October 19, 2019

I Give the Oscar to Oscar

Starting today through March 16th I will be offering up my top seven NCAA basketball players of all-time.

Long before Magic Johnson, there was “The Big O.” Many believe Magic Johnson encompassed the role of a point guard, but in reality Oscar Robertson defined it.  

Oscar lost one game during three years in high school. Robertson went on to the University of Cincinnati and at that time was not allowed by the NCAA to play as a freshman. In the three years Oscar played he went to the Final Four twice and ended with a record of 79-9 during his career.

Robertson went on to win a gold medal in the 1960 Olympics and two years later he lead the NBA with 30.8 points, 11.4 assists and 12.5 rebounds per game. To this day he is the only person to end an NBA season averaging a triple-double.

Oscar’s number is retired by three NBA teams (KC, SAC MIL) which is a record and he is a member of the College and NBA Hall of Fame.

Oscar Robertson is my #7 college basketball player of all time.

Is the Big East Underrated?

The Big East went through a tough season last year to say the least, but let’s not forget this conference won consecutive BCS games the three previous years. The glaring issue right now is West Virginia isn’t the annual national title contender they were for so many years under Rich Rodriguez and no other Big East team seems ready to step up. That being said, almost every team in the conference this year truly feels they have a chance to win the Big East and cash in on the large BCS payout.

Cincinnati would love to repeat as champions, but they lost a crippling 10 defensive starters from last year’s Orange Bowl team. Quarterback Tony Pike leads a high profile offense under head coach Brian Kelly, but I’m not so sure they can recover from their defensive issues. Rutgers has had great success under coach Schiano in recent years even if they haven’t made the most impressive bowl games. Rutgers has a workable schedule with Pittsburgh, South Florida and West Virginia coming to town so keep an eye on the Scarlet Knights.

South Florida has made big strides in recent years and in 2009 might be the year they put it all together. Star quarterback Matt Grothe is in his senior year and the defense is quite talented as usual. UConn under Randy Edsall continues to focus on getting the best quality of player they can sign and then coach them up to a whole new level. Four players were drafted on the first of the NFL Draft last year which is very impressive for a school that just a few years ago stunk up the football field. Connecticut will still be solid on the defensive side of the ball and you can rest assured they will continue to focus on the rushing game.

Pittsburgh has been picked by many to win the Big East this year based on a fantastic defense along with a good special teams. The big question is how do the Panthers recover from the loss of RB LeSean McCoy in order to generate some semblance of an offense. If they can score a reasonable amount of points then they can win the Big East.

Syracuse and Louisville are the two teams who aren’t in contention this year. There isn’t really much more to say about either team other than the fact Syracuse has former Duke basketball point guard vying for the starting position at quarterback.

Below is a short list of players to keep your eyes on this year in the Big East

LB Reed Williams, Sr. West Virginia
DE George Selvie, Sr. South Florida
WR Mardy Gilyard, Sr. Cincinnati
DE Greg Romeus, Jr. Pittsburgh
QB Matt Grothe, Sr. South Florida
DT Arthur Jones, Sr. Syracuse
RB Noel Devine, Jr. West Virginia
LB Scott Lutrus, Jr. Connecticut
RB Victor Anderson, Soph. Louisville
LB Ryan D’Imperio, Sr. Rutgers

Suprise Team

South Florida – The Bulls have become a more prominent team in recent years, but this could be the one when they get over the hump. A lot of the pressure will ride on the arm and legs of Matt Grothe because you can count on their defense being solid.

Disappointing Team

West Virginia – Mr. Everything quarterback Pat White is long gone and coach Bill Stewart pales in comparison to former head coach Rich Rodriguez. Take these two factors in conjunction with an offensive line overhaul and you have a recipe for disaster.

Game of the Year

South Florida at Pittsburgh. This year is really wide open in the Big East, but this game could be the deciding factor in who wins the conference crown. Look for this game to be a defensive brawl and don’t forget the 26-21 victory Pittsburgh pulled out last year in South Florida