Continuing with the 5 questions I asked some of my fellow Big East bloggers to respond to, this post will cover the teams that didn't quite meet the bloggers' early season expectations... or coaches'. In truth, there seems to be one team that didn't meet expectations.
I'll ruin the surprise. The almost-universal pick is St. John's as the league's disappointment. The answers were sent and received before St. John's performance at the Holiday Festival, though that probably wouldn't have changed the surprise over the Red Storm losses to Fordham and St. Bonaventure - those are tough L's to live down.
The Red Storm deserve the scorn right now. I will say that a factor in the losses is that the team doesn't have to talent to be sloppy. But the staff has been asking more of the Red Storm, changing the personnel, trying to get a pressure defense installed... and they might have overestimated the team's ability to cover players in a zone defense.
But Steve Lavin is famous for his early season losses for a reason - he's a bit of a tinkerer. He plays with lineups, getting the players who are not in the rotation some run; he tries systems that he won't necessarily use during conference season; he experiments.
We'll see where the team goes from here.
Here is the crew - and this time, we have a rep for each of the 16 teams in the league:
Cincinnati Bearcats Blog (Twitter) | Connecticut The UConn Blog (Twitter) | DePaul Chicago College Basketball (Twitter) | Georgetown Casual Hoya (Twitter) | Hoya Prospectus | Louisville UofL Card Game | Marquette Cracked Sidewalks (Twitter) | Notre Dame Rakes of Mallow (Twitter) | Pittsburgh Cardiac Hill (Twitter) | Providence Friar Basketball (Twitter) | Rutgers On the Banks (Twitter) | Seton Hall South Orange Juice (Twitter) | St. John's The East Coast Bias (Twitter) | South Florida Voodoo Five (Twitter) | Villanova Villanova by the Numbers | VUHoops (Twitter) | The Nova Blog (Twitter) | Syracuse Orange::44 (Twitter) | West Virginia The Smoking Musket (Twitter)
And the question for today:
Who is the most disappointing team in the Big East up to this point?
The individual answers, after the jump>>
St. John's. Those two recent losses are really headscratchers and pretty shocking. I expect they'll improve, however.
St. John's, although I really should have known better. The same team that was mediocre last season probably wasn't going to turn out to be a top-six finisher by adding just Steve Lavin. I'll save my spot on the Red Storm bandwagon until next November.
St. John's, unfortunately. Everyone drank the Kool-Aid and as some blogger put it the other day - why didn't everyone realize that a bunch of juniors who stunk were going to stink as seniors? Lavin needs to recruit well and they could be good in 2 years.
Versus my projection, it has to be St. John’s. Bringing in Steve Lavin was an excellent move that energized the fan-base and raised expectations. St. Mary’s was not a surprise, but the road loss to Fordham and home loss to St. Bonaventure were very surprising.
I feel like I can't pick Seton Hall here. Yes, their season has been disappointing, but let's not forget they only lost one game at full strength, to #22 Temple.
A sexy pick this preseason was how St. John's was going to finish in the top 10 of the conference and even, the top half of the conference. Quite honestly, they haven't looked very impressive. I don't want to hear about a 43-point thrashing of Drake seeing as they've lost to Fordham and St. Bonaventure. They're deserving of this superlative. I'm sorry Pico -- next year is your year.
As a close second, we knew South Florida would be bad, but this bad? Losing to Florida Atlantic and Kent St.? Yikes.
I don’t think anyone expected for South Florida to light the world on fire with Dominique Jones departing, but they’ve been pretty dreadful, with losses to Southern Miss, Florida Atlantic and James Madison. You could obviously always put DePaul here, but it’s fun to pretend they’re not in the conference.
I touched on this earlier, but it has to be St. John's. The inclination may be to just stomach this year and look forward to better times once these recruiting classes start streaming in, but losses to Fordham, the Bonnies, and an OT win over Ball State were all disappointing.
St. John's. I don't know if we were mesmerized by Steve Lavin's hair, but this group of players haven't consistently won in their 4 years, and I don't know why we should have expected them to grab an NCAA bid.
I desperately wanted to say Georgetown for losing to Temple, but sadly St. John’s wins for being the most disappointing. They started the season losing to St. Mary’s, which is not so bad. But then they lose to St. Bonaventure in New York and then lose to Fordham. Looks like the NCAA hopes of St. John’s will have to be delayed another year or two.
Man, I really expected more out of St. John's. D.J. Kennedy's really been a bit of a disappointment and looking at their schedule, I'd have guessed they'd be 7-1 or 8-0 ... not 5-3. They've got that amazing 2011 class coming in, though, so better days are ahead.
It's all more or less going to plan. I guess if you bought in to the third or fourth straight year of St. John's (or Seton Hall) hype, you could be disappointed, but I've long since entered "Show-Me" territory with them, so...
Seriously, I know SJU has a bunch of seniors, and there is sometimes "new coach" lift for a team, but Lavin's never been known as a good game or X' and O's guy. Add in the fact that while they are seniors, they also aren't all that talented (as evidenced by the lack of prior winning). A team full of juniors that goes 6-12 in conference shouldn't magically go to 12-6 based on one year.
Most disappointing team so far to me has been St. John's. I didn't expect a complete revival overnight, but after a couple of decent wins over Ball State and Arizona State, losses to Fordham and St Bonnie's are killers. I expected more from you, Lavin.
St. John's - 5-3 with a veteran team like that is hard to comprehend. It's come from Steve Lavin trying to overhaul the personnel, but those losses to St. Bonaventure and Fordham make me wonder if this is going to be a wasted season for such a veteran team.
St. John’s should have kept the wild one. [ed. note: I thought Bobby Gonzalez was the wild one.]
St. John's. Maybe Rick Pitino sold them too hard in the offseason, but based on the fight they gave Villanova last year and all of the talk regarding Lavin and their seniors. This is not the contender that we were discussing in the offseason.
It has to be St. John's. Given the depth and experience they returned, and the energy injected by the hiring of Steve Lavin, most folks tabbed them to make a jump in the standings this year. Given the 5-3 start, that hasn't been the case. Sure, it's still early, and they have a chance to turn it around, but I always wondered whether Lavin could work a miracle in his first year and now it looks like he's at least a year or two away from really being in the hunt in the Big East.
Finding a disappointment not named DePaul is rough! That said, St. John's has not performed as most expected. A home loss to the Bonnies and a loss to the cross-town Fordham Rams stand out for a veteran team expected to compete at a higher level this year.
St. John’s. Not for the hype, but for the way they couldn’t defeat teams they defeated last year. I think the real disappointments will be noticed in late January; most of the Big East, save St. John’s, South Florida, Seton Hall and DePaul, have looked impressive in the early part of the season.
I have a lot of faith that St. John's will improve. They're being asked to play structured basketball, not just fling themselves around the court like maniacs - that transition takes time.
St. John's is a team that I thought would be better. The Johnnies won the Great Alaska Shootout but have since dropped bunnies to St. Bonaventure and Fordham, but losses that will be crushing to its Tournament resume come March. Lavin clearly has that program on the up and up, but I think they're still a year or two away.