Oracle insight: Big East basketball, part two
Published: Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, February 7, 2012 22:02
With the Big East season advancing past the midway point, The Oracle checks in on the progress of all 16 of the conference's teams in a two-part series.
Providence (13-12, 2-10)
Best game: 90-59 win
Worst game: 79-62 loss
vs. Northern Iowa
The Friars and first-year head coach Ed Cooley had a big task in replacing leading scorer Marshon Brooks. Freshman wing LaDontae Henton has proven himself capable of handling the scoring, but Providence hasn't proven its ability to win in the league, though the 31-point demolition of Louisville was a great moment. The Friars' neutral floor loss to the Missouri Valley Conference's Northern Iowa shows the rebuilding process still has a long way to go.
Rutgers (12-12, 4-7)
Best game: 85-83 2OT win
vs. No. 7 Florida
Worst game: 76-70 loss
vs. Illinois State
Rutgers has one of the best freshman guards in the league in Eli Carter, who put the Scarlet Knights in the national spotlight after their double overtime home win over Florida. Rutgers is still looking for consistency with both impressive conference wins over UConn, Notre Dame and Cincinnati and bad losses to DePaul, Providence, Illinois State and Princeton on its record.
St. John's (10-13, 4-7)
Best game: 57-55 win
Worst game: 78-64 loss
St. John's made the NCAA Tournament last season after a lengthy absence, but has struggled this year without head coach Steve Lavin, who has been away from the sidelines while recovering from prostate cancer surgery. Lavin's absence and a large group of freshmen have combined for bad losses to Northeastern and Detroit. The Red Storm hasn't fared well in the Big East either, though it did beat Cincinnati on the road and West Virginia at home.
Seton Hall (15-8, 4-7)
Best game: 75-63 win
Worst game: 80-73 loss
The Pirates entered Big East play with an 11-1 record after beating up on an unimpressive non-conference schedule, with only a loss to Northwestern, currently 10th in the Big Ten. The Pirates then opened league play 4-1 and earned their first national ranking since 2001, landing at No. 24 before a loss to USF knocked them out of the rankings. Seton Hall is on a six-game losing streak since then and its hopes for a rare postseason berth are fading quickly.