***SOUTH FLORIDA (10-5, 1-1): The Bulls protected their home court last Wednesday with a 23-point victory over Rutgers. But South Florida went on the road over the weekend and lost at Syracuse 89-77. The Bulls have a big home contest tonight. South Florida will host Pittsburgh on Wednesday in Tampa before going on the road this weekend at Providence.
Dominique Jones leads the team in scoring. The 6-4 freshman pours in 16.4 PPG and is shooting 50 percent from the field. The man down low is Kentrell Gransberry. The 6-9, 270-pound senior averages a double-double by scoring 15 PPG and pulling down 11 rebounds a contest. Gransberry already has eight double-doubles on the year and is first in the Big East in rebounding.
***CINCINNATI (6-8, 1-1): The Bearcats won a big game last week on the road, beating Louisville 58-57 at Freedom Hall. Cincinnati could not recapture the road magic as the team went down at St. John's by 10 last Saturday. The Bearcats play their league home opener tonight against Syracuse and follow it up on Saturday by hosting Villanova.
Cincinnati has just one player averaging double figures in points and it's a big reason why they're second to last in the league in scoring offense. Deonta Vaughn, a 6-1 sophomore, is the Bearcats' best scoring threat. Vaughn averages 15.9 PPG, is shooting 46 percent from the field and has scored in double figures in the past six games. John Williamson, a 6-6 senior forward, chips in with nine PPG and six rebounds a contest.
***ST. JOHN'S (1-2, 7-7): The Red Storm were sitting at 1-1 in Big East play before Tuesday night's trip to Connecticut. The Huskies whipped St. John's 81-65 as the Red Storm shot just 34 percent from the field. St. John's will host DePaul on Saturday. The Blue Demons lost to Georgetown on Tuesday for their first conference loss and, like the Red Storm, will be looking to right the ship.
St. John's has four players averaging between 12 and nine PPG, led by Justin Burrell. The 6-8 freshman pours in 12.4 PPG and is shooting 48 percent from the field. Burrell has five double-doubles on the season. D.J. Kennedy, a 6-6 freshman, adds nine PPG and pulls down seven rebounds a contest.
***NO. 18 PITTSBURGH (12-2, 1-2): A team picked to be one of the Big East favorites has fallen on hard times. The Panthers lost guard/forward Mike Cook for the season with a torn ACL and point guard Levance Fields is out for a few months with a broken foot. It's a big reason why Pittsburgh has started out league play 1-2, including a narrow one-point loss at Villanova. The Panthers go on the road tonight at South Florida before hosting Seton Hall on Saturday.
With Fields and Cook out, that's 22 PPG Pittsburgh is missing out on. Despite this, Sam Young is turning in a wonderful season. The 6-6 junior leads the team in scoring at 17.5 PPG and is shooting 53 percent from the field. Young has scored in double figures in every contest this year. DeJuan Blair, a 6-7 freshman, is a half a rebound away from averaging a double-double. Blair pours in 11.6 PPG and pulls down 9.6 rebounds a contest.
***LOUISVILLE (10-4, 1-1): The Cardinals have been one of the bigger early season disappointments. Louisville started out Big East play with a one-point loss at home to Cincinnati. The Cardinals did rebound with a win over Kentucky this past weekend to give them bragging rights over their in-state rival. Louisville hosts West Virginia on Thursday before going on the road on Sunday to face Rutgers.
The Cardinals have five players scoring in double figures, led by Terrence Williams. The 6-6 junior averages 12 PPG and is shooting 41 percent from three-point range. Earl Clark, a 6-9 sophomore, is the man down low. Clark averages 11.8 PPG and 10 rebounds a contest and has six double-doubles on the year.
***SETON HALL (10-5, 0-2): The Pirates are not out to the best start in league play. Seton Hall lost by 12 at home last week to Connecticut and on the road to Marquette last night 61-56. The Pirates were in the contest late against the Golden Eagles but a Marquette three-pointer with under 15 seconds remaining sealed the deal. Seton Hall faces another tough challenge this weekend when they travel to Pittsburgh.
The Pirates do one thing quite well: get up and down the floor. Seton Hall is third in the conference in scoring, averaging 83 PPG. The problem is that the Pirates are dead last in the Big East in scoring defense. Brian Laing is tied with Syracuse's Donte Green for the league lead in scoring. Laing averages 19.1 PPG and also pulls down seven rebounds a contest. The 6-5 senior has scored 20-plus points seven times this year. Eugene Harvey, a 6-0 sophomore, adds 16 PPG.
***PROVIDENCE (9-5, 0-2): The Friars continue to be one of the mysteries of the Big East. Providence is loaded with talented players but it doesn't translate to victories. The Friars lost two road contests to Marquette and DePaul. Providence will look to get league win No. 1 tonight when they host Rutgers.
The Friars have seven players averaging between 13 and six PPG. Weyinmi Efejuku, a 6-5 junior, leads the team in scoring at 13.4 PPG and has broken the 20-point barrier five times this season. Mr. Do Everything, Jeff McDermott, averages 11.1 PPG, pulls down seven rebounds a contest and dishes out four assists a game. The 6-8 junior is shooting 52 percent from the field this year.
***RUTGERS (8-7, 0-2): The Scarlet Knights share the cellar with Providence and Seton Hall. Rutgers lost at South Florida by 23 and at home to Georgetown 58-46 last Saturday. The battle of the winless takes place on Wednesday. The Scarlet Knights go on the road to take on the Friars and follow it up with a home game against Louisville on Sunday.
Rutgers is last in the league in scoring offense. The Scarlet Knights are led by JR Inman. The 6-9 junior pours in 15 PPG and pulls down eight rebounds a contest. Freshman guard Corey Chandler is second at 12 PPG while Anthony Farmer, a 6-1 junior, is third at 11 PPG.