Big East basketball notebook

Notre Dame's Luke Harangody looks good for Big East Player of the Year.

Villanova cools from four-game losing streak. ,”Connecticut is currently the hottest team in the Big East, but if it is going to continue to climb the conference standings, it will have to be done without guard Jerome Dyson.

Dyson, a sophomore averaging 14.3 points per game, was suspended along with backup guard Doug Wiggins on Jan. 24 following an incident in which University of Connecticut police found both players in a car in a parking lot with two bottles of alcohol.

Dyson has been suspended indefinitely, whereas Wiggins was reinstated Feb. 1.

Despite Dyson's absence, the Huskies keep on winning. Following a win against No. 7 Indiana on Jan. 26, the Huskies have reeled off two straight Big East victories against Louisville and then-No. 18 Pittsburgh.

Dyson's suspension has paved the way for junior A.J. Price, who has averaged 14.6 points per game on the season and 18.3 points per game when Dyson is not in the lineup.

Connecticut is also getting solid contributions from junior Jeff Adrien and sophomores Hasheem Thabeet and Stanley Robinson, each of who are averaging more than 10 points per game.

Dyson included, Connecticut has five players averaging double figures. With a fairly easy schedule for the rest of the regular season—the Huskies aren't slated to play a single ranked opponent—Connecticut may have the best chance of challenging Georgetown for the top spot in the Big East standings.

Cool hand Luke

Notre Dame's Luke Harangody is making a strong case to be in the discussion for Big East Player of the Year. Among all players in the conference, Harangody is tops in points per game (20.4), second in total rebounds per game (10.0) and second in offensive rebounds per game (6.2).

Harangody and the Fighting Irish are currently second in the Big East with a 6-2 conference record and are 16-4 overall record.

Notre Dame, however, has gone only 1-2 against ranked opponents, and it has its work cut out for it with games against No. 16 Marquette, Connecticut, No. 21 Pittsburgh and Louisville still to come.

Ice cold 'cats

On Jan. 6 the Villanova Wildcats were on top of the world. The Wildcats, who were ranked No. 17 at the time, had just upset then-No. 13 Pittsburgh, and they had won their seventh game in eight contests.

Since then, Big East opponents have been giving Villanova fits. The Wildcats are currently on a four-game losing streak and have fallen to 12th place in the Big East with a 3-6 conference record and a 13-7 overall mark.

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