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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Monday / December 18.
  • Rutgers-Cincy Highlights; Big East Quotes & Notes

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    “Right now we’re 0-4…We gotta win. We gotta find a way to win. South Florida got a win. You’re trying to get off the snide. You’re putting pressure on yourself. You don’t want to put pressure on the team too much because you don’t want the team playing tight. But as a coach you definitely feel it inside and you say to yourself, ‘You gotta find a way to get a win.'”

    –Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez on the pressure of trying to get the first league win

    “The teams in the upper echelon are pressuring themselves to stay in the upper echelon because they’re supposed to be. The teams in the lower echelon are saying, ‘Hey, I don’t want to be last.’ Or if we were picked 13th like we were picked 13th, we don’t want to end up 15th. So I think there’s pressure on anybody in this league no matter what way you look at it.”

    –Gonzo on the pressure facing all 16 teams

    “I haven’t heard a national announcer say anything but that the Big East is the best conference in the country. We’ve had nine teams ranked this year, and I think seven or eight still are. The ACC has four teams in the top 12 in the country. Those teams are tremendous. But as far as depth, I don’t think there’s ever been a league with this many teams ranked.”

    –Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim on the Big East vs. the ACC

    “It looks like from what I’ve heard that he will be able to play Saturday [against Notre Dame]. He’s got a slight strain or bruise but he’s walking. He may be able to practice today, he should be able to practice tomorrow. We’re expecting unless something changes for him to be able to play.”

    –Boeheim on Andy Rautins’ injury

    “I think they [the players] are huge supporters of the President-elect. I think we all will be watching and paying close attention to the inauguration and the events next week. We’re all looking forward with great expectation and hopes that this President is going to make a major impact on our country. We all believe that.”

    –Boeheim on the inauguration

    “It’s always nice to win a game when you miss 18 consecutive shots…It was a character builder for our team.”

    –Cincy coach Mick Cronin on beating Rutgers

    “Going into it we all knew it was going to be crazy. Going into last night Georgetown had a losing record in our conference and they’re a Top 15 team in the nation…Being in this conference it’s almost like being in the NBA. They have teams that finish 52-30. You’re not going to run through and go 18-0 [in the Big East]. Going 9-9 in this conference is probably going to get you to the NCAA Tournament.”

    –Cronin on winning the team’s first conference game

    “I love their team’s toughness. They have four guys in double figures. They’re very well balanced. They play great team defense. I love their team defense.”

    -Nova coach Jay Wright on St. John’s, which hosts UConn tonight at MSG

    “They’ve gotten better, which all of us in the Big East hoped wouldn’t happen. They’ve really learned how to play off each other. Most teams do not have three people that can guard them straight up. It’s a pick your poison type of game and they’ve understood that.

    “I think the three of them [Jerel McNeal, Wesley Matthews and Dominic James] are pros. You never see that anymore because usually one or more of those guys will leave early. And that’s what makes them extremely dangerous this year.”

    -Wright on Marquette

    George Raveling, who’s a Villanova alum, has Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream Speech’ in his possession because he was a bodyguard for Martin Luther King and he gave it to him. Through this election we’ve talked about Obama and what we’re going to do [for the inauguration]. We’ve talked about how great our country is and how great Barack Obama is as a man.”

    -Wright on his plans for MLK Day and Tuesday’s inauguration

    Joe [Mazzulla], he’s not close to being ready to play. It’s a lot better than what it was, but he still can’t lift his arm. He can’t get it above shoulder level without pain. I think after consulting with a lot of people, the best course of action for Joe is to try to let it heal naturally instead of surgery. He and I talked and if he heals up here soon, then we can get him back. And if not, he probably won’t play the rest of the year.”

    –WVU coach Bob Huggins on the health of guard Joe Mazzulla

    “We will not have any game on Tuesday so I’m sure we’ll try to schedule something where they can have that time free.”

    –Providence coach Keon Davis on his plan’s for Tuesday’s inauguration

    “Last night’s game was a needed win. Coming up with wins, particularly at home, is essential. Now we have Duke on Saturday, so them being plopped right in the middle of our conference play, it’s another difficult game amongst our league.”

    –Georgetown coach John Thompson III on the Syracuse win and the upcoming Duke game

    “I am not sure yet. We do practice on Tuesday. I’m fortunate enough to be able to go to the swearing in, but I’m not sure what we’re going to plan for the guys after that.”

    “Whenever you have a change of President it’s a special time. It’s a very special time for me personally and a lot of people down here. It’s not coincidental that it’s happening the day after MLK’s holiday. We’re one step closer to Dr. King’s Dream.”

    –Thompson on Tuesday

    “I thought he was terrific last year and I think he’s been terrific this year. I know Jonny Flynn is special. He has the ability to totally control the game. You can’t stop him from getting to where he wants to be. He does a great job of knowing what shots he wants to take and then when to set up his teammates. I think he’s terrific.”

    –Thompson on Jonny Flynn

    “Our point guard [Malik Boothe] is probably out for another two weeks. Justin Burrell broke three bones in his face but he’s back playing. Our guys are working hard. We had a great win over Notre Dame, didn’t play as well against Pitt.”

    “We were hopeful that he [Boothe] could come back within two weeks. After the surgery there’ still quite a bit of soreness and tenderness with the thumb. Once we saw just how tender it was, we saw he wasn’t going to be able to do that at all. He was reevaluated by doctors earlier this week. He tore two ligaments and he dislocated the thumb. He’s trying hard to get back. He’ll be back hopefully for the last 12 or 13 games. We’ve got to look toward his future, not try to rush him back.”

    –St. John’s coach Norm Roberts on his team

    “Quincy [Roberts] is getting better and better. He didn’t do a great job of handling the basketball against Pittsburgh. It’s a different role for him….He did a great job for us against Notre Dame. He’s getting better and better all the time. He’s got a scorer’s mentality, and I really think he’s going to be a terrific player.”

    –Roberts on Quincy Roberts

    “[Luke] Harangody is an unbelievable scorer. The thing about our league is one night you’re playing against Harangody, who’s unbelievable, and the next night you’re playing against DeJuan Blair, who’s unbelievable.”

    –Roberts on Harangody

    “Last night our offense was fine. We scored 74 points. We missed 13 free throws and probably six or seven layups. We’re leading the league in FG percentage. Our offense is fine, our defense has been good. But we had a really bad half last night and we have to put that behind us.”

    — Boeheim on his defense against Georgetown

    “Good players will get consideration. If you put numbers up and your team wins, you’re going to get consideration. For the most part the Player of the Year comes from a team that’s winning and is putting up big numbers.”

    –Boeheim on Player of the Year options

    ‘I think Jeremy [Hazell] is well on his way to being one of the premier players in this league. He’s added the mid-range game a little more.”

    –Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez on Hazell

    “I’m concerned about it but I’m hoping it’s a positive. You don’t know until you play the game.”

    –Gonzo on the layoff between games

    “They’ve got kind of an NBA front line with [Hasheem] Thabeet and Jeff Adrien. Thabeet can change a game by himself. Jeff Adrien is a warrior….They just have the balance, they have some experience and they have a Hall of Fame coach, so they have all the ingredients you need to be up there.”

    –Gonzo on playing UConn

    “We certainly are going to talk about it. I’ll bring it up to them. Whether we’ll watch it as a team or not, I don’t know.”

    –Gonzo on the inauguration

    END

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.