Thursday, December 21, 2006

Some Big East notes

With the Big East schedule beginning next week, the conference has begun throwing out some interesting tidbits. Here are a few.

From the Big East

No Losing Records
No team has a losing record. Only five conferences can make that claim. Connecticut (9-0) is one of only five undefeated teams in the nation.
(Note: Rutgers is 5-5 with an RPI of 227)

Early Surprises?
Notre Dame was picked 11th in the Big East coaches’ preseason poll, and are 9-1 and ranked 20th in this week’s Associated Press poll. Also, West Virginia is 8-1. The Mountaineers lead the nation in scoring defense, yielding just 49.4 points per game.

Four teams – Cincinnati, Connecticut, St. John’s and Seton Hall – have a newcomer as their leading scorer. Here are the new faces who have cracked the starting lineup and average at least 10 points per game:

John Williamson, Cincinnati , Jr., F
Leads UC with a 16.1 scoring mark and is fifth in the Big East at 8.9 rebounds.
Deonta Vaughn, Cincinnati , Fr., F
Averaging 15.4 points and a team-leading 4.0 assists.
A.J. Price, Connecticut, So., G
In his first collegiate season, he is tied for the team scoring lead with a 13.7 average and is dealing 5.4 assists.
Jerome Dyson, Connecticut, Fr., G
The reigning Big East Rookie of the Week, he is tied with Price for the team scoring lead.
Edgar Sosa, Louisville , Fr., G
Is averaging 11.5 points, while shooting 47.4 percent from 3-point range.
Mike Cook, Pittsburgh, Jr., F
The only new Panther starter, this transfer is second in scoring with an 11.8 average.
Avery Patterson, St. John’s, Jr., G
A top-flite shooter with a team-best 14.6 scoring mark, he is first in the Big East with 3.4 3-pointers per game and has not missed a free throw all season.
Eugene Harvey, Seton Hall, Fr., G
Already a two-time Big East Rookie of the Week pick, he is the Pirates’ top scorer at 15.7.
Solomon Bozeman, USF, Fr., G
While directing the Bulls’ offense, he is averaging 14.2 points and 4.2 assists.
Kentrell Gransberry, USF, Jr., F
A transfer who just became eligible, he is already averaging 13.0 points and 12.7 boards.
Jesus Verdejo, USF, So., F
Like Gransberry, he just became eligible and has averaged 14.7 points while shooting 46.2 percent from 3-point range.

Other notes ...

A great tool for number-happy people out there. The Mid-Majority has another link to break down records and history against opponents, regular season and NCAA Tournament history. It's info you'll find in most media guides but accessible through this site.
Here's an example with UConn.

Reminder: Pretty good television doubleheader tonight.

Pitt and Oklahoma State

Duke and Gonzaga at MSG.

Monday, December 18, 2006

News and notes

Some quick news before taking a look at some notes from last night's UConn victory over Saint Mary's that only made the print editions of the Register.

The news ...

Huskies' freshman Jerome Dyson earned rookie of the week honors from the Big East on Monday. Read more about the conference awards.

And a look at this week's polls.

Now some notes.


By Brett Orzechowski
Register Staff

HARTFORD – For the first six games, Jim Calhoun thought about red-shirting Jonathan Mandeldove, but now the freshman center has proven to be a suitable addition to a still-evolving frontcourt situation.
Mandeldove was the first player off the bench for the University of Connecticut on Sunday against Saint Mary’s (Calif.), substituting in for Hasheem Thabeet at the 18:26 mark of the first half. He played 13 minutes as did Gavin Edwards, the most of all frontcourt freshmen reserves.
But it’s what Mandeldove did in those 13 minutes that made the Huskies’ coach reassess his decision once again. To even consider sitting the center for the season would have been a mistake, Calhoun said, and would have take away a physical player that is needed for Big East competition.
He finished with four blocks and two rebounds, but more importantly, proved to be a defensive presence.
With just two non-conference games remaining, the frontcourt rotation has not been settled. Within the first six minutes of the game, Calhoun used 10 players.
Some of the players on the short end of minutes: Stanley Robinson (12, but only three in the first half) and Curtis Kelly (10). Also, even though Craig Austrie was the first guard off the bench, Doug Wiggins was more productive (eight points in 16 minutes).


The trip to Hartford was the second cross-country trek for Saint Mary’s this season.
After losing to Seton Hall on Dec. 2 in overtime, the Gaels returned home to California before losing to No. 21 Nevada. Then there was the return east after exams.
But this was different.
The loss to UConn on Sunday will be followed by Tuesday’s trip to Philadelphia to play St. Joseph’s. Gaels head coach Randy Bennett was asked if his team could salvage anything from this last trip. Aside from a few wins, he said very little.
Calhoun said he believes St. Mary’s will finish well in the West Coast Conference against teams like Gonzaga and Loyola-Marymount. Even in the WCC preseason conference coaches’ poll, the Gaels received one first-place vote but ended up fourth overall.
By posting 47 second-half points against UConn, between a quality inside presence like freshman center Omar Samhan and guard Tron Smith, St. Mary’s may play spoiler some time in March.


- Dyson, who turned his left ankle during practice this week, showed very few ill-effects of the minor injury.

- The announced attendance of 14,308 was nowhere near the actual attendance. Most of the upper levels of the Hartford Civic Center remained empty.

- The seven 3-point attempts were the fewest by UConn this season. The Huskies shot nine against Albany.

- Forward Jeff Adrien led UConn in rebounds for the ninth straight time this season.

Brett Orzechowski may be reached at