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Big East 2011 College Basketball Preview and Predictions


It's prediction time as we look into our crystal ball for the Big East's 2011-2012 season and predict who will come out on top and get individual honors.


1. Connecticut
This edition of the Huskies might have more talent — even without Kemba Walker.

2. Syracuse
Rick Jackson will be tough to replace, but Kris Joseph is ready to make the leap to stardom.

3. Louisville
The Cardinals lack a true superstar but are as deep as any team in the league.

4. Pittsburgh
Senior Ashton Gibbs will lead a talented Pitt club that’s on a mission for the Final Four.

5. Marquette
Buzz Williams stayed at Marquette for a reason — the Eagles are loaded with talent.

6. Cincinnati
Bearcats have several key players back from breakout team, most notably Yance Gates.

7. Villanova
This year’s Wildcat club belongs to guards Maalik Wayns and Dominic Cheek.

8. West Virginia
Mountaineers need a big season from Kevin Jones and some help from the newcomers.

9. Notre Dame
Tim Abromaitis is the main man, but much depends on young point guard Eric Atkins.

10. St. John’s
Steve Lavin has a brand new roster in his second year in Queens.

11. Georgetown
The Hoyas suffered significant losses. It’s a rebuilding year in D.C.

12. Rutgers
Mike Rice has the Scarlet Knights pointed in the right direction.

13. Seton Hall
Pirates will lean on Herb Pope but need some scorers to emerge to replace Jeremy Hazell.

14. South Florida
It’s Augustus Gilchrist and little else for a program that continues to struggle in the Big East.

15. Providence
Friars turned to hometown kid Ed Cooley to restore program’s dignity.

16. DePaul
Blue Demons will depend on sophomores Cleveland Melvin and Brandon Young.

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Recruiting Roundup (by
 1. St. John’s Six top-100 players are part of the Red Storm’s 2011 class, but three are facing eligibility issues.

 2. Connecticut Andre Drummond’s decision to attend UConn vaulted the Huskies into the top five nationally.

 3. Louisville Wayne Blackshear is the top guy, but Chane Behanan will have the opportunity to get big minutes in the post.

 4. Rutgers Mike Rice did a great job with his first class — solid pieces around an impact guy in Kadeem Jack.

 5. Syracuse Rakeem Christmas is one of the nation’s top shot-blockers. His classmates will provide plenty of perimeter scoring.

 6. Pittsburgh Khem Birch is the difference-maker, but Malcolm Gilbert and Durand Johnson are also top-100 prospects.

 7. Georgetown John Thompson III benefited from the late emergence of top-30 talent Otto Porter.
 8. West Virginia Jabarie Hinds is the highest-rated recruit, but Bob Huggins has a handful of others that fit his style.

 9. Cincinnati The Bearcats needed some firepower on the wing. Shaquille Thomas and Jermaine Sanders can fill it up.

10. Villanova Jay Wright has a nice group coming in. Look for Tyrone Johnson to be his next effective guard.

11. Marquette Buzz Williams needed to add some strength to his backcourt, and he added a point and two scoring wings.

12. Seton Hall Kevin Johnson is the big fish, but Aaron Cosby and Sean Grennan have received some good buzz as well.

13. Notre Dame Patrick Connaughton blew up late in his high school career. Status of Eric Katenda (eye) is in doubt.

14. DePaul Oliver Purnell brought in a big class that is loaded with athleticism and length.

15. South Florida The Bulls pulled in two post prospects and a pair of lead guards.

16. Providence With a late coaching change, Providence picked up a pair of best availables in the spring.

Big East All-Conference Predictions

First Team All-Conference
Yancy Gates Sr. F Cincinnati
Ashton Gibbs Sr. G Pittsburgh
Kris Joseph Sr. F Syracuse
Jeremy Lamb So. G Connecticut
Peyton Siva Jr. G Louisville

Second Team All-Conference
Tim Abromaitis Sr. F Notre Dame
Scoop Jardine Sr. G Syracuse
Darius Johnson-Odom Sr. G Marquette
Kevin Jones Sr. F West Virginia
Alex Oriakhi Jr. F Connecticut

Third Team All-Conference
Jae Crowder              Sr. F Marquette
Augustus Gilchrist     Sr. F South Florida
Dane Miller               Jr. F Rutgers
Herb Pope                 Sr. F Seton Hall
Maalik Wayns           Jr. G Villanova