Big East Basketball Notes

Big East basketball gets underway on Monday, and by week's end almost every league squad will have at least one game under its belt.


Tonight's Pittsburgh – Rhode Island game is the first of 18 games involving Big East teams this week. It's also the first of 345 scheduled regular-season games involving Big East teams in the 2010-11 season.


Three Big East teams begin their seasons on the road -- all on Friday. Georgetown plays at Old Dominon. Rutgers visits Princeton and Seton Hall travels to Temple as new coaches Mike Rice and Kevin Willard make their debuts for the Scarlet Knights and Pirates, respectively.

Junior forward Yancy Gates earned Preseason All-Big East Honorable Mention recognition.

The Bearcats appeared in the NIT last March for the first time since 2006.

The opener against Mount St. Mary's is the first round of the Global Sports Main Event.

Guard Kemba Walker was a Preseason All-Big East First Team selection.

In all games last season, Walker was first in the Big East in steals with a 2.1 average and second in assists at 5.1.

Last year, the Huskies were first in the Big East in field goal percentage defense in league games, allowing foes to shoot only 40.4 percent. It was the seventh time in the last nine seasons they have led in that category. Also in league play, UConn led the Big East in blocked shots for an eighth straight season (6.7).

New head coach Oliver Purnell makes his Blue Demon debut on Nov. 14 against Chicago State. The game will be played on campus at McGrath Arena.

After a game against Western Carolina at Allstate Arena on Nov. 16, the Blue Demons will play in the 76 Classic in Anaheim, Calif., on Nov. 25-28.

Guard Austin Freeman was named Preseason Big East Player of the Year. Guard Chris Wright made the preseason All-Big East Second Team.

Last season, the Hoyas lost 61-57 to Old Dominion at McDonough Arena.

GU made its fourth straight NCAA tournament appearance in 2010. The Hoyas reached the title game of the BIG EAST Championship for the third time in the last four years.

The opener against Butler also will be the Cardinals' first regular-season game at the new KFC Yum! Center.

Louisville opens the season with 10 straight home games.

Senior forward Jimmy Butler made the Preseason All-Big East Second Team. Junior guard Darius Johnson-Odom was All-Big East Honorable Mention.

In Big East games last season, Marquette led the league in scoring defense (65.6) and turnover margin (+4.39). The Golden Eagles finished fifth nationally in 3-pt. shooting, making 41.3 percent.

MU has reached the 20-win plateau and double figures in wins in conference play in each of its five years in the Big East. It also has earned an NCAA berth in each of the last five years.

Senior forward Tim Abromaitis made the Preseason All-Big East Second Team.

The Irish have reached the postseason in all of coach Mike Brey's 10 seasons at the helm.

Junior guard Ashton Gibbs made the Preseason All-Big East First Team. Last year, he was named Big East Most Improved Player and All-Big East Second Team. He finished as the team's top scorer with a 15.7 average and led the league in free throw shooting, making 88.4percent.

In league games, the Panthers were second in the Big East in scoring defense allowing 65.9 ppg.

Pitt, which won nine of its last 12 games, made its ninth straight trip to the NCAAs, the longest current streak among Big East members.

The Friars host Ivy League opponents Dartmouth and Yale (Dec. 15) before hosting two rounds of the Cancun Challenge. The final two rounds of the event will be played in Cancun on Nov. 23-24.

Last season, guard Vincent Council made the Big East All-Rookie Team.

New head coach Mike Rice makes his Scarlet Knight debut at Princeton on Nov. 12.

Last season, Rutgers beat the Tigers 58-44.

Forward Dane Miller was a unanimous selection to the Big East All-Rookie Team last season. In league games, he averaged 11.2 points and 6.3 rebounds.

New head coach Kevin Willard makes his Pirate debut at Temple on Nov. 12. Last season, the Hall began the season 8-0 before losing 71-65 to the Owls.

Senior guard Jeremy Hazell is a preseason All-Big East First Team selection. Last season, Hazell, an All-BIG EAST Second Team pick, finished third in the league in scoring in all games, averaging 20.4 ppg.

Forward Herb Pope finished first in the Big East in rebounding with an 10.7 average in all games. In league play, he won the rebounding crown with an 11.1 average. He is the first Seton Hall player to finish first in rebounding.

Steve Lavin will begin his head coaching tenure at St. John's when the Red Storm play at Saint Mary's on Nov. 16. The game is part of ESPN's College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon.

Swingman D.J. Kennedy was selected to the Preseason All-Big East Second Team. Last year, he averaged team highs of 15.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game and finished as the Red Storm leader in assists (102), blocks (22) and steals (38).

Last season, the Red Storm lost to Memphis on a buzzer-beater in the first round of the NIT. St. John's made its

Freshman forward Fab Melo was picked Preseason Big East Rookie of the Year. Junior forward Kris Joseph was named Preseason All-Big East Second Team. Last season, he won the Big East Sixth Man Award. Senior forward Rick Jackson was a Preseason All-Big East Honorable Mention pick.

Last season, coach Jim Boeheim won BIG EAST Coach of the Year honors for the fourth time in his career. He received national Coach of the Year honors from the Associated Press, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, Sporting News and Yahoo Sports.

Syracuse won its first outright Big East regular-season crown since 1990-91 and earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Championship for the first time since 1990.

The Bulls open the 2010-11 season at home against Southern Mississippi.

In 2009-10, after compiling their third 20-win season in school history, the Bulls earned their eighth NIT bid and first since 2002.

The Bulls finished 9-9 in the Big East. Previously, they had never won more than four league games in a season.

Senior guard Corey Fisher was named to the Preseason All-Big East First Team.

Last year, Villanova made its sixth straight appearance in the NCAA Championship. The Wildcats have compiled a 12-6 NCAA record over those appearances, including a trip to the 2009 Final Four.

Junior forward Kevin Jones made the Preseason All-Big East First Team.

Last season, the Mountaineers advanced to the NCAA Final Four for the second time in school history. The other trip was in 1959.

Guard Joe Mazzulla was named MVP of the NCAA East Regional a 17-point effort against Kentucky.

WVU won its first Big East Championship crown last March. The Mountaineers compiled 13 BIG EAST wins, the most since joining the league for hoops in 1995-96.

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