Day two of the Big East Tournament has concluded. And it ended about like we though. The higher seeds all advanced because they are more talented. And despite some absolutely gritty performances some outstanding basketball games will be in store for the quarterfinals tomorrow.
Game 5: #9 South Florida v. #8 Georgetown
This was another low scoring first half, as there were only 15 total points scored after six full minutes of play. Both teams had their inside games working in this one but, as I said yesterday, jump shots would be an issue for USF. And they were. South Florida was 1-10 from behind the arc. Greg Monroe was working hard and making baskets as Georgetown continued to feed him down low. Georgetown led at the half 31-19 before going on to beat USF by a 20 point margin, 69-49. USF's Dominique Jones continued to play well, earning 21 points, five rebounds, and four assists. The scoring was a little more spread out for Georgetown as both Greg Monroe and Jason Clark had 16 points. Monroe also had eight rebounds. Georgetown shot the ball well on the day, finishing 45.8% from the floor, while USF finished shooting 29.1% USF finishing their BET run probably just on the wrong side of the NCAA bubble.
Nexe Game #8 Georgetown v. #1 Syracuse 12:00pm EST (ESPN)
Game 6: #13 St. John's v. #5 Marquette
St. John's looked badly overmatched in the first half but somehow managed to only be down to Marquette 27-17 at the half. Both teams did not shoot particularly well. However while Marquette pounded the ball inside with Lazar Hayward, and had some solid shooting from others, St. John's shot around 70% from the floor for a good portion of the second half which spurred a comeback. Marquette had a 14 point lead they saw dwindle to a four point deficit in favor of the Red Storm. However big time three point shooting from Marquette tied it up again and free throws iced the game for the 'Quette as they survive and advance. They won a close one 57 to 55. DJ Kennedy and Sean Evans both had 12 points each for St. John's. However Lazar Hayward had the game high 20 points and nine rebounds for Marquette. Marquette ended up shooting 52.5% from the floor and they hit 10-18 (55.6%) from behind the arc, while St. John's shot 43.1% and 20% respectively from the floor. St. John's did own the boards however in what could be Coach Norm Roberts last game at the helm of St. John's, despite all of his players being behind him. This was the tenth time in a row that Marquette as beaten St. John's.
Next Game: #5 Marquette v. #4 Villanova 2:00pm EST (ESPN)
Game 7: #10 Seton Hall v. #7 Notre Dame
Luke Harangody had sat out a few games before their last game of the season in which he played only around 11 minutes. He played 24 minutes off the bench in this one and had a sensational game. All the intangables went Notre Dame's way as errant bounces and scrappy plays all usually resulted in points for Notre Dame. They were up at the half 28-21. Notre Dame continued to shoot consistently and only allowed Seton Hall within nine in the second half after their biggest lead of 16 in the game. Seton Hall displayed some questionable defense on occasions, allowing Notre Dame free looks in the lane. They finished on top 68 to 56. Jeremy Hazell finished with a Hall high 15 points on 5-16 shooting and five rebounds. Notre Dame's Harangody led all scorers with 20 points, adding ten rebounds and looking like he was never injured. Seton Hall only shot 24.5% from the floor in this one, while Notre Dame shot 52.7%. Both teams shot poorly from behind the arc with the Hall making 2-16 and ND making 3-12. This should make Seton Hall's chances at an NCAA bid unlikely, but they sre still on the bubble with no bad losses and some quality wins.
Next Game: #7 Notre Dame v. #2 Pittsburgh 7:00pm EST (ESPN)
Game 8: #11 Cincinnati v. #6 Louisville
This was the best game of the day. Both teams started jacking up three pointers early and often, but Louisville's managed to hit and hit often. Cincinnati also only shot 28% from the floor in the first half, which was pretty ugly as well. Much like Notre Dame, it seemed like everything was going Louisville's way in terms of loose balls and broken plays. They led at the half 41-32. Louisville's Edgar Sosa finished the first half with six points, and started the second half with five. He played very well in thie game and gave the 'Ville some dagger moments in this game. However Cincy came back and tied the game with about 13 minutes to go. Then Cincy outhustled L'ville and got the ball inside. But the key for Cincinnati was offensive rebounds, of which they had 20 in the game. They got the ball inside and took the lead with everything going their way. Louisville made it interesting by hitting a three with 9.7 seconds left, but Cincy finishes on top in the big upset. They finish on top 69-66. Edgar Sosa was outstanding for L'ville, scoring a game high 28 points on 10-16, 5-6 shooting. Yancy Gates led Cincy with 16 points. L'ville out shot Cincinnati 44.4% to 34.7%. The Cards also owned the long ball, shooting 10-18 (55.6%), while Cincy only shot 4-18 (22.2%). Rebounds were again the key statistic for Cincy, as they outrebounded Louisville 46 to 29. Louisville is done but should be in the tournament, while Cincy rolls on in the upset victory.
Next Game: #11 Cincinnati v. #3 West Virginia 9:00pm EST (ESPN)
Some very entertaining games on the day as there were some unexpectedly close games and some very entertaining plays. Now the Big East will feature games with the top four teams in the league and most likely some excellent basketball that is even better than today.