Sixteen teams, beating the piss out of each other each and every night...below you will find the current standings in The Beast, with the ratings culled from Jeff Sagarin's ratings in USA Today (because frankly I'm sick of the RPI...the RPI ratings, not the lovely Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY that has been home to some wonderful hockey teams)
[One other note - Sagarin currently has the conferences rated, top to bottom, Big Ten, ACC, Big East...but there is almost no separation between the three - Dennis I do not want to hear any yapping about the ACC being disrespected]
Dancing in the Streets with Jagger and Bowie:
#14 West Virginia, 14-3 (5-0)
A bunch of white dudes, surprisingly athletic, running an offense to perfection and trouncing teams left and right...these guys are fun to watch...Senior Mike Gansey is the real deal, a legit Conference Player of the Year candidate, averaging 20 ppg and 6 rpg. We've all heard plenty about Kevin Pittsnogle, and I will be a happy camper the day his last name stops serving as both noun and verb to donkey local sportscasters (like the guys who accept dollars from blackout drunks). Despite currently being undefeated in Big East play, the Mountaineers are the 2nd best team in the Big East, behind, you guessed it, the Huskies of Connecticut, sponsored by iBook...
#3 Connecticut, 16-1 (4-1)
These guys are the best team in the country. Put down the firearm Dennis. Sure, Duke has the better individual player, hell, with Sheldon Williams both of Duke's top guys might be better than UConn's, but Rudy Gay, Rashad Anderson, Marcus Williams, Josh Boone, Hilton Armstrong, and Denham Brown together are better than what Duke throws out there (I forgot some of the role players, sue me). UConn is 4th in the country in scoring and 1st in rebounds per game...and, just to reiterate, they're best player is named Rudy Gay. The defense rests.
#9 Pittsburgh, 16-1 (5-1)
You wanna watch boring, grind it out basketball? Than this is the team for you...Pittsburgh would love nothing more than beating their opponents 48-42 every night. Carl Krauser is apparently on the "Jess Settles Plan", as he enrolled at Pitt when Cheers was still on the air. Pitt was easily the most fraudulent of the undefeated D-1 squadrons, as their non-conference schedule included the Shaker High Blue Bison and Our Lady of the Worthless Miracle.
#4 Villanova, 14-2 (5-1)
Villa-no-fun (Freeland's second best nickname, to the immortal "Don't Cry For Me" Mike Missina) is shedding that moniker with an exciting 4 guard offense...which sounds cool and all until you realize the Big East is known for grueling, grind-it-out battles reminiscent of the late '80s NFC East, meaning Jay Wright better get some production out of Jason "I'm hurt more often than Marcus Camby" Fraser and any other warm bodies he has on the bench. Losing Curtis Sumpter for the year might really bite them in the ass come March.
The dreaded "B" word, a month too early:
#25 Georgetown, 13-4 (4-2)
What a huge win for the Hoyas over Duke last weekend, but honestly, it would have been for naught if they dropped last night's game to Notre Dame. The Hoyas have to beat the lower-tier conference teams, and ND is just such a team this year. A necessary road W to tack onto the huuuuuge home W and now JT3 and Georgetown are putting together a tournament-worthy resume. Great balance from the Hoyas, as 6 players average between 9 and 12 ppg, led by Jeff Green and Brandon Bowman.
#41 Marquette, 14-5 (4-2)
They're star player is a big white stiff who rains threes. What's not to like? His name is Steve Novak, and he dropped 41 on UConn a few weeks back, the signature win for the Golden Eagles this season. So far however they've taken advantage of the lesser teams in the league, and upcoming games against Pitt and Villanova could be enlightening. Keep on eye on Freshman PG Dominic James, he is as Dickie V might say a DIAPER DANDY BABY!! Of the former Conference USA teams, Marquette looks to be the best import this year, followed closely by these guys...
#15 Cincinnati, 14-5 (3-2)
Guess they don't miss that class act Bob Huggins too much huh? Can you imagine how good Florida would be this year if James White hadn't transferred? The Gators wouldn't lose a game in the piss poor SEC (settle down Tennessee fans, you'll get your credit in due time). Behind White, Eric Hicks and Devan Downey the Bearcats have surprised many critics who fully expected Cincy to drop to the bottom of the new 16 team uber Big East. Frankly, I'm enjoying this big "F U" to Coach Huggins.
#31 Syracuse, 15-5 (3-3)
What the hell is going on here? Jim Boeheim's crew is in a serious freefall, and couldn't stop Swint and the Deep Fat Fryer in the paint right now. Losing to Connecticut by 8, that's OK. Getting blown out by 15 and 13 to Villanova and Pitt, respectively, does not a title contender make (and trust me, the final scores were deceiving - the Cuse could've lost by 25 in both games). Put the ball in Eric Devendorf's hands, freeing Gerry McNamara up to find open spots from behind the arc, and start running more with Louie "I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue" McCroskey and Demetris Nichols on the wings. And please, show a little life on defense - stop playing your trademark 2-3 zone like you just devoured 37 pieces in a McNugget Off with one J.D. Flantastico.
Just pretend it was 1955 and the NIT meant something:
#50 Rutgers, 12-6 (2-3)
They still have the guy named Douby on the team, and that's enough for me...actually, he's one of the best players in the league, averaging 23 ppg, 4 rpg and 3 apg. Rutgers has yet to notch that signature win, but they are mighty tough at the RAC and might just surprise enough teams to sneak into the Dance.
#99 St. John's, 10-6 (3-2)
Doesn't Ron Artest just make you proud Johnnies? Before I get to St. John's, a word on Mr. Artest if I may. To anyone calling him the T.O of the NBA (and there are alot of you) - slooooow down. T.O. might be an arrogant, chemistry-destroying prick, but until he decides to go into the stands and throw fucking haymakers at middle-aged jabronies Ron Artest still has the upperhand in this battle of jackelopes. Moving on...give credit to coach Norm Roberts for quickly getting St. John's on it's feet after several less than stellar campaigns. Can I blame Mike Jarvis for all that went wrong? Well, I'm going to anyway, because his god damned Boston accent confuses and frightens me whenever he's on TV. At least when Digger talks and drives me nuts I can look at the cute way in which some PA matched his tie with his highlighter.
#104 Seton Hall, 10-6 (2-3)
Hmmm, yeah...are there any Hurleys still involved with this team?
#60 Louisville, 13-5 (1-4)
The most overrated team in the country, bar none...I watched these guys try to play without Taquan Dean the other day (who apparently inherited all of Fred Taylor's body parts) and it was just sad. They were 2-20 from 3-point land. A Rick Pitino team...2-20 on triples...they are in serious trouble. If Dean struggles to play more than 12 minutes a game, Louisville might not even make the Big East tourney in their rookie year in the league.
Too terrible to even make it to MSG and NYC:
#72 Notre Dame, 10-7 (1-5)
Poor Mike Brey. There isn't much he can do. He has sharpshooters Colin Falls and Chris Quinn, and Torin Francis on the inside, but the Irish lack size and depth and keep dropping close game after close game. It would not however surprise me if ND moves up and Louisville down before the season ends. The conference season is but 1/3rd complete, so I am jumping the gun with predictions like this (though that's never stopped the blathering Dickie V before).
#98 Providence, 8-8 (1-4)
Underrated city...Ryan Gomes was a nice player, but he graduated...Providence is home to one of the best hot dog joints in the world, Spike's Junkyard Dogs. I highly recommend it.
#85 DePaul, 8-9 (1-5)
Yes, I do still love Sammy Mejia, but I obviously didn't realize Wake Forest was poop when I touted DePaul as a Big East sleeper...that 44 point loss to CAA stalwart ODU might've been more indicative of DePaul's ability.
#197 South Florida, 6-13 (0-6)
Welcome to The Beast fellas. Try to win at least one game this year will ya...thanks...