Men’s Big East Notebook
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After being widely regarded as one of the best conferences in the nation for much of this basketball season, only one word comes to mind when describing the Big East postseason performance thus far: disappointing.
Of the 16 teams in the conference, 13 were selected for postseason play including eight teams in the NCAA Tournament, with five other schools receiving bids to play in the National Invitation Tournament.
As of Monday night, only two teams remain out of those 13 schools.
Georgetown stunned by Ohio
After its surprising runner-up finish in the Big East conference tournament as a No. 8 seed, The Hoyas were thought of by many as a sleeper pick to reach the Elite Eight and possibly beyond in the NCAA Tournament.
Georgetown drew the Ohio Bobcats out of the Mid American Conference, a team that was seeded ninth in its own conference tournament and many felt would be no match for the mighty Hoyas.
Instead, the Bobcats shocked the nation with a surprisingly easy 97-83 victory to send the Hoyas home much earlier than anticipated.
Marquette, Louisville and Notre Dame also suffered opening round losses to go along with wins by Syracuse, West Virginia, Villanova and Pittsburgh.
Syracuse, WVU survive
No. 1 Syracuse coasted to an 87-65 victory over Gonzaga in the second round after dispatching Vermont Friday and will face No. 5 seed Butler in Salt Lake City, Utah, Thursday night.
Wesley Johnson scored a career-high 31 points and pulled down 14 rebounds and Andy Rautins dropped in 24 points as Syracuse hit 12 3-pointers in the victory over Gonzaga. The Orange made the round of 16 for the second straight year.
No. 2 West Virginia held on for a hard-fought 68-59 win over Missouri Sunday after destroying Morgan State in the first round. The Mountaineers advance to face No. 11 seed Washington in the round of 16 in Syracuse, N.Y., Thursday.
Da’Sean Butler accounted for 19 of West Virginia’s 30 points in the first half, and then finished with 28 in the Missouri victory. Kevin Jones added 13 points and nine rebounds for the Big East conference tournament champions.
No. 3-seeded Pittsburgh fell to sixth-seeded Xavier in the second round, while Villanova was upset by a St. Mary’s team that was seeded 10th, despite winning its conference tournament.
Connecticut, Cincinnati reach second round of NIT
No. 2 seeded Cincinnati ran past No. 7 seeded Weber State March 17 in a 76-62 victory, before falling to No. 3 Dayton, 81-66 at home in the second round of the NIT.
The Bearcats enjoyed a surprising run to the Big East quarterfinals in the conference tournament with wins over Rutgers and Louisville.
Deonta Vaughn scored 16 points and became Cincinnati’s career leader in assists and 3-point shots in the Bearcats first-round victory.
Connecticut fell well short of expectations this season and was seeded No. 4 in its region of the NIT. The Huskies promptly defeated Northeastern in the first round, 59-57, before falling to Virginia Tech on the road, 65-63 Monday night.
Player of the week
Wesley Johnson, Syracuse, Jr., F
Johnson scored a career-high 31 points in the win over Gonzaga while also pulling down 14 rebounds in the Orange’s easy victory. He also poured in 18 points and six rebounds in Syracuse’s opening round win over Vermont.
Points per game: 16.5
Rebounds per game: 8.5
Assists per game: 2.3
Field goal percentage: 50
Three point percentage: 41.3
Free-throw percentage: 77.7