East Coast Bias is hosting a roundtable discussion for Big East basketball blogs. My answers to their questions:
1. Who is on your all-conference team (if the all-conference team stopped at 5)? Who is your player of the year; coach of the year; freshman of the year?
Luke Harangody- Notre Dame
Jerel McNeal- Marquette
DeJuan Blair- Pittsburgh
Hasheem Thabeet- Connecticut
Jeremy Hazell- Seton Hall
Player of the Year- Blair- Easily outplayed Thabeet head to head. Not the top scorer on the team, but changes games with his rebounding ability.
Coach of the Year- Jamie Dixon- Pittsburgh- Has team in position for share of Big East title after being picked third. Calhoun and Pitino are also good picks since no one has really surprised this season.
Freshman of the Year- Greg Monroe- Georgetown- Not the best stats, but very efficient and clearly the most talented.
2. How did your team do, in 100 words or less - surprises, disappointments, etc.
Very disappointing season. The Irish went from a top ten squad (probably overrated at the time) to out of the Tournament. A very experienced squad looked uncomfortable most of the time and could not score at the same level once Kyle McAlarney was discovered by opponents. Defense has been very poor all year.
3. Pick one "most overrated: most overrated player, team, coach, venue, or anything else you can think of (be creative).
Hasheem Thabeet hands down. He is a fantastic defensive player, but has received a ridiculous amount of hype for Player of the Year all season. He uses the fifth most possessions on the team (behind injured Jerome Dyson and substitute Kemba Walker), indicating he is a very small factor on offense for the team. Irish fans, think Luke Zeller, our #5 possession-user. Seriously, that's the kind of non-factor Thabeet is on offense.
4. Will a Big East team win it all? How many will get to the Sweet Sixteen (obviously, brackets and seeding will play a part)?
Yes, Connecticut, Pittsburgh, and Louisville could take it all the way. My money's on UCONN. I think we'll only see four teams in the Sweet Sixteen, with those three and Villanova/Marquette.
5. Good or bad, who was the most surprising team in the league?
The Irish were picked 4th. They'll finish 10th. No one else had that big a disparity from preseason to final standings.
6. Favorite and least favorite teams, aesthetically, to watch in the Big East.
I love watching Louisville. I'm used to seeing good offense with the Irish so some good D is fun to watch. Full court press is a fantastic weapon when used correctly. Guys like Andre McGee and Preston Knowles are defensive stoppers off the bench.
Georgetown's Princeton-style offense is frustrating for opponents when it works. Since John Thompson has been unable to teach his team how to play this year, it has been brutal for friend and foe alike. Six games with less than 60 points? 3-10 in their past 13? Losing to St. John's? Ugly.