday’s action with a dramatic win over Cincinnati, the flare for the dramatic came out again Thursday as Syracuse upset #1 UConn, 86-84 in overtime.
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Rotten Apple: MU falls to Georgetown 62-59

Posted on 10 March 2006 by Justin Phillips

Another opportunity wasted. That was the overwhelming feeling of Marquette fans after the Warriors early exit from the BIG EAST Tournament Thursday. Marquette fell to Georgetown 62-59, in one of the more frustrating games of the season for MU.

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