The Big East makes no sense to me anymore. Not that this massive league ever did.
Providence started out the 2010-2011 Big East season with six straight losses, including to South Florida, Rutgers, and a 30 point embarrassment against West Virginia. But after the Friar’s 83-68 win over Villanova on Wednesday night, Providence has now beaten two top 25 teams in the span of five days.
Villanova, on the other hand, came into this one having gone into the Carrier Dome and knocked off the Syracuse Orange in impressive fashion after losing at the buzzer at UConn.
For the Wildcats, the answer is simple, obvious, and, frankly, pretty boring. When their guards play well, Villanova plays well. (See? That was worth a ‘duh’.) Against the Orange, Villanova’s trio of Corey Fisher, Corey Stokes, and Maalik Wayns went for a combined 53 points and 11 assists on 15-31 shooting while hitting 10 threes. On Wednesday night, Fisher and Stokes went a combined 4-26 from the floor and 1-13 from three. You can discuss things like how well Mouph Yarou and Antonio Pena played or whether or not Isaiah Armwood and Dominic Cheeks can be impact scorers, but when your two best players score just 14 points combined, you aren’t going to win too many games.
For the Friars, the picture is a bit murkier.
They nearly knocked off Pitt at home early in the season, and they also gave Syracuse and St. John’s a fight. But, as I mentioned, they also dropped roadies to Rutgers and South Florida and were embarrassed by 30 by West Virginia.
The Friars are not a bad basketball team. Marshon Brooks is one of the best players you have never heard of, averaging over 23 ppg. And now? The Friars are giving him some support. Gerard Coleman has averaging 17.5 ppg the past two games. Kadeem Betts has scored 19 points and grabbed 14 boards in that stretch. And, of course, Vincent Council has played well, going for 16 points, eight boards, and eight assists last night.
If Providence is going to get production like that from some of their role players, don’t be surprised when the Friars pick off a couple more of the Big East’s better teams.