Monday, January 21, 2008

Vinny Pezzimenti Moment -- Week 10

Villanova actually stayed in the Top 25 last week...just barely. As expected, the beat writers jumped ship by the dozens. A total of 30 joined the 9 holdouts from prior weeks and left the Wildcats off their ballots. Those who follow Villanova, Northeast & Big East hoops (and national hoops) will most likely recognize Dana Pennett O'Neil (formerly of the PDN, lately ESPN), Dick Vitale (ESPN), Dick "Hoops" Weiss (columnist for the NYDN and PDN), Dustin Dow (Cincinnati Enquirer, mostly covers X) and Kevin McNamara (Providence Journal, covers the Friars), who were among the 39 who passed over Villanova last week. Vinny however stuck to his guns and ranked Villanova #18 on his ballot. The Nova Nation salutes you Vinny, and know your faith was rewarded this week when the Wildcats brought home two victories to raise their record to 13-3 and 3-2. Their 76-69 win over DePaul was sweet revenge for the road loss on January 3. And the double digit road win over Syracuse on Saturday which should bring a few of the "Reluctant 39" around. We will see...

My Big East Blogger Poll for this week:

1 - Georgetown
2 - Pittsburgh
3 - West Virginia
4 - Notre Dame
5 - Marquette
6 - Villanova
7 - Connecticut
8 - DePaul
9 - Louisville
10 - Seton Hall
11 - Providence
12 - Cincinnati
13 - Syracuse
14 - South Florida
15 - St. John's
16 - Rutgers

Player of the Week: Scottie Reynolds, Villanova

Rookie of the Week: Jeremy Hazell, Seton Hall

Who's Up...Who's Down...
Aside from Georgetown at the top and Rutgers, St. John's and South Florida at the bottom, every other team seemed determined to rush to the middle of the conference last week. Those in the top quartile lost some surprising games. Those in the second quartile also split their schedule while those in the bottom two quartiles pulled a handful of upsets. The Hoyas did lose to Pittsburgh early in the week, but they rebounded by whalloping the Irish by 19 points. The Panthers seemed poised to take the top spot (on my ballot anyway) with that 9 point win, but they ran into the surging Cincinnati squad on Saturday and came up 3 points short. I moved Pitt up one spot, to #2 (and I moved Cincinnati up one spot also, to #12). Among my top 4 from last week Marquette in particular appears to be in a funk of sorts. The Warriors dropped two games last week. The first may be understandable, Louisville in Freedom Hall can be pretty tough. But losing by 20 points is baffling. The second loss, on Sunday to Connecticut, is like Louisville, puzzling because of the magnitude of the loss. The Huskies built a 15 point margin in the first half, and then came out and won the second half too, albeit by a single point. And that is troubling for a team that wants to finish in the top 3 - 4 in the conference. I moved MU down from #2 to #5. They host DePaul in their only game this week. I have to think they will do their best to win by a double digit margin, if not to impress the AP voters, then to soothe their egos over this week's losses. Last week the second quartile consisted of Notre Dame, Louisville, West Virginia and Villanova. This week only Villanova remains, as the others have moved up (Notre Dame & West Virginia) or down (Loisville). West Virginia beat up on St. John's and South Florida, while Notre Dame logged a convincing 17 point win over the surging Bearcats, and then dropped a 19 point decision in an uncompetitive effort against Georgetown. The bottom quartile continues to distance themselves from the rest of the conference...

This week's OWs...
Jeremy Hazell of Seton Hall made my search for a worthy ROY candidate very quick. Hazell scored 51 points (18-33, 13-25, 2-5) in 2 Seton Hall wins last week. His 29 point effort against Louisville on Saturday was especially noteworthy. As for the Player of the Week, I considered Da'Sean Butler of West Virginia's 34 points in 2 games (13-27, 4-7, 4-4) very carefully. Butler notched those number against St. John's and South Florida. He had a double-double against USF, and was 1 rebound shy of doing it against the Johnnies. Villanova's Dante Cunningham also had a pretty good week, scoring 28 points in 2 games (12-16, 0-0, 4-5). Dante did his damage against DePaul and Syracuse. Cunningham recorded his fourth double-double of the season against DePaul when he nabbed 13 rebounds to go with his 14 points, and grabbed 8 more rebounds in the Syracuse to bring his 2 game total to 21. But my vote went to his Villanova teammate Scottie Reynolds who shot his way out of his slump last week with a 45 effort over 2 games (13-27, 7-15, 13-14). Reynolds led the 'Cat scorers in both games, versus DePaul on Wednesday and then Syracuse on Saturday. Reynolds also had 5 assists and 8 rebounds....


Pete said...

Right on the money on your players of the week.

But do you really think Louisville is the 9th best team in the BE right now? Since this is a power poll, I interpret it to mean how good a team is, not just the performance on the week. The only team I'd be more afraid of right now is GT. Louisville was #2 on my ballot... probably a bit high but despite the loss to SHU, they are good.

greyCat said...

Hazell was a clear choice. No other freshman came close to his point totals. I maybe overly cautious about voting for Villanova players in general as the vote this past week is only the third I've given for a Villanova player (as I recall anyway...).

Check my latest post for a ranking more along the "power poll" lines. I used Bill James' (via Ken Pomeroy) Pythagorean Theorem formula to project each team's season-ending record. Louisville is clearly on top using that system. I have been working from my ranking from the previous week and modifying based on each team's weekly result. I had the Cards at #6 last week and was frankly ready (mentally...) to move them up. But they lost to Seton Hall. Granted I gave minimum weight to GTown's loss to Pitt and Pitt's loss to Cincinnati, but in those cases the loser was in the game until late. The Ville was never really in the Seton Hall game. Three spots was a lot granted, but if they start winning again I will move them back up.