Weekly Honors (announced Sunday & Monday)
America East: Stony Brook guard Bryan Dougher was honored for the first time this season, sharing Player of the Week honors with Vermont's Marqus Blakely. Dougher averaged 22 points per game in a 2-1 week for the Seawolves, including a 30-point outing in Stony Brook's 84-75 win at preseason favorite Boston University.
Atlantic 10: For the second time this season Fordham's Chris Gaston was named Rookie of the Week, this time sharing the honor with Charlotte's Chris Braswell. Gaston scored 26 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the Rams' 79-66 loss at Kennesaw State.
Ivy: Three area players were named to the Ivy League's Honor Roll on Monday. Columbia's Brian Grimes (14 pts, 8 reb and 2 blocks in a loss to Maine), Princeton's Dan Mavraides (18.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg last week) and Yale's Alex Zampier (19.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg) were selected.
MAAC: Fairfield guard Derek Needham was once again named Rookier of the Week. In the Stags' 2-0 week Needham averaged 11.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game.
Northeast: Sacred Heart seven-footer Liam Potter was named Choice Hotels Player of the Week due to his averages of 14.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game in the Pioneers' 3-1 holiday stretch.
7p Rutgers at #8 West Virginia
The Scarlet Knights hit the road in hopes of picking up their first Big East win, and to say the least it won't be an easy task. And that's simply the atmosphere at WVU Coliseum, much less the Top 10 team that calls the place home. The Mountaineers go with a starting lineup featuring five forwards, and with players as versatile as Da'Sean Butler, Devin Ebanks and Kevin Jones Bob Huggins can get away with that against most opponents. RU has to exploit the banged-up point guards Truck Bryant and Joe Mazzulla if they're to entertain any thoughts of winning the game.
Hamady Ndiaye and the rest of the frontcourt will need to hold their own on the boards; West Virginia is one of the Big East's best when it comes to rebounding the basketball. If James Beatty and Mike Coburn can run the offense against what promises to be a myriad of defensive looks Rutgers should be able to find good looks on that end of the floor. To say the least this is a monumental task for Fred Hill's team but they've got the good to at least compete.
7p Towson at Hofstra
Now 1-2 in the CAA this is a game the Pride simply cannot afford to lose if they want to entertain any thoughts of competing for a top four seed in March's CAA Tournament. The good news for Tom Pecora is that freshman guard Chaz Williams has been playing some solid basketball of late, and any help that Charles Jenkins can receive from other guards will be a welcome boost. Halil Kanacevic is another freshman playing solid basketball and the Pride has more depth than the Tigers. A loss here would be a bitter disappointment.
7p Brown at Army
The Black Knights, who are 6-0 at home this season, play their final non-conference game of the season against the 6-9 Bears in hopes of ending their two-game losing streak. The Bears allow an average of 74.3 points per game and that should bode well for Cleveland Richard and company. Head coach Zach Spiker has plenty of experience coaching against Brown since his last job was as an assistant to Steve Donahue at Cornell, so there shouldn't be many surprises at West Point. Army doesn't play high-scoring contests so look for this to be played in the sixties; their superior defense should be the difference.
7:30p Fordham at Massachusetts
The Rams begin what could be a painful journey through Atlantic 10 play against one of the conference's better offensive teams in Amherst. According to Ken Pomeroy Fordham is essentially an even bet to finish league play winless; luckily for the future of the program acting head coach Jared Grasso is picking up some solid wins on the recruiting trail. The UMass backcourt of Ricky Harris and Anthony Gurley will be a handful and them some for Fordham, who will have to slow down the tempo if they want to remain competitive.
9p Seton Hall at #13 Connecticut
It would be a disappointment if the Pirates weren't able to at least be competitive for forty minutes at Gampel Pavilion. The Huskies have an outstanding core in Jerome Dyson, Stanley Robinson and Kemba Walker and a very good frontcourt option off the bench in Gavin Edwards. But they aren't especially deep, which could bode well for the Seton Hall pressure and its cumulative effect when executed properly. But the key for Seton Hall comes on the offensive end; Jeremy Hazell can be the main man but he cannot monopolize the shot attempts.
A big night from Herb Pope would mean the possibility (at least) of an upset; he has to get his fair share of touches on the block. Another player to watch is Robert Mitchell; for some reason his role was diminished for a few games before a solid performance against Virginia Tech on Saturday. He and Jeff Robinson could be the two players that ultimately make the difference tonight.
Also on the Schedule:
7p Columbia at Lafayette
7:30p Princeton at Marist