Big East Blog

Players of the Week

Ben HansbroughBen HansbroughBen Hansbrough and Tim Abromaitis

I haven’t seen a more badass tandem of white guys representing the Irish since The Boondock Saints. The duo combined for 60 points on 16 three pointers in a 21 point beat-down on Villanova- one of those beatings where you can’t even recognize the victim. The Wildcats had no answer for Hansbrough and Abromaitis, who were shooting over defenders as if they were manikins in Baby Gap. Hansbrough finished with 30 points, 10 assists and 5 steals on an evening where his family, including Tyler, watched from the stands on a memorable Senior Night in South Bend. Both players averaged about 26 points per game on the week, and helped the Irish earn their fifth win over a top 25 team.

Feelin’ It

Dwight Hardy, G, St Johns

Hardy had a big 34 points in a double-digit win over Villanova, scoring mostly from the free throw line and behind the arch. As a 6’2 shooting guard, Hardy’s chances of success at the next level are slim, but he's still managed to pull off one hell of a senior year. Hardy will join Hansbrough, Kemba Walker and Marshon Brooks as possible candidates for conference player of the year.

Jimmy Butler, G, Marquette

Butler looked good in a loss to Cincy the other night, goin off for 30 points on 15-17 from the line. Jimmy never took that leap this season, but still remains Marquette’s most consistent producer.

Coolin’ Off

Corey Fisher, G, Villanova

Even the sloppy, slightly buzzed accountant they pull down from the stands to shoot for a paid vacation to Aruba makes 1 out of 16 three point attempts. Fisher managed to go 0-8 from downtown on back to back nights, and now has hit just 3 of his last 24 shots from three. The result? Three consecutive losses for free falling Wildcats.

Brandon Triche, G, Syracuse

Triche's back to back 20 points games were as deceiving as the blonde haired, blue eyed 34D chested girl you meet on the Internet. You really thought he was taking a step forward after those two strong performances. Since then, Triche has made just 8 of his last 36 shots (22%) from the floor, including 4 for his last 17 three point attempts.

Top five players that need to step up in March

1. Corey Fisher

Fisher needs to figure out a way to stay more consistent. You just can’t go 0-8 from downtown during the NCAA tournament, especially with the lack of production the Wildcat’s get from their front court. Whether it’s taking better shots, not settling for jumpers or focusing on distributing the ball, Villanova just can’t afford Fisher to be in a funk come tournament time.

2. Alex Oriakhi

Oriakhi’s like that friend that we all have- the guy who has potential for “the man” status, but is held back by shady disappearances and too many deaded phone calls. Sometimes Oriakhi dominates in the paint. Sometimes he dips out early and shuts his phone off. In the last two games, Oriakhi has scored three and four points respectively, while blocking only one shot. If Coach Calhoun can ignite the killer instinct inside of AO, the Huskies will be a lot tougher team to compete with.

3. Kris Joseph, SF, Syracuse

When I watch Syracuse, I feel like a dad at his son’s little league game. “Get in the game, Joseph!!”, a commonly used phrase I scream while I witness the most talented player in Orange take five shots in 35 minutes. Syracuse just doesn’t have enough offensive weapons where they can afford for Joseph to take a night off. He’s got to be more aggressive for the Orange to have a shot, whether it’s as a slasher or as a shooter. His energy is the fuel that powers the Orange machine, and as cheesy as that sounds, Syracuse is toast without a productive Kris Joseph.

4. Austin Freeman, G, Gerogetown

With Hoyas point guard Chris Wright out until the start of NCAA tournament play, Austin Freeman will need to be extra aggressive. Without Wright, the Hoyas lack a true playmaker and will need to rely on added offensive production from their leading scorer. Wright is expected back for the first game of the NCAA tournament, but there's no way he'll be able to jump right in without shaking off a little rust first. Look for Freeman's shot attempts to rise as we come closer to the "win or go home" stretch of the schedule.

5. Preston Knowles, G, Louisville

In five of Louisville's seven losses, Knowles has shot 5-14, 1-8, 3-14, 5-17 and 4-10. When he shoots poorly, Louisville really struggles on the offensive side of the ball. He's the most important kid out there for the Cardinals, who enters the postseason as the lone senior in Pitino's rotation. The closest thing to a go-to scorer on the roster, Knowles efficiency on offense will be a key contributing factor when determining the success of the Louisville Cardinals.

Weekly Thoughts

- I personally wouldn’t mind watching a Steve Lavin vs. Mike Brey Celebrity Deathmatch, winner takes home National Coach of the Year. Who ya got?

- Nova' is really slipping. Without a strong showing in the Big East tournament, the Wildcats could find themselves seeded closer to 7 or 8 rather than the 3 or 4 they were on pace for a few weeks ago.

- West Virginia switched to the 2-3 zone in the second half against Connecticut the other night, and as a result the Huskies missed ten straight shots and caved down the stretch. It's amazing to think that more teams don't zone up against Kemba Walker, who will probably have a tougher time scoring one on five than he will one on one.

durantula83's picture
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Hansbrough is the most underrated player in college.

Whoever drafts him, probably somewhere in the 20's, will have an enormous steal on their hands. Uncanny feel for the game, always finds a way to score and spots weaknesses in a defense in a heartbeat. This guy is an NBA player.

If Dwight Hardy continues to play at this level I'd definitely take him in the 2nd round, if not sooner. So what if he's undersized, if you can score and play defense like that then you should deserve a chance in training camp.

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im with you hardy has been

im with you hardy has been playing very well.

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