Pico over at Rumble in the Garden (formerly East Coast Bias) put together another excellent Big East blogger roundtable for end of year awards. Take a look at my answers after the jump:
Be sure to stop by Pico's site Rumble in the Garden for the everyone's picks.
Here were mine:
Newcomer of the Year and Rookie of the Year: Newcomer of the year is Jae Crowder by a slim margin of Cleveland Melvin. Crowder is averaging 13 points/7 rebounds per game for Marquette and is hitting 50% of his shots. He also takes care of the ball with a near 3/1 assist to turnover ratio and is able to hit a three-point shot with some modicum of regularity. Melvin gets my ROY vote - if you discount the games he didn't start, his average goes from about 14 points per game to almost 18. He could be a first-team candidate next year.
Big East Coach of the Year: I'll take Steve Lavin. I expected St. John's to be decent this year, but didn't expect the way they've come on so strong in conference play. To beat Pitt, Georgetown, Notre Dame by 18, Duke by 15, and UConn by 17...all in one year? That's pretty incredible. Plus, I'm factoring in his recruiting for next year's class, which is equally as impressive.
Most Disappointing/Surprising Teams in the Big East: The most surprising? With Jeremy Hazell, Herb Pope, and Jeff Robinson, three players that have/had NBA aspirations, I'll go with Seton Hall. They actually don't have a ton of bad losses, but I expected more. Most surprising for me is Cincinnati or St. John's. I'll go with St. John's because they have a better resume.
Most Surprising (positive) Player at Pitt: I'll say Talib Zanna has been the biggest surprise. He really has tailed off since a good start early this season starting in place of an injured Nasir Robinson, but I'd still go with him. He doesn't have huge numbers overall and has struggled in several games this season, but at times he's shown he's capable of doing a lot more.
Biggest Disappointing Player at Pitt: Hard to come up with a biggest disappointment as well, but I'll go with Dante Taylor. His numbers have improved and he looks much more comfortable out there. But for a McDonald's All-American, it's safe to say that Pitt fans expected a lot more than we've seen so far. The biggest problem for me isn't so much the numbers he puts up (since he's a reserve), but it's the limited offensive game he's shown. A lot of his points come from put backs or shots right around the basket. I haven't seen too much of an ability to create his own shot - at least not as much as I hoped for.
How will Pitt do in the Big East Tournament? I don't know, and I'll be the first to say I really don't care. That's definitely not a cheap shot at the question, it's more about the reality that Pitt's focus needs to be on the NCAAs. They've had a good regular season in the conference, and that's enough for me. I wish they'd take it easy a bit and not go all out in the Big East tourney, but I know there's no chance at that. I'll say they lose in the final, but in actuality (and for my own selfish reasons), I don't know if I want them playing that many games.
Which Team are you Afraid to Meet in the Tournament? If I've got to pick one, I'd say Notre Dame. They slow the game down enough that it can give any team trouble and Ben Hansbrough killed Pitt in their game. The thing that I keep going back to was the fact that it was at the end of the game when Pitt needed stops and they simply couldn't get them. If you're scoring continually against Pitt when they're in lockdown mode, you're doing something right.
Let's assume 11 teams from the Big East get to the NCAA Tournament. How many get...
To the Sweet Sixteen? Six
To the Elite Eight? Three
To the Final Four? One
To the Final Game? Zero