Beast of the East

Player of the Week

Angel Delgado, C, Senior, Seton Hall Pirates

Angel DelgadoAngel DelgadoDelgado was a first-team Big East and last season and for right reason, establishing himself as one of college basketball’s top big men. He had carried that over into this season and since the start of Big East Play, he has been one of the best performers in the conference.

On the year, he is averaging 14.4 points per game and a healthy 11.6 rebounds per game, while also shooting 50% from the field. The rebounding number shouldn’t come as a surprise to many, as rebounding has been his strong suit since he came into college. The 11.6 margin puts him second in the Big East, right behind Georgetown’s Jessie Govan. The last two seasons, he has raised his scoring into the double digits as well and helps provide a two-way punch for the Pirates. He is currently riding a 10-game streak of double digit rebounds and has 13 double-doubles in 17 games played.

He makes Player of the Week honors this week for his incredible play in the Pirates four Big East games since conference play began. In those games, he has raised his scoring up to a 17.5 point per game margin and raised his rebounding average just under 13. His best performance so far arguably came in Seton Hall’s tough road victory over Butler last Saturday. In a season high 39 minutes, he scraped up 28 points on 60% and secured 15 rebounds.

It looks like Delgado is primed to excel again this Big East season and as long as he does, Seton Hall will be right there to compete with anyone that challenged them. The Seton Hall/Georgetown matchups on January 13th and February 10th with Delgado going at Govan should be one of the best player matchups this season in the conference.

Who’s Hot

Kyron Cartwright, G, Senior, Providence Friars

Cartwright has had a pretty identical season as his Providence team has had: up and down. He started the year well with multiple games in double figures, then fell in stretch of five consecutive games with single digit scoring. Now, the senior from California has bounced back in conference play and given boosts to the Friars.

On the year, he is averaging just 10.9 points per game, but does have a healthy 6.3 assists per game number. Big East play has been better for him and he is playing his best ball of the season and the right time. In Providence’s four conference games, he is averaging a much better number of 17.8 points per game and up to eight assists per contest. Providence may be just 2-2 in conference thus far, but he has three of the four games with at least 19 points, including a 29-point effort against Marquette at the start of the month. Cartwright has provided a spark to the Friars and he is playing his best basketball in basically the most important time of the year.

Providence Friars

Speaking of Cartwright’s team, Providence gets on the board this week for notching one of college basketball’s top wins this season on Saturday. The sputtering Friars, who came in just 1-2 and having lost two conference games in a row, took on the fifth ranked Xavier Musketeers at home Saturday and stood the test. They battled Xavier hard and came out with a victory, 81-72, behind a huge game from Cartwright, who went for 19 points, nine assists and four steals. It was an invigorating bounce back win for a program who seemed very much on the ropes in the Big East standings and with a serious chance to unravel. Now it’s up to head coach Ed Cooley to keep this momentum they have and carry that with them forward and make a push up the conference standings. Either way, this was a huge upset for Providence against the cream of the crop in the Big East.

Who’s Not

St. John’s Red Storm

Sorry St. John’s, I know over the last couple weeks your name or something associated with the Red Storm has appeared on this list, but it has to happen again for different reasons now.

In more direct, short term reasons, St. John’s got smoked and tossed around AT HOME to a conference winless DePaul team last Saturday, 91-74. One of the more telling stats to take away from the game was the Red Storm were outrebounded by 16 to arguably the worst team in the Big East. The loss firmly supplants St. John’s at the bottom the Big East standings as the only winless team in the conference.

In a more long-term problem, Marcus LoVett, the star guard and side kick to Shamorie Ponds who gives life to the St. John’s backcourt, was ruled out for the season earlier this week. The sophomore guard hasn’t played since November 27th with a left knee injury and will now have to watch from the bench. A huge blow to an already hurting team. There are lot’s of questions head coach Chris Mullin has to find answers for and he may not be able to answer them all.

Wooden Award Watch

Earlier this week, the mid-season Wooden Award Watch List was released that showcases the top 25 candidates in college basketball for the best individual award in basketball. The Big East was tied for first with the ACC with five players recognized on the list. Villanova’s Mikal Bridges and Jalen Brunson, Seton Hall’s Angel Delgado, Creighton’s Marcus Foster and Xavier’s Trevon Bluiett were the Big East’s representatives at the midway point of the season. All five of them in their own ways have been electric for their teams and are completely deserving of the honors. Keep an eye out for those five names as conference play continues and if one or multiple of them separate themselves as even more legitimate candidates.

Top Big East Upsets Thus Far

1. Butler 101, Villanova 93 (12/30)

This upset by Butler was the beginning, or more like culmination, of the total chaos in the Big East. Butler came in at home off some shaky performances in the past couple games, but they hit their stride this game and shot the lights out. Senior forward Kelan Martin went off for 24 points and the Bulldogs shot just under 70% from beyond the arc. This loss by the No. 1 Wildcats showed that there are no immortal teams in the Big East this season.

2. Providence 81, Xavier 72 (1/6)

See above more for this game summary. One big thing about this was it snapped Xavier’s 10-game win streak and, like Villanova’s loss to Butler, showed anyone in the Big East can be beaten on the right day.

3. DePaul 91, St. John’s 74 (1/6)

I’m actually putting this higher on the list even though neither team was ranked because of the long-term importance this game may have had. I explained more details about this game earlier, but before the season this matchup was almost entirely written in my most people as an easy St. John’s win. The Red Storm were on the rise after promise shown last year and DePaul seemed destined for last place again in the conference. Now with DePaul thumping St. John’s on the road, it sends a different message and proves St. John’s could very well be at the bottom of the standings come March.

4. Marquette 84, Seton Hall 64 (1/9)

Seton Hall, ranked No. 13 and the highest in years for the program, suffered their first Big East loss of the season on the road Tuesday to a hot shooting Marquette team. The win for the Golden Eagles reaffirmed to the rest of the conference that when they shoot the ball well and keep their turnovers low (they only had six), they can compete with any Big East team and shoot them out of the gym.

5. Georgetown 69, St. John’s 66 (1/9)

This lands on the list for many of the same reasons the DePaul game did. Georgetown, under first year head coach Patrick Ewing, finished at the bottom of the standings last season with the Blue Demons. Both of those teams have a win against the Red Storm. See the pattern?

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