Monday, February 18, 2008

Vinny Pezzimenti Moment -- Week 14

Villanova had a "break even" week, going 1-1. The Georgetown road game went down to the last possession, while the 'Cats handled the Johnnies very easily at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night. Hopefully the 'Cats are pointed in the right direction and will put together a run that will insure last Saturday will not be their only appearance in the Garden this season...

My Big East Blogger Poll for this week:

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

Who's Up...Who's Down...
Georgetown had a rough week; they went down to the last possession with Villanova in a Big Monday match-up and then lost by 7 to the Orange at the Carrier Dome. Louisville meanwhile kept on rolling. After beating the Hoyas to take the top spot (in my opinion anyway) the weekend before last, the Cardinals rolled over the Blue Demons and went into the Dunkin Donuts Center to beat the Friars last weekend. Notre Dame dropped their head-to-head with Connecticut Wednesday, so I swapped their positions this week. The Irish did manage to get by Rutgers on Saturday. The Scarlet Knights, despite their 2-12 record, have given a few teams problems this season. Coach Calhoun has shortened his rotation considerably over the past nine games. He has not used more than 10 players in any one game, staying with 8 or 9 players in 6 of those 9 games. He as allocated double digit minutes to no more than 7 players (only in the first two games of the sequence) and has relied on a nucleus of 6 players (Adrien, Austrie, Price, Robinson, Thabeet and Wiggins), allocating double digit minutes to them exclusively in 4 of the past 5 games. As for the two arguably most heralded players in last year's entering class, he has not reinstated Jerome Dyson (suspended along with Doug Wiggins before the Indiana game on January 26), and severely reduced Curtis Kelly's minutes. Kelly has seen no PT in the past three games. It appears to be working as the Huskies are on a 9-0 run through last weekend. I also swapped Pittsburgh and Marquette, largely on the strength of the Warriors' win over the Panthers on Friday night. And the last swap based on head-to-head from last week was Villanova and Seton Hall -- the Pirates dropped two more games last week (to Marquette and then West Virginia on Sunday), extending their losing streak to five games. The pattern of having a dogfight over the last few spots in the BET, established in the first two seasons, appears to be holding this season as well. The bottom seven teams appear to form a cluster, and unless one of the "Top Nine" implodes in their last 4-6 games, it seems likely that the four left out of the BET this season will come from those "Bottom Six" (DePaul, Providence, Rutgers, St. John's, Seton Hall, South Florida and Villanova).

This week's OWs...
After considering two Cardinals (Williams and Padgett), and Fighting Irish guard (Tory Jackson), I decided to go with AJ Price of Connecticut as my POW. Williams & Padgett turned in great performances against DePaul and Providence. Williams scored 34 points on 13-24 shooting (but his 3-9 from beyond the arc continues to be a killer for him), notching an eFG of 60.4 with a PPWS of 1.22. Padgett scored 31 points on 12-15 shooting (eFG of 80.0 and a PPWS of 1.43 -- both eye catching numbers for efficient scoring). Jackson led the Irish to a 1-1 week by scoring 30 points on 12-23 shooting, good for an eFG of 63.0 and a PPWS of 1.24. Jackson also nabbed 17 rebounds, dished 14 assists and tallied 4 steals. AJ turned in two very strong games, the first turning back the Irish, the second an overtime road squeaker against South Florida. Price scored 49 points on 18-37 shooting, good for an eFG of 56.8 and a PPWS of 1.15. He grabbed 5 rebounds and 3 steals as well as passing for 16 assists. Price took 32.3% of the Huskies' FGAs when he was on the floor, clearly he is clearly the mover in the UConn offense. His shooting and leadership, coupled with Doug Wiggins' hot hand, appear to the reason the Huskies did not falter when Dyson was sent packing. The South Florida Bulls managed a win and a very close loss last week, and Dominique Jones was a crucial piece to the offense in both games. Jones turned in a 29 point performance as the Bull upset Syracuse, and then another 16 points in their overtime loss to Connecticut over the weekend. Jones notched a 51.8 eFG and a 1.22 PPWS.

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