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Big East Basketball 2009


TONY'S TAKE
By for WVUsports.com
January 20, 2009 11:52 PM

Post by Tony Caridi on Tuesday, January 20, 2009
(7:05 pm)

It’s starting to hit home. I’m talking about the brutal nature of the Big East Conference basketball schedule.

Did you know the Mountaineers won’t play an unranked conference opponent on the road until February 22nd at Rutgers? That’s more than a month from now. Beginning with its Big East road opener at Seton Hall on January 3rd, the Mountaineers’ league road schedule is a head-scratching combination of trips to Marquette, Georgetown, Louisville, Syracuse, and Pitt.

Thank you very much, may I have another?

There is no time for self pity or sympathy, because there’s just no one who’s going to feel sorry for you. Just how tough and respected is this league? Consider the fact that Georgetown has lost three of its last five games and is currently ranked 12th, and don’t forget that Notre Dame is rated 19th with five losses.

Forget about the old adage that teams are going to beat each other up. In the Big East, teams punish other teams physically and mentally. Sometimes they even bring their older brother on the floor to help. It’s rough man.

Thursday’s date with Georgetown will be the only regular season encounter for the Mountaineers. The teams played twice last season - a controversial non-goaltending call in Morgantown and then later in the semifinals of the Big East tournament. Roy Hibbert is gone, but a new star has taken over at center in 6-foot-11-inch freshman Greg Monroe, who is much more skilled than Hibbert. Like all freshmen, Monroe’s productivity fluctuates, but junior DaJuan Summers is rock solid.

Summers has led the Hoyas in scoring in four of the last six games. He scored a team-high 21 points at Duke on Saturday. Summers is the only junior on the Hoyas roster, and Jesse Sapp is the only senior who plays. Georgetown is actually a young team with five sophomores and three freshmen. The future is very bright for Georgetown basketball.

So what’s it going to take for a Mountaineer victory? Well, the only loss Georgetown has suffered at home came against Pitt. The Panthers held the Hoyas to 54 points, their only sub-60 point outing of the season. The Panthers crushed Georgetown on the glass by an amazing 25 rebounds on their way to a 70-54 victory.

In four Big East games, West Virginia is holding teams to 65 points per game. They’ll need a similar type of effort against Georgetown, but must do a better job on the glass where they’re currently getting outrebounded by three boards per game.

As Jim Boeheim explained following his team’s loss at Pitt on Monday, "In this league you have to have tremendous effort every night, you have to stay out of foul trouble and you have to hit your free throws. And if you do all of that - you're in the game - you aren't winning the game, but you're in it."

No margin for error and no sympathy for the sad. It’s Big East basketball 2009.

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