"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

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

2007-2008 pre-season Big East picks

The Big East Basketball Report is once again polling all Big East bloggers for their annual Big East pre-season predictions. Look for the Big East Basketball Report to post the aggregated prognostications later this week.

With that in mind, here is the Cracked Sidewalks pre-season ballot for the 2007-2008 Big East season:

Team Rankings:
1. Georgetown (still the league's best)
2. Louisville (No Palacios, no problem. T-Will to the rescue)
3. Marquette (nation's deepest backcourt hopes Hayward emerges as frontcourt star)
4. Providence (veteran roster will push PC into the first division)
5. Notre Dame (McAlarney & Jackson form a dynamic backcourt duo)
6. Villanova (Wright has more high-ceiling guards than ever)
7. West Virginia (Huggins gets this experienced team into the NCAAs)
8. Syracuse (the loss of Watkins, Nichols & Roberts outweighs huge talent influx)
9. UConn (no idea what to make of this bunch)
10. Pittsburgh (huge graduation losses and new style of play makes them a wildcard)
11. Seton Hall (upside potential with Laing and Harvey)
12. Cincinnati (Vaughn is the best guard nobody talks about)
13. DePaul (fantastic talent influx, but will it be enough to replace big losses?)
14. South Florida (Heath will get it done here, but not yet)
15. Rutgers (two years away, solid foundation emerging)
16. St. John's (Norm Roberts' final season in Queens?)

Preseason Player of the Year:
Roy Hibbert, Georgetown

First Team All-Big East:
Terrence Williams, Louisville - F
Dominic James, Marquette - G
Scottie Reynolds,Villanova - G
Jonathan Wallace, Georgetown - G
Kentrell Gransberry, South Florida - C

Second Team All-Big East:
DaJuan Summers, Georgetown - F
Luke Harangody, Notre Dame - F
Wesley Matthews, Marquette - G/F
Jerel McNeal, Marquette - G
Geoff McDermott, Providence- F

Third Team All-Big East:
Eric Devendorf, Syracuse - G
Edgar Sosa, Louisville - G
Jeff Adrien, UConn - F
Deonta Vaughn, Cincy - G
Brian Laing, Seton Hall - F

Preseason Freshman of the Year:
Mac Koshwal, DePaul- C

Freshman First Team All-Conference:
Donte Greene, Syracuse- F
Corey Stokes, Villanova- G
Corey Fisher, Villanova- G
Dar Tucker, DePaul- F
Johnny Flynn, Syracuse- G

Freshman Second Team All-Conference:
DeJuan Blair, Pittsburgh- C
Austin Freeman, Georgetown- G
Alvin Mitchell, Cincy - G
Tyrone Nash, Notre Dame - G/F
Jeremy Hazell, Seton Hall- G

A few parting thoughts.....
There is essentially no difference between teams #4 - #10 in the poll above -- the league is remarkably balanced and it would not surprise me to see any one of those seven teams deliver an upside surprise this season. Syracuse in particular should be fun to watch -- loads of young, athletic talent that could vault the 'Cuse into the top tier of the league. Some might think that having both PC and ND in the top five is a reach -- maybe so, but I gave the nod to these squads based on experience. I can't believe a Jamie Dixon coached team could finish 10th. Of course, if not Pitt, who --- UConn, West Virginia? The league remains loaded.

Finally, choosing All-Big East teams is nearly an exercise in futility........the league is just so deep, inevitably very talented players are left off of any list. For example Darris Nichols, Jerome Dyson, Doug Wiggins, Hasheem Thabeet, Sharaud Curry, Randall Hanke, David Padgett, Anthony Mason Jr, Eugene Harvey, Levance Fields, Mike Cook, Rob Kurz, Da'Sean Butler, and J.R. Inman are just some of the additional players deserving of league-wide notoriety.

What. A. League.


Anonymous said...

I hope a third place finish is not overly optimistic for MU. We will be very competitive, but the bigs and three point shooting have much to prove.

Anonymous said...

"I can't believe a Jamie Dixon coached team could finish 10th. Of course, if not Pitt, who --- UConn, West Virginia?"

How about a Tom Crean coached team? Or was that a rhetorical question?

TB said...

"How about a Tom Crean coached team? Or was that a rhetorical question?"

In a year where MU turns over a large fraction of its roster, it is absolutely possible.

But this year MU returns essentially everybody from a very good team in 06-07, and adds a few useful players to the mix.

Unknown said...

Even without Mbakwe, I still think Marquette finishes 3rd/tied for 3rd, but at 12-6 instead of 13-5 or 14-4.

Also, surprised by the omission of Mac Koshwal on the all freshman teams. He's much more ready to make an immediate impact than Dar Tucker (who's still pretty raw, but will be an excellent player in time).

TB said...

Zuch, I tabbed Koshwal to be the Big East's top freshman.

The format for the bloggers poll follows that of All-Big East voting, ie: choose a POY, then five additional players on the all-league team

Unknown said...

Dang, just missed that. I would agree that he's a good choice, and it will likely between him, Corey Fisher and the Syracuse boys Flynn and Greene. Also., I may flip Tucker and Austin Freeman (who could easily be G-Town's second leading scorer behind Hibbert).