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Big East Primer

One of the best things about winter, nay, the best thing about winter is starting tonight. That my friends, is Big East basketball. It may seem like the season just started, or you might not have been paying attention with the NFL, college football, and all this holiday nonsense going on. That’s why we here at Bearcats Blog got your back. We will run through every team in the Big East, and tell you what they are good at, what they suck at and who you should pay attention to. It’s all you need to know to be ready to sit at your tv and let the Big East rock your face. This is in alphabetical order, not prediction of finish. All stats are from the great kenpom.com. For the best win and worst loss, the Ken Pom rank is in parenthesis. 


Cincinnati Bearcats
Record: 12-0
Ken Pom Rank: 36
Ken Pom Offense: 56
Ken Pom Defense: 24
Highest Ken Pom Stat: 12 (opponent effective field goal %, steal %)
Lowest Ken Pom Stat: 272 (free throw %)
Top 2 Scorers: Dion Dixon 12.8, Yancy Gates 11.4
Top 2 Rebounders: Yancy Gates 6.7, Ibrahima Thomas 6.6
Top 2 Assists: Cashmere Wright 3.8, Dion Dixon 1.8
Best Win: Dayton (97)
Worst Loss: none
Overview: The Bearcats have rolled through one of the worst non-conference schedules in the country (340). The biggest question with Cincinnati is are they legit or not? With the schedule picking up in the new year, we will quickly find out if Mick Cronin’s strategy will pay off. 
Connecticut Huskies
Record: 10-0
Ken Pom Rank: 26
Ken Pom Offense: 20
Ken Pom Defense: 49
Highest Ken Pom Stat: 1 (Opp. 2 pt %) 
Lowest Ken Pom Stat: 201 (Opp. 3 pt %)
Top 2 Scorers: Kemba Walker 26.5, Alex Oriakhi 11.3
Top 2 Rebounders: Alex Oriakhi 9.9, Roscoe Smith 5.9
Top 2 Assists: Kemba Walker 4, Shabazz Napier 2.8
Best Win: Kentucky (6)
Worst Loss: none
Overview: Connecticut was the surprise team in Maui, beating Michigan St and Kentucky to claim the crown. Kemba Walker has been THE story of the Big East so far, and is currently the nation’s leading scorer. The Huskies have gotten a lot of respect in the polls, #4 as of this writing, but some people aren’t sold. Tonight, we find out something about UConn, as they travel to Pitt, as they start a span in which they play 4 of 6 on the road. 
DePaul Blue Demons
Record: 6-6
Ken Pom Rank: 180
Ken Pom Offense: 225
Ken Pom Defense: 127
Highest Ken Pom Stat: 4 (Defensive steal %) 
Lowest Ken Pom Stat: 321 (Offensive rebound %)
Top 2 Scorers: Brandon Young 13.4, Tony Freeland 11.8
Top 2 Rebounders: Krys Faber 5.8, Tony Freeland 4
Top 2 Assists: Brandon Young 3.9, Jeremiah Kelly 2.8
Best Win: Loyola Chicago (112)
Worst Loss: Cal St Northridge (247)
Overview: DePaul may be the bottom of the barrel in the Big East, but they have won 5 of their last 7 games. Brandon Young has the makings of a good, young point guard, and could the future of DePaul basketball. DePaul will struggle no doubt, but there is some hope on the horizon. 
Georgetown Hoyas
Record: 11-1
Ken Pom Rank: 8
Ken Pom Offense: 3
Ken Pom Defense: 57
Highest Ken Pom Stat: 1 (Effective FG %)
Lowest Ken Pom Stat: 289 (Off. Steals against) 
Top 2 Scorers: Austin Freeman 18.9, Chris Wright 13.7
Top 2 Rebounders: Julian Vaughn 7, Hollis Thompson 4.8
Top 2 Assists: Chris Wright 6.3, Austin Freeman 2.3 
Best Win: Missouri (25)
Worst Loss: Temple (30)
Overview: The Hoyas have excelled on the offensive end, powered by guards Chris Wright and preseason player of the year Austin Freeman. The Hoyas have been very good on defense as well. They have a couple of big wins, against Memphis, Utah St, and Old Dominion. They open the BE season at Notre Dame in what should be a very interesting game.
Louisville Cardinals
Record: 10-1
Ken Pom Rank: 9 
Ken Pom Offense: 24
Ken Pom Defense: 7 
Highest Ken Pom Stat: 6 (Steal %)
Lowest Ken Pom Stat: 265 (Opp. FT rate) 
Top 2 Scorers: Preston Knowles 13.7, Peyton Siva 12.1 
Top 2 Rebounders: Rock Buckles 7.6, Terrence Jennings 5.6
Top 2 Assists: Peyton Siva 4.7, Mike Marra (injured) 2.7
Best Win: UNLV (22)
Worst Loss: Drexel (87) 
Overview: Despite sending the opposition to the line a lot, the Cardinals defense has been shut down. The Cardinals are one of the best teams in the nation at making shots inside the arch, yet they are 18th in 3 pointers taken, and are only 134 in 3%. Peyton Siva is a good example of this, as he’s shooting 53%, but only 29% from 3. Siva and Preston Knowles lead the Cards on both ends of the floor, and they are doing quite the job. 
Marquette Golden Eagles
Record: 9-3
Ken Pom Rank: 40 
Ken Pom Offense: 29
Ken Pom Defense: 61 
Highest Ken Pom Stat: 11 (Opp. FT rate) Marquette’s opponents are shooting 58% at the line. Wow. 
Lowest Ken Pom Stat: 258 (Opp. 3 %)
Top 2 Scorers: Jimmy Butler 15.3, Darius Johnson-Odom 14.2 
Top 2 Rebounders: Jimmy Butler 6.5, Jae Crowder 6.1 
Top 2 Assists: Dwight Buycks 4.7, Junior Cadougan 3.5
Best Win: Bucknell (142) 
Worst Loss: Gonzaga (50) 
Overview: Marquette has quietly played a terrible non-conference schedule with 3 big win opportunities. Unfortunately for the Eagles, they lost to Duke, Wisconsin and Gonzaga in close games. Marquette has a big non-conference game this week against Vanderbilt before they hit Big East play with a bang, with West Virginia, Pitt, ND and Louisville. 
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Record: 11-1
Ken Pom Rank: 35
Ken Pom Offense: 10 
Ken Pom Defense: 80 
Highest Ken Pom Stat: 5 (Turnover %)
Lowest Ken Pom Stat: 345 (Def. Steal %)
Top 2 Scorers: Tim Abromaitis 16.1, Ben Hansbrough 15.3
Top 2 Rebounders: Tim Abromaitis 7.5, Carleton Scott 6.8
Top 2 Assists: Ben Hansbrough 4.0, Eric Atkins 3.5
Best Win: Wisconsin (12)
Worst Loss: Kentucky (6)
Overview: Notre Dame has been a bit of a surprise this season. The guards were great when Luke Harangody went down last season, and they have improved this season, especially Ben Hansbrough. I think Tim Abromaitis is one of the better players in the conference, and he and his acne have proven it yet again. Notre Dame jumps right into the fire, with Georgetown, Syracuse, and UConn. 
Pittsburgh Panthers
Record: 12-1
Ken Pom Rank: 4 
Ken Pom Offense: 1 
Ken Pom Defense: 45 
Highest Ken Pom Stat: 1 (Off. Reb. %)
Lowest Ken Pom Stat: 274 (FT %) 
Top 2 Scorers: Ashton Gibbs 16.5, Brad Wanamaker 12.9
Top 2 Rebounders: Gary McGhee 6.8 Dante Taylor 5.8
Top 2 Assists: Brad Wanamaker 5.6, Travon Woodall 4.2 
Best Win: Texas (16) 
Worst Loss: Tennessee (32)
Overview: The Panthers have been stomping kids this season. Their only loss was to a Tennessee team that was playing some of their best ball of the season. Ashton Gibbs has been one of the best players in the conference. His accurate shooting has been bolstered by more attempts, thanks to Pitt getting nearly half of their misses. When a team is already good on offense, they are that much better when they get shots they miss. 
Providence Friars
Record: 11-2
Ken Pom Rank: 68
Ken Pom Offense: 46
Ken Pom Defense: 94 
Highest Ken Pom Stat: 10 (Off. Reb %)
Lowest Ken Pom Stat: 252 (3 pt %) 
Top 2 Scorers: Marshon Brooks 23.1, Vincent Council 16
Top 2 Rebounders: Bilal Dixon 9.2, Marshon Brooks 8.9
Top 2 Assists: Vincent Council 6.8, Marshon Brooks 2.5
Best Win: Alabama (70)
Worst Loss: LaSalle (122) 
Overview: Marshon Brooks has been one of the most surprising players in the Big East so far this season. He takes 31% of the shots for the Friars when he’s on the floor. Many of his baskets are assists from fantastic PG Vincent Council. The Friars, shocker, are all offense and no defense. That makes them wildly entertaining, but also makes them wildly flawed. 
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Record: 9-2
Ken Pom Rank: 94
Ken Pom Offense: 117
Ken Pom Defense: 84 
Highest Ken Pom Stat: 4 (Block %)
Lowest Ken Pom Stat: 289 (Off FT Rate) Rutgers also has their opponents shooting 74% at the line, which is 330
Top 2 Scorers: Jonathan Mitchell 12, Mike Coburn 10.9
Top 2 Rebounders: Dane Miller 6.8, Jon Mitchell 6.1
Top 2 Assists: Mike Coburn 3.7, James Beatty 3.4
Best Win: Miami (66) 
Worst Loss: St Joseph’s (172) 
Overview: Just like how Providence is still Providence, Rutgers is still Rutgers. By that, I mean pretty solid on defense, but slow and sloppy on offense. Rutgers has played an ass non-conference schedule, just like many other teams, and the fact they have a couple of losses to questionable teams, means they could be in some trouble when they play the big boys. But, they are also capable of pulling off an upset or two. 
Saint John’s Red Storm
Record: 7-3
Ken Pom Rank: 51
Ken Pom Offense: 40
Ken Pom Defense: 69 
Highest Ken Pom Stat: 10 (Off turnover %)
Lowest Ken Pom Stat: 297 (Opp. 3 %) St John’s opponents have shot 74% at the foul stripe as well. 
Top 2 Scorers: Dwight Hardy 15.5, Justin Brownlee 14.1
Top 2 Rebounders: Justin Burrell 5.9, DJ Kennedy 5.7
Top 2 Assists: Malik Boothe 3.7, Dwight Hardy 2.6
Best Win: Northwestern (48)
Worst Loss: Fordham (213) 
Overview: St John’s was in a little swoon, until the second half of the N’Western game, when they missed 4 shots. It was by far the best win for the Johnnies, and one they needed after a couple of questionable losses. St John’s will have their meddle tested, with 3 of the first 4 Big East contests on the road. St John’s gets most of their points inside the arch, which is good because they very bad at shooting 3s. And free throws. There might need to be an expose on why so many Big East teams are bad at free throws. 
Seton Hall Pirates
Record: 6-6
Ken Pom Rank: 57
Ken Pom Offense: 73
Ken Pom Defense: 47
Highest Ken Pom Stat: 20 (Def. Effective FG %)
Lowest Ken Pom Stat: 306 (Shots Blocked %) 
Top 2 Scorers: Jordan Theodore 12.3, Jeff Robinson 12
Top 2 Rebounders: Herb Pope 8, Jeff Robinson 6 
Top 2 Assists: Jordan Theodore 5.1, Keon Lawrence 3.0
Best Win: Alabama (70)
Worst Loss: Dayton (97) 
Overview: Seton Hall lost star Jeremy Hazell 3 games into the season, and they have not been the same team since. They haven’t found anyone to fill his scoring burden. Herb Pope averaged a double double last season, but only has 8-8 this season. He’s had at least 3 fouls in 7 games. He’s missed 2 of the last 3 games, including a loss yesterday to Richmond. The Pirates had high hopes coming into the season, but with Hazell gone, they seem deflated. 
South Florida Bulls
Record: 6-7
Ken Pom Rank: 121
Ken Pom Offense: 227
Ken Pom Defense: 63
Highest Ken Pom Stat: 17 (2 pt Defense) 
Lowest Ken Pom Stat: 340 (Turnover %) 
Top 2 Scorers: Jawanza Poland 10.8, Augustus Gilchrist 10.8 
Top 2 Rebounders: Ron Anderson Jr 8.5, Gus Gilchrist 5.8
Top 2 Assists: Anthony Crater 3.8, Ron Anderson 2.1 
Best Win: VCU (91) 
Worst Loss: Florida Atlantic (173) 
Overview: Speaking of teams that look deflated after losing their leading scorer, it looks like Dominique Jones took the offense with him as he left USF. The Bulls turn the ball over like crazy, aren’t good at shooting the 3, aren’t great at 2s, and are poor from the foul line. But, they are one of the better offensive rebounding teams in the country. The Bulls play pretty good defense, especially on 2s, as you can see. Gilchrist left the team for 3 games, and looked like he was gone, but came back and is back in the lineup. USF starts @Seton Hall, @UConn, and home to Villanova and Louisville. Ouch babe. 
Syracuse Orange
Record: 13-0
Ken Pom Rank: 7
Ken Pom Offense: 8 
Ken Pom Defense: 20 
Highest Ken Pom Stat: 1 (Block %) 
Lowest Ken Pom Stat: 239 (FT %) 
Top 2 Scorers: Kris Joseph 14, Rick Jackson 13.9
Top 2 Rebounders: Rick Jackson 11.8, Kris Joseph 5.1 
Top 2 Assists: Scoop Jardine 5.9, Brandon Triche 3.8
Best Win: Michigan St (19)
Worst Loss: none 
Overview: Unlike some of the other teams in the conference, Syracuse has dominated with their interior play. Rick Jackson has been a man among boys in the post. He’s thrown up 9 double doubles on the season. One of them was a 22 rebound game against Detroit. The Orange don’t turn the ball over, play great defense, and look like one of the best teams in the country right now. They start with Providence and Notre Dame at home to kick off BE play. One thing is for sure though, Syracuse will lose at Louisville. 
Villanova Wildcats
Record: 10-1
Ken Pom Rank: 13 
Ken Pom Offense: 37
Ken Pom Defense: 11 
Highest Ken Pom Stat: 5 (Opp. Off. Reb %) 
Lowest Ken Pom Stat: 254 (Turnovers forced %) 
Top 2 Scorers: Corey Stokes 15.7, Corey Fisher 15.5
Top 2 Rebounders: Mouphtaou Yaru 8.1, Antonio Pena 7.5
Top 2 Assists: Corey Fisher 5.9, Maalik Wayns 5.8
Best Win: UCLA (59) 
Worst Loss: Tennessee (32) 
Overview: Villanova had a rough offensive stretch after the Tennessee game, but they’ve rounded into shape against a couple of bad teams. Villanova’s defense hasn’t taken a game off, as they’ve not let anyone score from 3, and they’ve shut people down overall. Villanova has 3 excellent guards, the Coreys and Wayns, and they will go as far as the guards take them. The Wildcats will get tested a couple of times non-conference still, with Temple and Maryland on the docket. The Maryland game comes in a stretch in which they play Louisville at home, and go to UConn, and Syracuse. 
West Virginia Mountaineers
Record: 8-2
Ken Pom Rank: 17
Ken Pom Offense: 9 
Ken Pom Defense: 58 
Highest Ken Pom Stat: 7 (Opp. 3 pt %) 
Lowest Ken Pom Stat: 327 (Steal %) 
Top 2 Scorers: Casey Mitchell 17.5, Kevin Jones 12.5
Top 2 Rebounders: John Flowers 7.2, Kevin Jones 6.5
Top 2 Assists: Truck Bryant 3.7, Joe Mazzulla 3.6
Best Win: Vanderbilt (18) 
Worst Loss: Miami (66) 
Overview: In seemingly un-Bob Huggins fashion, the Mountaineers are a better offensive team than defensive team. The Mountaineers hit the offensive glass very well, and get to the line quite frequently. They don’t shoot very well from the stripe, but good enough. The Mountaineers guard the 3 ball extremely well, as you can see up top. The Mountaineers host St John’s before going to Marquette and DePaul. The road trip could tell us a lot about the Mountaineers. WVU doesn’t seem as elite as they were last season, and it’ll be interesting to track them this season. 
Well folks, that was very informative if you ask me. I’m pumped for Big East action tonight, and if you are reading this right now, I’m pretty sure you are too. Fuck bowl week, this is the most wonderful week of the year.