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Ranking the Top 10 Basketball Players in the Big East

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Guards Dominate in Top Ranked Basketball Players in Big East

Year of the Guard
Mark L. Baer-US Presswire

Consider the 2012-13 Big East Conference basketball season the “Year of the Guard”. Nine of the 16 players receiving accolades in the preseason Big East coaches' poll are guards. Eight of the Rant Sports top ten players in the Big East are guards.

Louisville Cardinals senior guard Peyton Siva leads the way. Big East coaches made Siva the unanimous choice for preseason Player of the Year. A first-team All-American last year, Siva commands the offense with confidence. Even with preseason pressure, expect Siva to continue to weave his way through defenses and dish assists to talented teammates.

With a Final Four appearance tucked in his psyche, Siva knows what tournament toughness tastes like. His appetite for winning it all could carry the Cardinals to the finals.

Siva may be the coaches' unanimous choice for best player, but when Big East opponents were asked who they thought was the toughest guard to guard, Providence Friars Vincent Council came up most.

“I give props to Peyton Siva….all the rest of the guards in the Big East, but I think the hardest guy to guard is Vincent Council,” said Pittsburgh Panthers senior guard Tray Woodall. “He’s shifty. People underestimate how strong he is.”

Perhaps buried in obscurity under Providence’s poor performance in the Big East, Council is quietly having a record-breaking career. Council averaged 7.5 assists per game last year. He is on pace to break Ernie DiGregorio’s career assists school record.

As a freshman, South Florida Bulls guard Anthony Collins averaged 9 points per game on a team where scoring was a premium. He shot nearly 60 percent down the stretch and was key to his team's improvement from 10 wins in 2010-11 to 22 wins last year.

Whether they are seniors hoping to go out on top or rising sophomores who hope to prove their freshmen season was not a fluke, this year, in the Big East “Year of the Guard” the backcourt takes center stage.

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#10 Shabazz Napier - Connecticut

Anthony Gruppuso-US Presswire

An excellent outside shooter, Connecticut HuskiesShabazz Napier averaged 13 points and 5.8 assists last year. Napier has the difficult task of leading his team into the post Jim Calhoun era. The Huskies are also ineligible for post season play due to low Academic Progress Rate (APR). Still, after an up and down season last year, Napier is eager to prove he has leadership chops.

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#9 D'Angelo Harrison - St. John's

Anthony Gruppuso-US Presswire

St. John's guard D'Angelo Harrison earned a spot on the Big East All-Rookie team last year and led the team in scoring, averaging 17 points per game. He set a school record for points scored by a freshman, 544.

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#8 Anthony Collins - South Florida

Kim Klement-US Presswire

South Florida Bulls guard Anthony Collins surprised many when he averaged 9 points and 5.2 points per game as a freshman. He shot nearly 60 percent down the stretch and was key to his team improving from 10 wins in 2010-11 to 22 wins last year.

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#7 Cleveland Melvin - DePaul

Jim O'Connor-US Presswire

An offensive threat, DePaul Blue Demons forward Cleveland Melvin led the Big East in scoring, averaging 17.5 points per game. The 6-8, 208 pound junior grabbed 7.4 rebounds per game. The Blue Demons may need even more points from Melvin to offset the team's league-worst scoring defense that gave up 76.7 points pr game.

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#6 Jack Cooley - Notre Dame

Anthony Gruppuso-US Presswire

Last year Notre Dame Fighting Irish forward Jack Cooley earned Most Improved Player in the Big East honors after averaging 12.5 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. He shot an astounding 62.5 percent from the floor. At 6-9, 244-pounds, Cooley is an imposing figure in the paint.

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#5 Sean Kilpatrick - Cincinnati

Don McPeak-US Presswire

Cincinnati Bearcat's Sean Kilpatrick has a forward's body and point-guard maneuverability. Kilpatrick led the Bearcats in scoring, averaging 14.3 points per game. The 6-4, 221-pound junior was tied for first in the Big East in 3-point pointers, with 92.

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#4 Otto Porter - Georgetown

Greg Bartram-US Presswire

Many predict a break out year for Georgetown Hoyas forward Otto Porter. Several draft analysts project the 6-9, 200-pound sophomore as a mid to late first-round pick in the 2013 NBA draft. Selected to the Big East preseason first team, Porter is that agile big man, fluid in transition, who can take over a game.

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#3 Gorgui Dieng - Louisville

Bob Donnan-US Presswire

Opposing players driving for layups against the Louisville Cardinals basketball team, best be aware of where Center Gorgui Dieng is before they toss up a shot. Because Dieng might swat that stuff into the stands. A 6-11, 245-pound junior, Dieng set a Louisville single-season record with 128 blocked shots. He led the Big East and was ranked eighth in the NCAA in blocks.

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#2 Vincent Council - Providence

Kim Klement-US-Presswire

Shifty. That's what Pittsburgh Panthers guard Tray Woodall calls Providence guard Vincent Council. Tenacious and relentless, Council attacks a defense with authority. His "Kobe-esque" fade-aways and precision passing give opponents fits. Council led the league in assists, 7.5 per game and the team in scoring, 15. Friars coach Ed Cooley believes Council is the best point guard in the country, not just in the Big East.

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#1 Peyton Siva - Louisville

Mark Zerof-US Presswire

It's unanimous, Louisville Cardinals guard Peyton Siva is the best player in the Big East Conference. At least that's what Big East coaches think. They selected the senior preseason Player of the Year. Siva elevated his game in last year's NCAA Tournament, leading the Cardinals to the Final Four. With preseason hoopla lavished on him and his team, Siva need only live up to the hype to lead his Louisville back to the Final Four. If he exceeds it, coach Rick Pitino could win his second NCAA title.