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Big Eastgood to go

Feb 19, 2008 6:57 AM

Once again the Big East is loaded.

A Big East representative won college basketball’s national championship four years ago (UConn, 2004) and several will be knocking on the door again.

Georgetown: Georgetown uses its outstanding frontcourt to play tough defense, allowing just 57 ppg. The frontcourt is awesome with 7-2 senior Roy Hibbert and 6-8 sophomore DaJuan Summers, the top two leading scorers. 6-8 senior Patrick Ewing, Jr. is a good role player along the boards.

The height up front also helps the Hoyas on offense, shooting 49% from the field, tops in the Big East.

Georgetown was 4-for-22 from long range in last week’s 59-51 loss to Louisville, and 3 of 20 from beyond the arc in a loss to Pitt. They are also just 1-2 SU/ATS as a dog.

Louisville: The Cardinals had some early season struggles because of injuries, but they are healthy at the right time. 6-11 senior center David Padgett is back from injury, anchoring the frontcourt as the team captain. Louisville plays great defense for Rick Pitino, allowing 37 percent shooting. They started 15-8 under the total.

UConn: Coach Jim Calhoun has another dominant Husky frontcourt. They lead the Big East in rebounding and blocks behind 6-7 junior Jeff Adrien (14 ppg, 9 rpg) and sophomore center 7-foot-3 Hasheem Thabeet (11 ppg, 7 rpg). Throw in 6-9 sophomore Stanley Robinson and that trio accounts for 23 rebounds per game!

Notre Dame: The Irish are the Big East’s highest-scoring team (81 ppg) behind an outstanding frontcourt of 6-8 sophomore Luke Harangody (20 ppg, 10 rpg) and 6-9 senior Rob Kurz (12 ppg, 8 rpg).

It’s not all about the frontcourt, though, as Notre Dame is also tops in three-point shooting (40%) and free throws.

Pitt: The Panthers lost Aaron Gray and Levon Kendall to graduation, but have come right back this season with another powerful frontcourt behind 6-7 freshman DeJuan Blair (11 ppg, 9 rpg) and 6-6 Sam Young (17 ppg, 6.8 rpg). Their defense is also the same — terrific, allowing 62 ppg and 40% shooting. One thing the Panthers have going for them is the return of junior guard Levance Fields, who’s been out since late December.

Pitt survived six week’s worth of Big East games without two starters and won more games than it lost, but the Panthers want to finish stronger than the last three seasons.