While "Snowpocalypse" may have cut down on the number of fans able to get down to the Verizon Center it did nothing to the offensive execution of the Georgetown Hoyas. John Thompson III's team did whatever they wanted in the first half, shooting 55.6% from the field (including 8-13 behind the arc) in taking a 50-31 halftime lead. The star of the half: Jason Clark, who scored seventeen points (4-4 3PT) fourteen minutes of action. Austin Freeman added twelve and Villanova played the role of willing prey by turning the ball over sixteen times.
The first few days of the Big East conference schedule certainly haven't lacked drama, with Seton Hall, Marquette and Cincinnati all having opportunities to knock off more established programs. But the difference between the Bearcats and the other two schools is that they were able to take full advantage of their opportunity, knocking off #10 Connecticut 71-69 at Fifth Third Arena. Lance Stephenson passed his first conference test with flying colors, scoring 21 points and knocking down two free throws with seven tenths of a second remaining to provide the final margin.
The game of the night on Wednesday may be the Big East opener for both Connecticut and Cincinnati, with the highly-touted Lance Stephenson (Cincinnati) and Ater Majok (UConn) getting their first taste of Big East play. Immensely talented players have made their marks in the conference since its inception but not everyone is 100% ready for that first taste of the Big East's physical nature. But maybe "Born Ready" and Majok are different; at the very least they'll have some talented teammates who have been through the ringer to lean on.
For the first time in the eleven years of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge the trophy is headed to the midwest thanks to three wins on Wednesday night. Wisconsin's 73-69 win over #5 Duke was the result that will get the headlines but it was Ohio State taking care of Florida State that officially clinched the win. But back to the Badgers, who showed once again why it isn't wise to doubt a Bo Ryan-coached team. Trevon Hughes led Wisconsin with twenty-six points and the Badgers finished even with Duke on the boards (32-32).
With six teams in CHN's preseason Top 25, and 3 more teams with NCAA Tournament hopes, no league has more depth than the Big Ten. And an improving Indiana into the mix, and this should be quite a season for Big Ten fans.
Ranking players is more art then science. How do you compare the potential of freshmen with seniors who have already peaked? How much does physical talent come into play versus intangibles and experience? How big a role do numbers play?