Big East Men’s Basketball Notebook

The Big East played a big role in what studio analysts across the country dubbed "Shocker Saturday."

At the start of the day there were three unbeaten teams in the country. By the end of the day there were none. Two of the squads lost to Big East foes and Tennessee topped Florida for the clean sweep.

The biggest upset came when Georgetown overcame J.J. Redick's 41 points and held off No. 1 Duke 87-84. St. John's also played the role of spoiler, topping No. 9 Pittsburgh 55-50.

These games had more in common than previously undefeated teams losing for the first times.

In both cases the victor had a stellar first half.

St. John's jumped out to a 14-0 lead and cruised to a 31-19 halftime advantage. Georgetown executed its Princeton offense to perfection, scoring an easy basket off a backdoor cut and bounce pass on six first-half possessions, en route to a 42-28 lead at the brake.

"We could not match their intensity for a whole half. That doesn't happen," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said in The Washington Times. "John (Thompson III) and his kids played with all their heart for 40 minutes — a very, very impressive performance."

Another connection was poor play by star players.

Georgetown's 7-foot-2 center Roy Hibbert altered Shelden Williams' first shot of the game and held Redick's low-post side kick to a season-low four points. It was 14 points below his season average. Pittsburgh's leading scorer, Carl Krauser, was held to 10 points on 5-for-17 shooting.

Finally, all the losses came on the road.

Georgetown won in front of a sell-out crowd of 20,035 at the MCI Center. Only 6,942 fans showed up at Madison Square Garden, but included in that count were 10 St. John's legends including Lou Carnesecca, Mark Jackson, Chris Mullin and Dick McGuire who received "Legacy Honors" during the weekend.

"The way the crowd reacted, you could feel it in here," Carnesecca, the team's former coach, told the New York Daily News. "It was a big slice of old time. They couldn't have played any harder."

Lies and statistics

Through Sunday's games, the Big East is the third strongest conference in the country based on RPI rankings. This is especially surprising given the play of Georgetown, St. John's and West Virginia over the weekend.

Gansey the pick-pocket

In front of a national television audience, Mike Gansey showed the college basketball world what Marquette fans already knew: He is more than just a spot-on shooter.

With 7.2 seconds left in the second half and the Mountaineers leading UCLA by three, Gansey stole the ball from heralded Bruins' guard Jordan Farmar to secure a 60-56 victory. Gansey scored 24 points on 7-of-8 shooting against the then-No. 18 Bruins.