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Big East Media Day 2009 - news and links

The preseason rankings:

1. Villanova
2. West Virginia
3. Connecticut
4. Louisville
5. Georgetown
6. Syracuse
7. Cincinnati
8. Notre Dame
9. Pittsburgh
10. Seton Hall
11. St. John's
12. Marquette
13. Providence
14. South Florida
15. Rutgers
16. DePaul

All-Big East teams and more, below the fold.

FIRST TEAM

Deonta Vaughn, Cincinnati, G, Sr.; Scottie Reynolds, Villanova, G, Sr.; Greg Monroe, Georgetown, C, So.; Lazar Hayward, Marquette, F, Sr.; Da'Sean Butler, W. Virginia, F, Sr.

SECOND TEAM

Jerome Dyson, UConn, G, Sr.; Kemba Walker, UConn, G, So.; Jeremy Hazell, Seton Hall, G, Jr.; Dominique Jones, S. Florida, G, Jr.; Samardo Samuels, Louisville, F, So.; Devin Ebanks, W. Virginia, F, So.

(tie in voting created 6 positions)

HONORABLE MENTION

Stanley Robinson, UConn., F, Sr.; Arinze Onuaku, Syracuse, C, Sr.

Nationally, most of the articles seemed to focus on a changing of the guard theme, where Louisville and Connecticut were looking up at Villanova and West Virginia, a pair of squads that haven't always been at the top of the league (though Jay Wright's built a top-level team for the past 4 years now). You can read articles from the Big East's official site, from Newsday, and more. Some relevant copy for the Red Storm below; Malik Boothe, DJ Kennedy, and Paris Horne attended the media sessions with Coach Norm Roberts.

Asbury Park Press: New Jersey teams want to outperform poll

"We've seen patience at Seton Hall, Rutgers and St. John's. People need to realize how tough this job is."

— Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun on stability among the league's coaches.

Louisville Courier-Journal: Big east shapes up as battle royal

"Now I think the top teams like us, Syracuse, Pittsburgh come to the middle," said UofL coach Rick Pitino, whose Cardinals were picked fourth. "And the bottom teams like St. John's, Cincinnati and South Florida are going to come to the middle, and we're all going to meet somewhere in the middle and compete."

[And from Cincinnati's Mick Cronin:]

Cronin said the rise of the meek will skew the lines of the elite. He said he doubts there will be much difference between the fifth-place and 10th-place teams.

ESPN/ Andy Katz: Red Storm not too concerned about latest injury (to Anthony Mason Jr.)

"We have more depth, more guys who are versatile and tough and who can score on this year's team," junior guard Malik Boothe said. "That's why this year's team can make a push to get to the Big Dance this year."

Roberts said Mason likely will be out for six weeks (if not longer) and doesn't expect him to play against Duke in Durham, N.C., on Dec. 5 or against Georgia in the SEC-Big East Invitational at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 9.

"I don't think it's a big deal," Kennedy said. "He tweaked his hamstring. It's a setback for him since he was still recovering from his ankle. But it's not as big a deal as people are making it seem."

My comments:

  • Having Calhoun or Pitino talk about how tough the job is... absolutely nothing. The New York teams have to get back into the thick of things and compete. I believe Seton Hall will competer this year. Everyone else? Not so sure.
  • The comments about Mason's injury are curious. So he might be out more than 6 weeks... with a hamstring re-injury? And DJ doesn't think it's a big deal, but that sounds like a serious problem to me.