Friday, December 07, 2007

Big East Banterings

Another week down and the Big East is 85-25 overall after a fairly succesful week in non-conference action. The Big East won the Big East/SEC challenge or whatever that was going on in Birmingham and Philadelphia this week.

Villanova rallied from down 21 with 8 minutes left to knock off LSU and secure a 3-1 advantage between the two conferences. Providence, who lost to South Carolina at the Wachovia Center, was the Big East's only victims. But the Friars did get a big overtime win over Boston College last weekend.

That was one of two wins for the conference over the ACC this week. Syracuse won in Charlottesville, while St John's lost to Miami. On the season the ACC has won five of the nine contests between the two conferences. There are only two other conferences with winning records versus the Big East. The West Coast is 2-0 after St. Mary's beat Seton Hall and Gonzaga downed UCONN, while Creighton beat Depaul in the only matchup between the Big East and Missouri Valley.

Marquette has the big game of the weekend as they travel to instate rival Wisconsin. Jerel McNeal has led the Eagles with 16 points per night and Tom Crean's group will be looking for a strong performance for him this weekend. He has been in double figures five of six games this year. Marquette scored a season high 100 in last weeks win over Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Alex Ruoff continues to be one of the reasons that West Virginia is playing as well as they are. The 6-6 junior led the Mountaineers with 28 in their win over Auburn. He knocked down 6 threes on 8 attempts in the game. For the season, he is shooting nearly 47 % from beyond the arc averaging better than three treys a contest. The 'eers have an interesting matchup with surprising Duquesne this weekend.

Notre Dame seems to be coming into its own a little bit. The Irish were very good in a win over Eastern Michigan and then defeated Kansas State at MSG to complete the week. At 6-2 at the moment, and with what they have in front of them over the next few weeks, ND should enter the Big East schedule at 10-2 and be a contender during the season. Kyle McAlarney has found his shooting touch since they returned from the Virgin Islands and has made 19-of his last-32 trifecta attempts. Meanwhile, Luke Harangody came through with back-to-back top notch performances this week.

Speaking of back-to-back efforts. Give Dominique Jones an early stocking stuffer for consecutive 30 point efforts this week. The Bulls have now won 6 in a row, and Jones has been a key factor. His 30 point efforts helped USF get to 6-3 with wins over Central Florida and Richmond. The Bulls host USF Saturday night.

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