Top 15 Big East Players Who Should Have Big Games This Week
Big East: 15 Players Who Should Have Big Games This Week
The Big East appears to be the toughest conference in the nation this season and at this point there are several teams that can emerge to represent the conference in the NCAA tournament. This week there are several games that could make or break a teams season, but which players will step up big this week for their teams?
If this years basketball season has taught us anything, it is that any team can lose on any given night. It has also taught us that anyone player can become a star overnight.
There has already been two Big East games this week. The No. 23 Pittsburgh Panthers beat Seton Hall at home, 56-46. Fuquan Edwin tried his best to help Seton Hall upset Pittsburgh with his 23 points, five steals and four rebounds. But the Panthers Steven Adams played huge underneath with eight points, 15 rebounds and two blocks.
The No.9 Syracuse Orange, who are ranked first in the Big East, beat No.25 Notre Dame at home, 63-47. C.J. Fair was the star of the game for Syracuse with 18 points, 10 rebounds and three steals.
So who will become a star of the Big East conference the rest of the week?
Will C.J. Fair continue to play well when the Orange play St. Johns on Sunday afternoon?
Which of the young players will lead St. Johns to pull off upsets against Connecticut and Syracuse?
In this list I answer these questions and more, so let's take a look at the top 15 Big East players who should have big games this week.
Vander Blue, Marquette
Marquette has one of the easiest schedules this week within the Big East, as they take on South Florida at home Wednesday and then take on the DePaul Blue Demons on the road Saturday. All though these are not the most difficult teams, Marquette needs junior Vander Blue to continue to shoot the ball well.
Blue leads the team with 14.9 points a game and is shooting 46-percent from the floor. He needs to play well in order for Marquette to stay in the top 25.
Tray Woodall, Pittsburgh
Tray Woodall and the Pittsburgh Panthers already won one game this week, but they must play No.17 Cincinnati on the road Saturday. Woodall had 11 points in the win over Seton Hall Monday, but even though he only played 24 minutes, he didn't shoot very well.
Pitt will need their senior point guard to make smart passes and shots if they want to beat a very talented and athletic Cincinnati team.
Toarlyn Fitzpatrick, South Florida
South Florida is last in the Big East and doesn't really have a chance of doing anything in the post season, but they do have an opportunity this week to pull out two big upsets. In order to win this week though they need senior big man Toarlyn Fitzpatrick to play well.
Fitzpatrick is South Florida's second leading scorer with 10.6 a game and their second leading rebounder with 5.2 per game. He will need to be strong underneath to beat Marquette Wednesday and Villanova Saturday.
Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati
Cincinnati is playing excellent basketball and one of the main reasons is the play of junior guard Sean Kilpatrick. He averages more than 18 points a game and grabs 5.5 rebounds per game.
Kilpatrick will have to continue to shoot well as Cincinnati plays Providence on the road on Wednesday and then Pittsburgh at home on Saturday
Russ Smith, Louisville
Russ Smith is one of the most explosive players in college basketball, but sometimes can be inconsistent. The Louisville Cardinals need Smith to play smart and not take too many forced shots. Because when he plays smart, Louisville is the best team in the country.
Smith is averaging 18.4 points and 2.2 steals per game. He must lead the Cardinals this week as they go on the road to play Rutgers and Notre Dame, if they win both Louisville should be back in the top 10.
Otto Porter Jr., Georgetown
The No.20 Georgetown Hoyas only have to play one game this week, but it is a road game at Rutgers. The Hoyas can not afford to lose against a team like Rutgers and must rely on Otto Porter Jr. to keep them in the top 25.
Porter is the Hoyas leading scorer with 14.8 points per game, he also leads them in rebounding with 7.6 per game.
Myles Mack, Rutgers
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights must play against two top 25 teams this week in the Louisville Cardinals and the Georgetown Hoyas. For Rutgers to have a chance, sophomore point guard Myle Mack must play well.
Mack is very quick and passes the ball well. It will be a fun matchup to watch him and Louisville's Russ Smith go at it Wednesday night.
Mouphtaou Yarou, Villanova
Villanova has a very good chance of winning both of their games this week, which would give them a 6-5 record in conference play. They must go on the road to play DePaul Tuesday night and then play South Florida on Saturday–both very winnable games.
Mouphtaou Yarou, Nova's 6'10” senior, needs to play strong underneath this week and dominate the boards. He is averaging 8.9 points, 6.7 rebounds and 0.7 blocks per game, but he has the potential to put up a lot better numbers. Villanova will need him to put up better numbers if they are going to have success this week.
Jakarr Sampson, St. Johns
St. Johns has a 6-4 record in Big East play and could really move up if they can beat Connecticut and Syracuse this week. Of course St. Johns is a very young team, but they are also very talented.
Freshman Jakarr Sampson is having a great first year averaging 14.4 points and leading the team in rebounds with 6.6 per game. If he can play wiser than his years, St. Johns can move closer to the top in conference standings.
Gorgui Dieng, Louisville
Gorgui Dieng was once thought to just be a dominant blocker, but he has slowly become a very all-around player for the Louisville Cardinals. He need a good game Wednesday as the Cards play Rutgers, but he will need a fantastic game against Notre Dame when he is matched up against Jack Cooley.
Dieng and Cooley have played a lot against each other over the past three years and it is always a battle. Gorgui is healthy from a wrist injury he sustained earlier in the year and is starting to get his confidence back, hopefully for Louisville he is up for another big challenge this week.
Eric Atkins, Notre Dame
Notre Dame has probably the most difficult schedule this week as they play No.9 Syracuse and then take on No. 11 Louisville. They will need smart passes and good ball movement by their guard Eric Atkins if they want to keep their No.25 ranking.
Adkins isn't known for his scoring, although he is a terrific shooter. He is averaging 11.8 points a game and delivers 6.2 assists per game. Adkins will be pressured by some of the best guards in the nation this week, he could make a great name for himself if he plays big.
DAngelo Harrison, St. Johns
We already discussed the opportunity that St. Johns has this week to move up the Big East rankings. Another player, other than Jakarr Sampson, who needs to step up on both ends of the court is sophomore D'Angelo Harrison.
Harrison leads St. Johns in scoring with 18.9 points per game. With his ability to shoot from anywhere on the court, he can help his team win any game. He must take smart shots and not give up turnovers.
Cleveland Melvin, DePaul
Like South Florida, there isn't much DePaul can do to tarnish their season– but they might be able to save their coaches job if they go on a late run. DePaul has some talented players coming in next year, but there is a chance that their coach Oliver Purnell wont be around to enjoy them.
DePaul needs junior Cleveland Melvin to take control of the team as they take on Villanova and Marquette. Melvin is averaging 16.5 points and 7.9 rebounds. If DePaul is gonna win any of their games this week, it must be behind the play of Melvin.
C.J. Fair, Syracuse
Syracuse already dominated their first game this week against Notre Dame behind the play of C.J. Fair, but will he continue to play well against St. Johns on Sunday–probably.
Fair has been on fire lately, not just scoring a lot of points, but rebounding as well. Syracuse shouldn't have a problem beating St. Johns at home, but the Orange need Fair to continue to be consistent as they have a tough stretch of games coming up.
Bryce Cotton, Providence
Providence is 11-11 on the season and is 3-7 in conference play, but that is not because guard Bryce Cotton hasn't tried. He is averaging 21.4 points per game, while shooting 41-percent from three-point land. The kid can play.
Because of his ability to score, Providence can still make a late run– although they better do it fast. They will take on Cincinnati Wednesday and then travel to South Florida on Saturday. If Cotton is on, I could see Providence winning both game. It will at least be fun to watch him try.