Posted by Jay Jacobs on Monday, March 1, 2010
With one week left in the regular season, I have decided to hand out my yearly Jacobs Awards for the best in the Big East Conference.
My five best players in the conference this year are Villanova’s Scottie Reynolds, Syracuse’s Wes Johnson, USF’s Dominique Jones, West Virginia’s Da’Sean Butler and Marquette’s Lazar Hayward.
Reynolds is fifth in conference play in scoring (20.3), fifth in steals (1.63) seventh in free throw shooting (84.3) and 14th in field goal percentage (51.5). Johnson is third in rebounding (9.3), sixth in steals (1.56), 19th in scoring (14.8), 11th in free throw percentage (81.1)
Jones is second in scoring (23.6) and 15th in free throw percentage (78.0); Butler is ninth in assist/turnover ratio (2.04), 10th in scoring (17.2) and fifth in minutes played (37.6) while Hayward is fourth in free throw shooting (86.4), eighth in scoring (18.2) and 12th in 3-point shooting (39.2).
Luke Harangody’s 24 points and 10 rebounds per game in conference action would normally make the top five, but I did not include him because he didn’t finish the year. He got hurt at Seton Hall on Feb. 11 and has not played since, and now it looks like his season may be in jeopardy.
I also like Georgetown’s Greg Monroe (15.6 ppg., 9.0 rpg.) a lot and if you extended the list to 10, I would add Monroe, Seton Hall’s Jeremy Hazell (22.1 ppg.), Syracuse’s Andy Rautins (13.6 ppg.), Connecticut’s Jerome Dyson (17.0 ppg.) and Providence’s Jamine Peterson (20.4 ppg.).
Best Skills List in the Big East:
Best Scorer: Dominique Jones (USF)
Best Rebounder: Herb Pope (Seton Hall)
Best Shooter: Andy Rautins (Syracuse)
Best Playmaker: Tory Jackson (Notre Dame)
Best Shot Blocker: Hamdy Ndiaye (Rutgers)
Big East Major Award Winners:
Player of the Year: Scottie Reynolds (Villanova)
Rookie of the Year: Dane Miller (Rutgers)
Most Improved Player: Jamine Peterson (Providence)
Coach of the Year: Jamie Dixon (Pitt)
Best Game Nobody Saw: USF 109, Providence 105 (OT) Jan. 23, 2010
Postseason Surprise Team:
Right now Marquette is on a nice roll and the Golden Eagles could continue that with a win at home against Louisville Tuesday night and a win against Notre Dame to finish the regular season. Buzz Williams has done a great job down the stretch, his team winning three straight overtime games on the road at Cincinnati, St. John’s and Seton Hall.
Marquette has won eight of its last nine games (five of those are on the road). The Golden Eagles lost three close games early to West Virginia and Villanova and they had a good schedule coming down the stretch and he really took advantage of it.
I think Williams has got them playing really well right now and Marquette could be a surprise team that could have a real good run in the postseason.
On the flip side, I think Pitt is a team that has had a really good season that could struggle in postseason play. Although the Panthers play hard and play together, they don’t have that consistent, reliable scorer that you need to survive and advance in the tournament. Great coaching can only take you so far.