NYC Tuesday Preview: Big East Locals in Action

February 2nd, 2010

Weekly Honors 

Atlantic 10: Fordham forward Chris Gaston won his third Rookie of the Week award, sharing the honor this week with La Salle's Aaric Murray. In the Rams' loss to La Salle last week Gaston scored 21 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, posting his thirteenth double-double of the season. 

Big East: Rutgers sophomore guard Mike Rosario was named to the conference's Honor Roll thanks to averages of 20.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game in the Scarlet Knights' 1-1 week. Rosario, who had been mired in a shooting slump, also shot 53.8% from the field in those two game.

Colonial: Hofstra's Charles Jenkins was named Co-Player of the Week, sharing the honor with James Madison's Denzel Bowles. In two wins for the Pride Jenkins averaged 25.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. Also, teammate Chaz Williams was named CAA Rookie of the Week with his averages of 14.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game.

Ivy: A pair of Princeton Tigers were honored on Monday with Doug Davis winning Player of the Week honors and Ian Hummer being named Rookie of the Week. Davis averaged 14.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game in a pair of wins for the Tigers while Hummer averaged 9.5 points and 2.5 rebounds. In addition to these two Columbia's Norwua Agho (18.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg) and Yale's Porter Braswell (9.5 ppg, 4.0 apg, 3.0 spg) were named to the Honor Roll.

MAAC: A pair of area players were honored by the MAAC with Rider's Ryan Thompson (28.0 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 3.5 apg, 2.0 spg) winning Player of the Week for the first time while Fairfield's Derek Needham (15.5 ppg, 8.0 apg) once again won Rookie of the Week honors.

Tuesday's Games

7p Seton Hall at #2 Villanova (ESPNU)
The Pirates need to get one of their next two road games, tonight at The Pavilion or Saturday at Pittsburgh, if they're to entertain any realistic hopes of snagging an NCAA Tournament bid. And this will be the stiffer of the two tests, taking on the nation's second-ranked team and the fact that the Wildcats have won the last seven meetings (last SHU win: 2/21/2004- 70-68) doesn't help matters. The Wildcat guards are known to be among the best in the nation with Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher leading the way, and they will not hesitate to push the ball up the floor. And while their big men don't receive the press that the guards do they aren't chopped liver either.

Mouphtaou Yarou continues to get his legs after missing the first half of the season and Antonio Pena and Isaiah Armwood have played well. But the one man who could be the most difficult matchup could be Taylor King, who's more of a pick and pop option at the four than any of the other Wildcat bigs. Villanova is a better rebounding team than the Pirates, who need Herb Pope to avoid foul trouble and stay on the floor if they're to be successful. But it will be the backcourt that decides the game, especially for the Hall. If they can't take care of the basketball it's going to be a long night given the Wildcats' ability to go on scoring runs especially if you give them a head start in the form of turnovers. 

7:30p St. John's at Rutgers (MSG) 
Look for this one to come down to the wire with the Scarlet Knights coming off of a win over Notre Dame and the Red Storm still struggling to find consistent offense late in games. St. John's fell at Pittsburgh due to their inability to go get a basket when most needed, and it's definitely possible that said issue could cost them tonight. Mike Rosario is playing far more efficiently on the offensive end of the floor and senior center Hamady Ndiaye has stepped up his production even more since Gregory Echenique transferred to Creighton. Add in freshman Dane Miller and all of a sudden Fred Hill's team could be on the verge of running off a couple wins in a row. 

St. John's will need more production out of Malik Boothe at the point as well, and in fact many have wondered why freshman Malik Stith hasn't received more minutes in recent games. He's got an assist-to-turnover ratio of nearly two in Big East games while Boothe hasn't been nearly as efficient. The Red Storm will need solid games from Paris Horne and D.J. Kennedy as well as Dwight Hardy off the bench if they're to pick up the win at the RAC, which still isn't an easy place to play despite the Scarlet Knights' struggles. And with West Virginia visiting MSG on Saturday, this is essentially a must-win for SJU if they want to avoid a serious skid.

"We've lost our last three games and this is a must-win game," said Malik Stith on Monday. "There has to be a sense of urgency. A win would give us confidence going into West Virginia on Saturday (quote courtesy of redstormsports.com)." Not much you can add to that.