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.
NEWARK — Eleven Big East teams remain alive for an NCAA bid.
That’s not to say 11 will make it. They probably won’t.
But 11 teams are currently at or near the .500 mark in the league, which generally is good enough to generate an invite to the Big Dance.
After Saturday’s wild day of action, the following teams are above or at .500, or within striking distance: Syracuse (9-1), Marquette (7-2), Georgetown (6-3), Notre Dame (5-3), USF (5-3), UConn (4-3), Louisville (5-4), Cincinnati (5-4), West Virginia (5-4), Seton Hall (4-5) and Rutgers (4-5).
NEWARK — Even Rick Pitino knows West Virginia was robbed.
“Syracuse would’ve been a goal-tend away from having a tie for second place [in the Big East] today,” Pitino said after Louisville beat Seton Hall, 60-51, at the Prudential Center.
Pitino was referring to the missed call in Syracuse’s 63-61 win over West Virginia in which Baye Keita’s obvious goal-tend of a shot by Deniz Kilicli with 10.6 seconds remaining was missed by the officiating crew of Karl Hess, Gene Steratore and Brian O’Connell.
Moe Harkless and D’Angelo Harrison made quite an impression on Coach K during their first visit to Cameron Indoor Stadium.
“Those two kids, Harkless and Harrison are just outstanding basketball players,” Coach K said after No. 8 Duke held on to beat St. John’s 83-76 Saturday. “Harkless had a terrific stat-line against us.”
Yes, he did.
The 6-foot-8 rookie from Queens put up 30 points and 13 rebounds in the loss, while the 6-3 Harrison added 21 points, including a 3-pointer with 20.7 seconds left that cut Duke’s lead to 79-75.
UConn freshman guard Ryan Boatright was reinstated Saturday by the NCAA and can play Sunday against Notre Dame.
The NCAA issued a press release Saturday detailing what it says were more than $8,000 in impermissible payments given to Boatright and his family by a third party both before and after the guard enrolled at UConn.
Boatright has had to repay $4,500 to a charity.
The freshman served a six-game suspension at the start of the season because of an infraction that involved the acceptance of a plane ticket while he was playing AAU basketball.