The Syracuse Post-Standard put out their preseason media poll for the Big East, and it looks like this:
1. Syracuse 29 (6 1st-place votes)
2. Connecticut 30 (8)
3. Louisville 45 (2)
4. Pittsburgh 58
5. Marquette 90
6. Cincinnati 96
7. West Virginia 120
8. Villanova 124
9. Notre Dame 141
10. Georgetown 153
11. Rutgers 188
12. St. John’s 191
13. Seton Hall 204
14. South Florida 230
15. DePaul 236
16. Providence 241
Ashton Gibbs was named player of the year, barely edging out Jeremy Lamb, while Andre Drummond won freshman of the year in a landslide.
And frankly, I don’t have too much to quibble with here. If I had a ballot, I think I would flip-flop UConn and Syracuse. The same with Louisville and Pitt. I don’t think West Virginia should be above Villanova or Notre Dame, or that Providence should be at the bottom of the league, but that’s all a matter of opinion. There are valid arguments as to why Syracuse should be the league’s favorite, or why Louisville is a better team than Pitt.
I just don’t happen to agree with them.
As Mike wrote yesterday, Syracuse appears to lack a go-to player in the clutch. Personally, I think Scoop Jardine becomes that guy this season, and while I think Jardine is a very good player — and one of the most charismatic players in the country, he’s terrific with the media — I don’t want to have my season come down to a situation where he is the guy I am relying on to get a basket.
The knock on UConn this season is that they are going to be quite young, with freshmen and sophomores playing the majority of the minutes, as opposed to the veteran Orange. But youth doesn’t mean much these days — UConn won the title last season playing mostly freshmen, Kentucky has been to the Final Four and the Elite 8 in their two years under John Calipari and Ohio State made the national title game the year they had Greg Oden and company. Throw in the fact that all of those sophomores currently have a national title under their belt, and I think its safe to say the Huskies come into this year plenty experienced.
UConn also has a better front line. As much as I like CJ Fair’s chances to breakout, give me Andre Drummond and Alex Oriakhi over Fab Melo and Rakeem Christmas.
Like I said, I don’t agree with putting Syracuse above UConn.
Do you agree with me?