Monday, December 31, 2007

The Big East - A10 Challenge: Rhode Rage?

Dan Hanner, Georgetown graduate and resident of Minnesota authors the Yet Another Basketball Blog, a terrific source for information and analysis on D1 basketball. His December 14 post, "Early Season Cheat Sheet", takes stock of the 2007-08 season so far (he "Best Comeback" so Villanova for the LSU game). Among the areas he highlights is the BCS - nonBCS matchups, and how they have played out to that point. While reading the section Mid Major Wins to Brag About, I could not help but notice the number of A10 - Big East games the A10 has taken this season. It reminded me of a post I wanted to develop about the large number of games the teams from the two conferences play against each other. Many, like Philadelphia's Big 5 series, which includes 3 A10 teams -- La Salle, St. Joseph's(PA) and Temple -- and Villanova from the Big East, are annual affairs whose histories stretch back decades (if not a century). While Hanner's list identified the A10 wins, it did not include all of the games teams from the two conferences have played to date. A complete list would include:

12/12 Cincinnati 59 Xavier 64 (R, -5)
12/23 DePaul 93 La Salle 88 (N, +5)
12/08 Louisville 65 Dayton 70 (H, -5)
11/11 Pittsburgh 69 St. Louis 58 (H, +11)
12/05 Pittsburgh 73 Duquesne 68 (A, +5)
12/29 Pittsburgh 55 Dayton 80 (A -25!)
11/15 Providence 66 Temple 64 (N, +2)
12/04 Providence 60 Rhode Island 77 (A, -17)
11/16 South Florida 67 Rhode Island 74 (H, -7)
11/13 Syracuse 72 St. Joseph's (PA) 69 (H, +3)
11/16 Syracuse 80 Fordham 63 (H, +17)
11/28 Syracuse 100 Massachusetts 107 (H, -7)
12/08 Syracuse 89 Rhode Island 91 (H, -2)
12/09 Villanova 101 Temple 93 (A, +8)
12/29 Villanova 71 La Salle 58 (H +13)
12/08 West Virginia 92 Duquesne 68 (H +24)

Which puts this "challenge" at 9-7 Big East. Individual records:

South Florida01
West Virginia10

The Rhode Island Rams and Dayton Flyers are this year's giant killers, while the Big 5 contingent appears to be really struggling (currently 0-5). As for the traditional rivalries, Pittsburgh is the dominant team in Western Pennsylvania while Villanova would take their 3rd straight Big 5 title should they defeat St. Joseph's(PA) in February. Should Georgetown beat the "other Rams" (Fordham) today (the Hoyas are well ahead in the second half), the Big East is guaranteed to maintain the upper hand this season. [Note -- the Hoyas did defeat the Rams 82-55, +27] The complete record for the A10 teams:

La Salle02
Rhode Island30
St. Louis01
St. Joseph's(PA)01

Still to play...
12/31 Georgetown -- Fordham (H)
02/04 Villanova -- St. Joseph's(PA) (A)

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