Re: UMass Basketball
posted at 12/17/2013 5:57 AM EST
In response to undking's comment:
Big East might be deepest conference in nation.
Who are the big dogs this season? Check out all the conference races.
As we head into the beginning of conference play in the newly reconstituted Big East Conference in two weeks, how do the teams stack up
First, some context: Is the new Big East as good overall as the old Big East? Of course not. You lose national powers like Syracuse, Louisville, UConn, Pitt and Notre Dame, and there’s no way you’ll measure up to what you were, at least not right off the bat.
But I have a theory about the new Big East. No, it doesn’t have a single dominant team that will be a guaranteed top-10 mainstay in the national polls throughout conference play (though you’d be silly to think Villanova doesn’t have a shot). But I think the Big East is the deepest conference in the nation, and it would surprise me if fewer than six of the 10 Big East teams are playing in the NCAA tournament.
I can feel the heads spinning along the eastern seaboard, where the Atlantic Coast Conference entered this season billing itself as perhaps the best basketball conference ever. So just one stat to make the heads of Tobacco Road and environs spin a bit faster: The Big East is third in conference RPI. The ACC is fifth. (RPI is an obviously imperfect metric. But still.)
Tops in conference RPI is the Big 12, and while I think the upper echelon of the Big 12 is the toughest in the nation, the lower reaches of the conference reach pretty low (looking at you, Texas Tech, TCU and Kansas State). I will not argue with anyone saying the Big Ten is the nation’s deepest conference, but I will point out that the bottom of the Big Ten still has a long way to go.
So there’s our context. And it all leads to a very academic-sounding, on-this-hand-but-then-on-the-other-hand answer to how I see the Big East stacking up so far. Judging the top of this conference is easy so far (undefeated, top-10 ranked Villanova wears the early crown), but after that? It’s all very much in flux.
And it will all change. As one Big East assistant coach told me, “There are a bunch of teams who will be better in league play because their players will understand their roles.”
Interesting article. Here's the link to the entire article if anyone is interested in the Big East:
What I found interesting was the Providence portion of the article. They play UMass on the 28th one of the 3 difficult games coming up for UMass.
"3. Providence (8-2): I had expected the season-ending injury to point guard Kris Dunn to impact Providence’s chances in league play, but coaches I spoke with thought differently.
“It will definitely hurt, but I see them as being one of the better teams in the league,” one coach told me. “They have good senior play, and when Brandon Austin returns from suspension they will be really good,” said another. “Ed Cooley does a great job.”
While the Friars don’t have a signature win in non-conference play, they’ll have a chance to get one against UMass in their final non-conference game before league play begins. Senior Bryce Cotton, averaging 18.6 points and five assists, is one of seven upperclassmen on Cooley’s team. That experience might be why one coach told me he saw Providence as a team where players are seeming to accept what their roles are very early in the season. That matters. Just ask struggling freshman-dominated teams like Kansas and Kentucky."