"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Top 40 Catholic basketball teams and 'All-Catholic team'

I oppose the formation of a "Catholic League" for basketball.  However, I ranked the Catholic Universities who play D1 hoops in light of the tumult of realignment news surrounding Louisville leaving the heavily Catholic Big East, the Catholic flagship Notre Dame going back to the football championship, and the passing away of the great Rick Majerus who bookended his career at Jesuit schools Marquette and St. Louis.

Below I ranked the top 40 colleges and top 40 players on Catholic teams into eight "All-Catholic squads."  Obviously by "All-Catholic" I mean players who play for Catholic schools, so if we did these for football Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o would be at the top of the "All-Catholic" football list for playing for Notre Dame, while a young Catholic Jim McMahon would not have been listed as a "All-Catholic" quarterback when he led Brigham Young.  I based the team rating mainly on www.kenpom.com through today, but if a team was ranked then I averaged that with both the AP and ESPN poll.  For players, I based it half on the average of their latest Value Add appearing as "2013 Act" and their projected Value Add based on all of last season ("2013 Proj") as they both appear on www.valueaddbasketball.com.

While Notre Dame had the huge upset of Kentucky, and I expect Georgetown to shoot to the top now that Otto Porter is back from his concussion, right now you have to look further west for the top two Catholic teams in the land.

Kevin Pangos (3.9 APG) and Elias Harris (15.9 ppg, 8.4 rpg) both make the "2nd All-Catholic Team" (see all 8 teams below the team ratings) as two of the top 10 Catholic players in the country who are also expected to play in the NBA.  They have led Gonzaga to lopsided wins over West Virginia, Oklahoma, Davidson and others en route to an 8-0 record and the top shooting team in the country (53.3% field goal percentages).  Comments on other teams appear below the list of teams.  Here are the top 40 - and by the way St. Francis of Pennsylvania is the only Catholic team that does not make the top 40 since there are 41 Catholics teams:

Catholic UniversityConfPomAPESPNAve
1Gonzaga WCC310108
2Creighton MVC32161320
3Notre Dame BE20222522
4Georgetown BE37152325
5Saint Joseph's A102727
6St. Louis A104646
7Marquette BE504347
8St. Mary's WCC6666
9Providence BE7070
10Seton Hall BE7373
11St. John's BE7979
12La Salle A108383
13Xavier A108989
14St. Bonaventure A109595
15Dayton A109696
16Villanova BE9898
17Iona MAAC102102
18Santa Clara WCC113113
19DePaul BE117117
20Loyola MD MAAC118118
21Detroit Horz130130
22San Francisco WCC137137
23Boston College ACC151151
24Fairfield MAAC155155
25Niagara MAAC158158
26Duquesne A10171171
27Manhattan MAAC177177
28Loyola Marymount WCC181181
29San Diego WCC191191
30St. Francis NY NEC202202
31Canisius MAAC210210
32Holy Cross Pat216216
33Siena MAAC218218
34Portland WCC223223
35Sacred Heart NEC232232
36Mount St. Mary's NEC237237
37Loyola Chicago Horz238238
38St. Peter's MAAC254254
39Fordham A10257257
40Seattle WAC268268

National Player of the Year candidate Doug McDermott has helped Creighton nudge out Notre Dame and Georgetown as the second best Catholic team.  However, Otto Porter is my pick for Big East POY and would almost certainly rank 1st on this list if he had not missed the first several games with a concussion.  Jack Cooley has been even better than advertised to help the Irish rank #3 just ahead of Georgetown.  Stars Matthew Dellavedova (16.6 ppg, 5.4 apg) and Bryce Cooley (22.1 ppg, 4.4 apg) round out the 1st team and have run great offenses for St. Mary's and Providence to make them #8 and #9 respectively - the latter despite the Friars not having a couple of stars qualify.

1st team 'All Catholic'SchoolHtYr28-NovProjAve
1Matthew DellavedovaSt. Mary's6' 4"Sr9.117.038.07
2Doug McDermottCreighton6' 8"Jr5.3010.237.77
3Bryce CottonProvidence6' 1"Jr9.905.427.66
4Jack CooleyNotre Dame6' 9"Sr7.127.827.47
5Otto PorterGeorgetown6' 8"So5.629.087.35

In addition to the Gonzaga duo on the 2nd team, we've all seen how great Edwin (17.9 ppg) has been for Seton Hall (#10).  Armand is only 2nd on Iona (behind Momo Jones) at 20.6 ppg, but put up 28 to crush Wake Forest 94-68 and has Iona 17th at 3-2.  While St. Francis NY is only 30th as a team, Cannon's 16.0 ppg and 9.6 rpg included an 11-rebound performance at Illinois.

2nd team 'All Catholic'SchoolHtYr28-NovProjAve
6Fuquan EdwinSeton Hall6' 6"Jr8.046.547.29
7Jalen CannonSt. Francis NY6' 6"So8.295.646.97
8Elias HarrisGonzaga6' 8"Sr8.495.126.81
9Kevin PangosGonzaga6' 2"So5.378.086.73
10Sean ArmandIona6' 4"Jr9.264.116.69

Pomeroy calculated St. Joseph's as the 5th best Catholic School, but Hawks fans will be quick to remind him of Galloway's 13 point, 3 assist performance in their upset of Notre Dame and his customary two steals in a route of Harvard. Harrison's 26 point, 6 rebound performance to lead a route of South Carolina has St. John's up to #11 and closing on Marquette.

3rd team 'All Catholic'SchoolHtYr28-NovProjAve
11Ray McCallumDetroit6' 3"Jr7.006.196.60
12D'Angelo HarrisonSt. John's6' 3"So5.727.436.58
13Langston GallowaySaint Joseph's6' 2"Jr4.458.556.50
14Anthony IrelandLoyola Marymount5' 10"Jr7.524.606.06
15Marc TrasoliniSanta Clara6' 9"Sr9.142.896.02

Evans 14.0 ppg and 6.9 rpg are fantastic numbers when you consider that the team that Majerus built at St. Louis is ranked 6th and one spot ahead of Marquette despite scoring only 64.4 ppg - the 247th best total in the US.  Momo Jones is the second half of Iona's one-two punch, while Dillard has led Dayton to the 15th best spot among Catholic schools.

4th team 'All Catholic'SchoolHtYr28-NovProjAve
16Kevin DillardDayton6' 0Sr6.145.435.79
17George BeamonManhattan6' 4"Sr5.834.905.37
18Eric AtkinsNotre Dame6' 2"Jr6.064.595.33
19Dwayne EvansSt. Louis6' 5"Jr6.783.835.31
20Lamont JonesIona6' 0Sr7.273.005.14

You see some of the additional stars on the power teams above in addition to Cormier leading Loyola-MD into the #20 spot and ahead of the other two Loyola schools.

5th team 'All Catholic'SchoolHtYr28-NovProjAve
21Jerian GrantNotre Dame6' 5"Jr3.406.765.08
22C.J. AikenSaint Joseph's6' 9"Jr3.986.155.07
23Stephen HoltSt. Mary's6' 4"Jr4.425.394.91
24Dylon CormierLoyola MD6' 2"Jr5.484.234.86
25Grant GibbsCreighton6' 5"Sr5.693.894.79

While Marquette ranks #7 among Catholic schools and is still getting one vote for 25th from an AP writer, the strong stats of Davante Gardner and Jamil Wilson were mainly rolled up against terrible defenses prior to being shut down by Florida.  Like St. Louis, MU right now is a bubble team, but certainly has the incredible depth on the roster to move way up. Despite the slaughter at Florida, Derrick Wilson and Vander Blue were the two players who improved their Value Add during the game.

6th team 'All Catholic'SchoolHtYr28-NovProjAve
26Davante GardnerMarquette6' 8"Jr4.584.874.73
27Kevin Foster (SC)Santa Clara6' 2"Sr9.360.004.68
28Johnny DeeSan Diego6' 0So4.664.654.66
29Jamil WilsonMarquette6' 7"Jr5.503.564.53
30LaDontae HentonProvidence6' 6"So2.226.804.51

DePaul hopes a new arena will revive their program, but it took 19 points and 5 assists from Young (16.7 ppg, 4.1 apg) to deliver a desperate road win at Auburn to get DePaul to 4-3.

7th team 'All Catholic'SchoolHtYr28-NovProjAve
31Gregory EcheniqueCreighton6' 9"Sr5.103.524.31
32Carl JonesSaint Joseph's5' 11"Sr5.293.284.29
33Brandon YoungDePaul6' 4"Jr4.474.084.28
34Ronald RobertsSaint Joseph's6' 8"Jr5.043.504.27
35Juan'ya GreenNiagara6' 3"So5.333.044.19

 LaSalle has actually had very balanced play from five players to become the 12th best Catholic school to date, but Duren and Wright are the returning 1-2 punch that both sneak into the top 40 Catholic players - or 8th team "All-Catholic."

8th team 'All Catholic'SchoolHtYr28-NovProjAve
36Tyreek DurenLa Salle6' 0Jr2.465.864.16
37Cody DoolinSan Francisco6' 2"Jr5.073.164.12
38Ethan WraggeCreighton6' 7"Jr5.302.914.11
39Jerrell WrightLa Salle6' 8"So2.355.674.01
40O.D. AnosikeSiena6' 8"Sr4.443.433.94

Obviously Marquette has another chance to show the depth can produce Saturday when they host Wisconsin.  Their three potential big games before this were cancelled (Ohio State), averted by a buzzer beater in the previous game (UNC) and a disaster (33-point loss at Florida).  A loss Saturday would mean MU has no chances for a non-conference win against a current top 100 Pomeroy team, so this is a chance to show the potential.

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