Bryce Hopkins was one of only two players voted unanimously to the 1st team (Photo: Louriann Mardo-Zayat)
By KEVIN McNAMARA
The regular season is over, 20 games of pounding each other’s brains in, neighborhood wars where some of the best basketball-only colleges in the country jockey for a spot in March Madness.
Now we are ready to bring all 11 Big East teams together for a little Garden Party.
The All-Big East teams were announced Sunday with Providence’s Bryce Hopkins making the cut on a six-player team that will include the Player of the Year. No surprises here. Hopkins and Marquette’s Tyler Kolek were the only unanimous selections to the first team.
The Big East will award its Player of the Year, Coach of the Year and Newcomer of the Year awards in New York on Wednesday. Cumberland’s Kolek and his coach, Shaka Smart, are heavy favorites to bring the prime awards back to Marquette.
The second team team did not include any Friar but Devin Carter did earn Honorable Mention among the top 15 players.
Carter is a leading candidate (along with Creighton big man Ryan Kalkbrenner) for the Big East’s Defensive Player of the Year. That honor will be announced Monday along with Most Improved Player (Ed Croswell anyone?), Sixth Man Award and Sportsmanship Award.
As for the Big East Tournament, the bracket is set.
The Friars have dug themselves a substantial hole thanks to their 1-3 slide to end the season. The first of the three losses came at Connecticut in a 87-69 final that felt like a 20-point loss. PC played the Huskies hard for a half, thanks mainly to some 3-point shooting by Jared Bynum. But the second half got ugly as UConn’s defense tightened its grip and PC’s faltered badly. The Huskies shot 56 percent on two-pointers and made 10 three-pointers, so there wasn’t much to get excited about.
Ed Cooley promised things would be different ‘if’ the two teams just happened to meet up in New York. Well here we go, see you Thursday afternoon at around 2:30 p.m.
As for Cooley, if Friar fans haven’t seen his entire press conference after Saturday’s 82-58 disaster loss to Seton Hall, it is certainly worth a look:
So what can Cooley change/correct in time for a game against UConn that just might be needed in the win column to cement a NCAA bid. The Friars are trending towards the Bubble and the 10/11 line in most mock brackets, which mean little to nothing. Games are still to be played and the Friars will be underdogs (6 points??) against UConn so it’s possible the season-ending slide reaches four-of-five games.
That, plus a NET rating that fell from a solid 39 to a shaky 51 after the Seton Hall defeat and a bad non-conference strength of schedule (283rd) is certainly cause for concern.