Syracuse Streaks On
When Syracuse edged Louisville 52-51 Monday, the Orange improved to 13-1 in league play and 26-1 overall. SU, ranked second in both national polls this week, is compiling one of the most impressive regular seasons in BIG EAST history. Other than the first season of the league’s existence when only six games were played, only Connecticut (17-1) in 1995-96 and St. John’s (15-1) in ’84-85 have been able to survive a league season with only one loss. No team has gone unbeaten. Syracuse’s best regular season mark was 14-2 in 1985-86. Including all regular-season games, no BIG EAST team has entered the BIG EAST Championship with only one loss.
Notre Dame Is Rolling, Too
With Wednesday’s win against Rutgers, Notre Dame has a seven-game winning streak. The run began when the Irish handed Syracuse its only loss 67-58 Jan. 21. In the seven wins, Notre Dame has yielded only 55.3 points per game. Forward Jack Cooley has posted double-doubles in the last three contests. Notre Dame is 18-8 overall and 10-3 in conference play. Next up for the Irish is a trip to Villanova on Saturday at 9 p.m. ET on ESPNU.
A Big Scorer Not A Necessity For Success
Every team wants a “go-to” guy when it needs a big basket. But this season has shown that success is not necessarily dependent on one high-scoring player. In fact, six of the seven BIG EAST teams with winning conference records have a leading scorer who averages 15 points or less per game. First-place Syracuse’s top scorer is Kris Joseph, who ranks 18th in league scoring with a 14.0 average. The other teams’ leading scorers are: Cincinnati’s Sean Kilpatrick (15.3), Georgetown’s Jason Clark (14.9), Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant (13.0), Louisville’s Kyle Kuric (12.8), and USF’s Augustus Gilchrist (10.6). Marquette is the exception to the rule with Darius Johnson-Odom ranking second in the league in scoring at 18.4 points per game.
Crunching The Numbers: Georgetown, Notre Dame Own High-Level Wins
One piece of information that can turn the heads of the NCAA Basketball Committee for NCAA Championship invitations is victories against teams ranked in the top 25 of the RPI. Only seven teams nationally have at least four wins against top 25 teams. The BIG EAST has two of the seven. Georgetown has five wins and Notre Dame has four.