This week, the BIG EAST has three teams among the top six in the NCAA RPI Report. Villanova is second for the second straight week. Connecticut is fourth and Pittsburgh is sixth. The league can boast of nine teams in the top 35 of the RPI, including West Virginia at 19, Georgetown (26), Syracuse (28), Cincinnati (32), Seton Hall (34) and Marquette (35).
No. 4 Villanova Edges No. 1 Connecticut In Instant Classic
Before the largest crowd to watch a college basketball game in the state of Pennsylvania (20,859), Villanova and Connecticut put on a show that many are calling an "Instant Classic." The fourth-ranked Wildcats prevailed over the No. 1 Huskies, 69-64, at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia. UConn led, 45-33, with under 16 minutes to play, before Villanova rallied by making seven of its nine 3-point attempts in the second half. The two teams will have a rematch in Hartford on Feb. 26.
Seven Big East Standouts Are Naismith Trophy Mid-Season Candidates
The Big East has seven players on the list of 30 candidates for the Naismith Trophy, which is presented annually to the men's and women's college basketball players of the year. The Big East candidates include: Josh Boone and Rudy Gay of Connecticut, Carl Krauser of Pittsburgh, Gerry McNamara of Syracuse, Allan Ray of Villanova, and Mike Gansey and Kevin Pittsnogle of West Virginia. Two weeks ago, the Big East placed nine players on the list of 30 candidates for the John Wooden Award.
Draining The ‘Threes' With Regularity And Accuracy
If there is a general opinion that accurate shooting is becoming a lost art, at least a few Big East teams would disagree with that premise. Three Big East teams are among the national leaders in three-point shooting and four are in the top 21 in three-pointers made per game. In 3-point percentage, Notre Dame is 10th, making 40.7 percent. Marquette is 12th at 40.3 percent and Villanova is 18th at 39.4. In three-pointers made per game, West Virginia is second in the nation, making 10.0 per contest followed by Notre Dame (4th-9.9), Villanova (13th-8.9) and Marquette (21st-8.5).