College basketball is a now a few weeks in, and I have gotten an initial look at most Big East teams. At the halfway point on the non-conference season, the Big East has an interesting combination of big wins and head-scratching losses.
Pitt-Undefeated so far, but looming tests against Wisconsin and Oklahoma State will show just how good Jamie Dixon's squad is.
Marquette-Two very solid wins over Duke and Texas Tech and a bad loss to North Dakota State basically provides a synapsis of Big East's non-con showing as a whole. An incredibly athletic squad, the play behind the arc needs to drastically improve on both ends of the floor for Warriors to be mentioned among the nation's elite.
Notre Dame-Mike Brey has likely saved his job with major wins over Maryland and Alabama in the past week. While the Irish still have a bevy of white boys, the athletic Russell Carter can play with anyone in the conference.
Syracuse-The Orange suffered tough losses to Wichita State and Oklahoma State, but should compete for a top four Big East spot.
UConn-Jim Calhoun has eased his talented young squad into this season, but Huskies have as much raw talent as any Big East team.
Louisville-The Cards have lost to Dayton and Arizona, but Pitino's team should come together once Andre McGee comes back and Derrick Caracter settles into game action. Also, a healthy Juan Palacios has been at a very high level so far this season.
Providence-They had an awful loss against Brown, but the upset over BC and respectable showing against Florida provides some hope for Friars fans.
DePaul-The maddening inconsistency continues, as the Demons have mixed double digit losses to Bradley and Northwestern in with a win over Kansas. A couple of close losses in Maui leave them at 3-4 against D-1 squads, but upcoming home games against Wake Forest and an underrated Cal squad gives them plenty of opportunity to ride into conference play on a high note.
Georgetown-The Hoyas have bitterly disappointed out of the gate, with home losses to Old Dominion and Oregon and blowing a 7 point halftime lead at Duke. Jeff Green has been non-existant in big games, and the Hoyas have badly missed the steady backcourt play Ashanti Cook and Darrell Owens gave them last season.
West Virginia-John Beilein's crew may not have many familiar names, but a strong showing at the inaugural Old Spice Classic and a win over NC State has elevated them into the discussion of upper division Big East teams. Frank Young has taken his game to another level, and a solid group of newcomers has helped to prevent the major fall predicted for Mountaineers this season.
Barring a major surprise, these will be the Big East teams that compete for an NCAA Tournament spot this season. Pitt, Marquette, UConn and Syracuse have a chance to earn a top-four seed, with the rest competing for 3-4 other at large spots.