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Big East blogger roundtable: Surprise teams, disappointing teams

The Wildcats fell short of expectations.
The Wildcats fell short of expectations.

Player of the year | Newcomer of the year | Coach of the year | Surprise teams | Surprise players

Let's get ready for the Big East Tournament with a few more Roundtable responses! For what you might have missed, click on the links above for roundtable discussions on those topics; and if you missed the preview by our writer Ricky, go back and read the Big East Tournament preview.

But let's talk about surprises - first surprise teams and disappointing teams (VILLANOVA), and then surprise players for each team, coming in half an hour. I appreciate Casual Hoya's use of the phrase "white devils" and Dave (Johnny Jungle) calling a certain team "softer than Georgetown, which is hard to do."

Our panel:

Cincinnati - Scott, Bearcats Blog (@BearcatsBlog - twitter, Facebook page) | Cincinnati - Matt, Down the Drive (@DownTheDrive - twitter, Facebook page) | DePaul - John, Chicago College Basketball (@ChiColBball - twitter) | DePaul - Jon, Blue Demons Lair (@BlueDemonsLair - twitter, Facebook page) | Georgetown - Andrew, Casual Hoya (@Casual Hoya - twitter, Facebook page) | Marquette - Cracked Sidewalks (@CrackedSidewlks - twitter, Facebook page) | Marquette - Anonymous Eagle (@AnonymousEagle - twitter, Facebook page) | Pittsburgh - Chas, Pitt Blather (@ChasRich - twitter) | Pittsburgh - Anson, Cardiac Hill (@PittPantherBlog - twitter) | Providence - Kevin, Friar Basketball (@FriarBasketball - twitter, Facebook page) | Rutgers - Dave, On the Banks (@OnTheBanks - twitter, Facebook page) | Seton Hall - JP, South Orange Juice (@SOrangeJuice - twitter, Facebook page) | South Florida - Ken, Voodoo Five (@SBNVoodooFive - twitter, Facebook page) | St. John's - Dave, Johnny Jungle (@JohnnyJungleSTJ - twitter, Facebook page) | St. John's - Pico, Rumble in the Garden (@RumbleSBN, Facebook page) | Syracuse - Brian, Orange 44, (@BH_Orange - twitter) | Villanova - Brian, VU Hoops (@VUHoops - twitter, Facebook page) | Villanova - Chris, The Nova Blog (@SBNTheNovaBlog - twitter, Facebook page) | Villanova - Joe, Villanova By the Numbers | West Virginia - Wesley, The Smoking Musket (@CountryRoadsWV - twitter, Facebook page)

Our answers, below the fold:

Surprise Team
St. John's
Notre Dame
Disappointing Team
Seton Hall
South Florida

By voter:

Blog Surprise! Disappointment
Villanova by the Numbers Louisville Villanova
Pitt Blather Louisville Villanova
VU Hoops Louisville Villanova
Johnny Jungle Louisville Villanova
Bearcats Blog Louisville Villanova
South Orange Juice Louisville Villanova
Casual Hoya Notre Dame Villanova
Cracked Sidewalks Notre Dame South Florida
Down the Drive Notre Dame Syracuse
The Nova Blog Notre Dame Villanova
The Smoking Musket Notre Dame Providence
Cardiac Hill St. John's Seton Hall
Blue Demons Lair St. John's Villanova
Anonymous Eagle St. John's Villanova
Chicago College Basketball St. John's Villanova
Orange:44 St. John's Villanova
Voodoo Five St. John's Villanova
On the Banks St. John's Seton Hall
Rumble in the Garden St. John's Seton Hall
Friar Basketball Providence

The comments:

Anonymous Eagle: In a conference where half the teams are going to finish with 7, 8, or 9 losses in conference, it's tough to call anyone disappointing. Still, we'll give the nod to Villanova for stumbling to a .500 finish in conference after being picked to finish in the top 3 or 4.

Tough choice on the surprising team, too, because Notre Dame and Louisville have been tremendous. But we'll go with St. John's -- yeah, we expected them to be better, but we didn't think they'd tear off seven conference wins in a row and deliver a vicious seal clubbing to Dook at MSG, especially after the Johnnies lost to forking Fordham.

Villanova By the Numbers: Surprising -- a tie between Louisville and St. John's. I thought St. John's would be better than the Norm Roberts' teams, but I believed they would be a 10-8 or so team. Louisville, even if the July roster had shown up and played this season, was a consensus middle of the conference pick in October... another 10-8/9-9 team.

Down the Drive: This is all relative because the league is shaking out like most people thought it would with Pitt on top with a slight separation from the rest of the pack. I thought that Syracuse would mount a legitimate challenge to Pitt this year and they really haven't come close so I guess they would get the nod from me.

The most surprising team has to be Notre Dame. I don't think that even the most strident of Irish fans expected this team to be as good as it has been this season.

South Orange Juice: Disappointing team: Villanova by a landslide. Picked to finish 2nd, Corey Fisher never quite made that transition to greatness, and when his team needed him to make shots, he went cold.

Surprising team: Louisville. See [yesterday’s answer].

Casual Hoya: Most surprising has to be Notre Dame - how long can one program continue to get all the white devils that Duke passes over.

As for disappointing, there's such a huge logjam in the middle of the conference that no one really stands out. I suppose Nova should have been better than they are

Cardiac Hill: With Jeremy Hazell, Herb Pope, and Jeff Robinson, three players that have/had NBA aspirations, I'll go with Seton Hall. They actually don't have a ton of bad losses, but I expected more.

Most surprising for me is Cincinnati or St. John's. I'll go with St. John's because they have a better resume.

Johnny Jungle: Most disappointing team in the Big East this season is Villanova. They have plenty of returning players but none seem to have matured into the roles of their predecessors. I thought Fisher was going to be more of a dominant scorer but he and Wayns are too similar. Dominic Cheek is about to be deemed a bust as an All-American and Stokes plays absolutely no defense. This team is softer than Georgetown which is hard to do. The most surprising team can really range to a number of teams.

Three teams that stand out are St. John's, Louisville, and Notre Dame. I think everyone thought St. John's and Notre Dame would do well but no as well as they have done this season. Louisville was expected to have somewhat of a down year and they've been brilliant. Each team has maximized their talents.

Voodoo Five: St. Johns has to be the most surprising. Didn't expect that even with the hype coming in at the beginning of the year.

Villanova is the most disappointing with the way they fell apart at the end of the year.

VU Hoops: Most surprising: Louisville. I think a lot of people will say St. John's, but at least a few people expected St. John's to make some big strides this season. Meanwhile, Louisville was almost universally expected to be mediocre.

Most disappointing: Villanova. By far. Picked to finish second in the preseason and now the 'Cats are going to be rushing to New York to start Big East Tournament play on Tuesday.

Bearcats Blog: The most disappointing team would be Villanova. On January 20, they had an 8% chance to win the league, which was second best according to Ken Pom. They self destructed down the stretch and finished 10th. They were 4-0, and finished 5-9. Now, Corey Stokes is 50/50 for the BET with an injury. Just, wow.

The most surprising has got to be Louisville. Notre Dame was outstanding, but there were a lot of people who thought Louisville would not be a tournament team. Instead, Rick Pitino did one of his best coaching jobs with a slew of injuries, and the Cards have a double bye.

Chicago College Basketball: Most Disappointing: Villanova - The Wildcats have great talent, but it seems like a lack of leadership has really cost them this season.

Most Surprising: St. John's - Everyone knew that Steve Lavin had an experienced team coming back, but I don't think anyone thought he'd be able to get everyone to buy into his system and turn in a season like this. 12-6 in the Big East is way better than I expected.

Orange:44: Most surprising is St. Johns, honorable mention to Notre Dame.

Friar Basketball: Disappointing: Providence. Losing on a night when a kid scores 52 points pretty much sums up PC's season.

Pitt Blather: I think Villanova has fallen so far below expectations at this point. I would consider Providence. For some reason, I expected a bit more from them. They competed, but rarely did more than that.

Most surprising goes to Louisville. They have been like Pitt last year. Just overachieving and at times gutting out wins.

The Smoking Musket: Based on my mid-season predictions, I'd have to say Notre Dame is the most surprising, with honorable mention to Louisville and a nod to St. Johns, who I thought would turn things around but took a little longer than I thought.

Most disappointing... I'm gonna go with Providence. I like Keno Davis as a coach, and they had a decent year last season. I didn't see the regression coming. I still think Davis will succeed there, but it might be a more difficult job than I thought, with Rutgers, DePaul and Seton Hall all making coaching changes and becoming more competitive as well. Even the teams in our league that should suck... don't suck.

Rumble in the Garden: The most disappointing team has to be Seton Hall. Their defense has been great, the coaching hasn't been bad, but those guys just can't make shots in the flow of the offense.

Most surprising - St. John's. I think people underrate Rick Pitino's coaching, talent evaluation, and system. But St. John's showed almost nothing before this year that would make someone believe that they could tie for 3rd place in the Big East in the regular season.