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March 7, 2007

This thread will be updated a few times throughout each game of today’s Big East Tournament. I’m not sure where this will lead to — I assume I’ll just go with the flow of the day. Feel free to comment throughout the day on any thoughts you have on today on the BET.

Today’s schedule looks like this (all games on ESPN):

Wednesday, March 7:

#8 DePaul vs. #9 Villanova, 12pm

#5 Syracuse vs. #12 UConn, 2pm

#7 West Virginia vs. #10 Providence, 7pm

#6 Marquette vs. #11 St. John’s, 9pm

Game 1: #8 DePaul vs. #9 Villanova

12:22 pm — So the tournament tips off with a good matchup, and for the record I have ‘Nova in this one. The ESPN coverage began with what can best be described as a “strange opening rap/dance montage” with people wearing a jersey from each team. The Pitt “representative” was wearing a #11 jersey and at first you’d think it was Carl Krauser; it’s the newer style jersey though that Krauser never wore therefore meaning it was…a Gilbert Brown jersey?!?

By the way there’s a game going on too and although ‘Nova jumped out to an early 8-0 lead, DePaul cut it to 12-8 with 12 minutes left in the half.

12:53 pm — Villanova went to a zone for the final few minutes of the half and Curtis Sumpter (13 pts. at the half) sat out the last few minutes because of foul trouble. DePaul closes the lead to 2 points because because BE RoY Scottie Reynolds played less than stellar.

1:03 pm — Don’t underestimate the fact that it’s pretty tough to play in this time slot. Neither team seems to have a huge contingent there and it’s definitely odd for those guys to play in a 20,000 seat arena that is only half full.

1:17 pm — DePaul is down 11 now with about 16 minutes left in the second half. Maybe if their jerseys didn’t resemble Penn State’s then they’d be much better.

1:33 pm — I know I said earlier that I picked Villanova to win but I’d rather see DePaul win if it means these teams go into three or four overtime periods. Anything to prolong the time before the impending doom that is Syracuse’s new unis.

1:49 pm — Villanova has had the lead for the entire game and DePaul has been able to pull close and then fade away a bit and then pull back in a continuing cycle. Scottie Reynolds isn’t playing his best game and still has 19 and counting. A five point lead for the Wildcats with seven left in the game.

Jay Bilas throws kind words towards Pitt’s way for the second time today, basically saying the same thing he did on Cold Pizza.

2:03 pm — If Nova wins they’ll have a tough time against a rested Georgetown team tomorrow now that two of the Wildcat’s key players have come up limping. Still have to win this one though. Villanova leads 63-59 with 1:20 left.

2:13 pm — Nova doesn’t miss foul shots which should lead them to the win. I won’t be able to watch the UConn-‘Cuse game but feel free to make your comments on that game. I should be back in action for the 7:00 game though.

6:02 pm — I’m back and just saw the SportsCenter highlight of Nichols and Devendorf destroying UConn. WVU-Providence coming up in about an hour.

Game 3: #7 West Virginia vs. #10 Providence

6:52 pm — If you take a look at my professionally made Big East bracket I filled out for the poll at BigEastHoops.com you’ll see I’m 2 for 2 so far today and looking for WVU to make it 3 of 3. Yeah I took Pitt all the way, and had it been for money I might have thought a bit more rationally, but it’s a free deal so I can be as big of a homer as I want.

7:03 pm — So everyone who missed the dancing intro during the day session got a look at it as they moved from SportsCenter into the game broadcast. Both teams NEED this game (and probably a few more) if they want to avoid the NIT.

7:15 pm — Is it just me or does the BET logo at center court get bigger every year?

7:37 pm — This game has been full of each team going on 7-8 point runs and then having the other team do the same.

I really wish we’d have clinched the 2nd seed for this tournament. I think the drop off from Marquette (6 seed) to WVU (7 seed) is pretty great. In my opinion, Louisville got the best draw.

8:05 pm — Patrick Beilein, son of Coach John, is in attendance and looking as fruity as ever.

8:14 pm — Dominic James struts into Madison Square Garden carrying his shoes in his hands and his jersey over his back. MU can’t afford duffel bags?

8:26 pm — Herbert Hill has trouble carrying this Providence team on his back and yet they’re still in the game. This game is beginning to look like the Villanova/DePaul game though. Like Depaul, Providence has been making runs at coming back but when it gets to within a point or two then WVU pulls away.

9:01 pm — WVU was just too tough for Providence but neither team’s defense was spectacular. Final score of WVU (92) to Providence (79).
By the way, I just found this hilarious post by Chas on Syracuse’s shorts over at the FanHouse.

Game 4: #6 Marquette vs. #11 St. John’s

9:15 pm — The game that affects Pitt the most at this point in time is coming up in about ten minutes or so. Not sure if I’ll make it through the entire game — I don’t think I would be able to stay awake if Marquette blows SJU out of the water.

9:43 pm — It’s not too hard to see that Marquette is the better team. For SJU to pull it off they’ll need someone to play the game of their life.

Congrats definitely to Aaron Gray for winning the Big East Scholar-Athlete Award. There’s a cynical side of me that thinks part of why he got it was an additional reward for deferring the NBA for another year. Not to mention, that with his expected financial windfall, he’ll probably just donate the $2000 scholarship money to the school or some other group.

The article in the P-G, though, does have an error. It states that Gray is the first Pitt player to win it. How can they forget the immortal Darren Morningstar? The winner of the award back in 1992.

As for the new Syracuse basketball unis. Not nearly as hideous as expected when they aren’t wearing the base layer. That or the Syracuse players opted for larger jerseys to minimize the contour. I posted my observations here.

Dixon On Cold Pizza

Filed under: Coaches,Dixon,Media,TV — Dennis @ 9:21 am

Jamie Dixon will be on ESPN2’s Cold Pizza this morning. The show runs from 10 am until noon so I’m not sure what time he’ll actually come on and how long it’ll last but from the commercials I’ve seen during Mike & Mike (hooray for having the day off!) it looks like Dixon is the main guest on today’s show.

If Dixon says anything special, I’ll be sure to update this post with what it is. If/when they ask him about the Panthers, I’m going to go out on a limb and say he’ll keep his words positive. Just a thought…

Updates:

10:12 am — I guess I never realized how nice it is to have the WWLS cover the Big East. The amount of BET coverage we’re going to see in the next few days is going to be great and it’s already started on Cold Pizza. Jay Bilas says that Georgetown is the favorite to win the BET but if he had to pick another team, it would be Pitt. Dixon hasn’t been on yet but I’m home, I’m bored, and I feel like updating this at my leisure.

11:10 am — They went an hour without mentioning Dixon but rest assured, they just did a little promo for his appearence going into the commercial break.

11:17 am — Dixon finally appears and starts by saying it’s a new season and he believes the Big East can get 8 teams into the NCAA tournament. According to him, Gray definitely lost some rhythm by missing so many practices during his ankle injury but he’s back into the groove with the team.

The Cold Pizza host (already forgot his name…there’s a reason he hosts a show in the middle of the day on ESPN2) brings up free throwing shooting…and then asks Dixon to shot some foul shots on in his suit and tie on the 7 foot basketball hoop in the studio.

The first one he tries with one hand and hits the front of the rim. The second one is with two hands and he sinks it.

So we saw Monday who the coaches think should earn the Big East postseason honors. Tuesday it was the bloggers’ turn to talk. Unlike the coaches, however, the bloggers understand that award teams generally have five players; not half of the players in the league listed on one team. Notable awards listed below but to see the entire list click the link above.

BIG EAST PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Jeff Green, Georgetown

All-Big East 1st Team:
Herbert Hill, Providence
Demetris Nichols, Syracuse
Roy Hibbert, Georgetown
Aaron Gray, Pittsburgh
Curtis Sumpter, Villanova

All-Big East 4th Team:
Sharaud Curry, Providence
Lamont Hamilton, St. John’s
Wilson Chandler, DePaul
Levance Fields, Pittsburgh
Brian Laing, Seton Hall

BIG EAST FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR:
Scottie Reynolds (Villanova)

BIG EAST COACH OF THE YEAR:
Mike Brey, Notre Dame

BIG EAST DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Jerel McNeal, Marquette

Here are some more official awards announced last night.

2006-07 BIG EAST AWARDS

Player of the Year
Jeff Green, Georgetown

Coach of the Year
Mike Brey, Notre Dame

Rookie of the Year
Scottie Reynolds, Villanova

Defensive Player of the Year
Jerel McNeal, Marquette

Most Improved Player
Herbert Hill, Providence

Sportsmanship Award
Brandon Jenkins, Louisville

No Pitt guys on the list, obviously not a surprise.

I’m about as excited as you can get for a Villanova-DePaul game as you can probably get. If you don’t love Big East tourney time–well I really don’t have any threat for you–but you should. Great games all day today and tomorrow and should be a ton of fun.

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