As we sit on pins and needles waiting for the full SU basketball schedule to be released, the powers that be continue to feed us pieces of it, rather than releasing the whole slate at once. But like a weekend crowd at Sam’s Club (or whatever your big box wholesale retailer of choice may be), we devour the tiny samples like caged animals without regard for simple propriety.
Hey, old lady under the hairnet – quit judging me.
Anyway, back to the news, on Thursday afternoon, the Big East announced the conference’s share of Big Monday games for the upcoming basketball season. The Orange’s games include a Martin Luther King Day matchup with Pittsburgh on January 17, a Valentine’s Day date with the Mountaineers, and what could be another pivotal Big East game the following Monday on the road at Villanova.
The first of the three games might not be too flattering. There are two coaches in the conference who seem to have Boeheim’s number in recent seasons: Rick Pitino and Jamie Dixon. The Orange have beaten the Panthers just once in the last six seasons, a memorable 65-61 victory in the championship game of the memorable 2006 conference tournament. To find SU’s last regular season triumph over Pitt, you have to go all the way back to 2004, the Panthers’ first ever loss at the Peterson Events Center. You could say that SU is due, and for some Orange fans, the crushing loss late in the 2008 season still resonates.
Vegas partygoer Mountaineer head coach Bob Huggins lost a good deal from last year’s team, with Da’Sean Butler, Devin Ebanks and Wellington Smith all gone. But Deniz Kilicili will finally be eligible for the full season and Kevin Jones is set to explode, according to early reports. Joe Mazzulla is also back, as is Cam Thoroughman, the latest entry to my All-”You Mean He STILL Hasn’t Graduated Yet?” team. On Valentine’s Day, love will be in the air, as well as many lobs to Kris Joseph.
The next Monday will bring a rematch of the biggest game of last season, this time on Villanova’s home floor. The return trip could again be the deciding game in the Big East. The Wildcats lost Scottie Reynolds, but the backcourt belongs to Corey Fisher and his Gypsy 105-point pickup games. They also bring in a couple nice freshmen in JayVaughn Pinkston and James Bell, while Corey Stokes brings back his deadly aim.