Sunday, September 06, 2009

Big East Roundtable Questions

Pico Dulce does his usual good work with hosting a Big East round table discussion.


1. What's new with your team since the end of last season?

1. A lot. Harangody is back, a surprise to few, but the four seniors need to be replaced. At shooting guard enters Ben Hansbrough, a transfer from Mississippi State who made a name for himself in 2008 in a losing effort to Memphis in the second round of the NCAAs. Highly recruited Purdue transfer Scott Martin will start at small forward. Both guys have big upside but are big question marks. Sparingly-used junior Ty Nash will most likely be the other new starter, playing next to Harangody in the post.

2. Cash or Clunker: Name the teams that you think will be the top 3 squads next season in the Big East (the Cash)... and the bottom 3 (Clunkers). Bonus: which team's finish in the league is most difficult to predict?

2. Cash- Everyone has question marks, but I think UCONN stay near the top this year. 'Nova could really break through with Jay Wright's first team that can contend for the league title. After that, maybe West Virginia or somebody else, but I think there's a big drop from the top two.

Clunkers- Rutgers/South Florida/DePaul. You pick the order. That's all the time I'll devote to that.

Unpredictable- I'll put the Irish here. This program just never finishes where they are expected. With such low expectations, we could make a run for the top 4 if everything falls in place. Of course, a complete disaster (10-12 in the league) is very well within the range of possibility.

3. The Big East enters the season without a lot of players who have carryover buzz from last season - Luke Harangody and perhaps Scottie Reynolds are the names a casual fan might be most familiar with. Which players will step up and be the “face of the league”?

3. Again, I'll pick the easiest choice for an ND blogger and say Harangody will be the face of the league. He's already well-known enough around the country and has to carry this team if the Irish want to get back to the top four. If things fall in place, it's going to say big things about his leadership.

4. Before practice starts, who would you say is the most pivotal player on your team? Who is your candidate for breakout player in the Big East (and please state how the player will be better than last year)?

4. Again, Harangody is the most pivotal player for the Irish, but Scott Martin could be a breakout star. The Irish need a small forward who can contribute on both ends to be competitive. We didn't get that last year with Ayers and Hillesland, but Martin has all the talent to be a household name. No one really knows how he will perform in a starting role, but I'm hopeful.

5. Twitter has become influential in broadcasting basketball/ sports information. What's your opinion of the service? Have you adopted Twitter for your blog? What have been the plusses and minuses?

5. Twitter is decent for sports reporting, but I've had such an aversion to it due to its usage as a tool for reporting every aspect of one's rather uninteresting life. I don't have an account and likely never will.

6. What have you been doing with your time without basketball games?

6. Fall at ND is football season. Needless to say, it's a bit difficult to think about a winter sport with such nice weather in South Bend and a team on the gridiron that isn't completely disappointing.

7. The summer is slow; so when Pitino's "mistake" is made public, or when Calipari's former team is penalized, or when someone posits a way for the Big East Conference to pick up new football members, the story tends to stick around a little longer than it would during the season. What college basketball story are you tired of this offseason?

7. Pitino. He sure seems like a scumbag now, but I really don't need to know the details of his bad decisions. The woman involved is certainly no victim either, but Pitino has further to fall. I'm ready for this to go away.