On the eve of the greatest conference tournament in college basketball, myself, Sean from Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician and Chris from Rakes of Mallow figured this was the perfect time for some inter-bloggal Big East hoops talk.
The topics in question are who should be the Big East Player of the Year (announced today) and who is the favorite to leave MSG with the crown. Chris got the ball rolling last night.
First things first, doing away with the ten-player all-conference teams should have taken place two years ago, but it was nice to see the change finally happen. I don't care if the league expands to 25 teams, placing ten people on an all-league team completely diminishes the honor.
That said, let's move onto the POY discussion.
I think Jerel McNeal is deserving of his first team status, but that he's also played himself out of contention for Player of the Year honors since Dominic James went down and the Golden Eagles dropped four straight. So that leaves...
Hasheem Thabeet - The most valuable player in the conference
DeJuan Blair - The most consistent player in the conference who got the better of Thabeet and his team in both head-to-head meetings
Terrence Williams - The best player on the conference's regular season champion
Luke Harangody - The player with the conference's most impressive numbers
Sam Young - The guy who I think is the best overall player in the league
A legit and indisputable case can be made for each of the five players, but I'm going with Williams (shocker) because I think he's the best combination of impressive stat line and value to his team, an equation which equals "most outstanding" (take a college geometry course and get back to me). No other player in the league does as many things as well as he does, and Louisville is a middle of-the-road team in this conference without him on their roster.
As far as tournament champion, it's really hard to peg anyone but Pitt as the pre-tip favorite. Polk was president the last time they didn't make it to the championship game, they're the only team in the league that appears completely fearless of UConn, and they've knocked Louisville out of this thing every year since the Cardinals made the jump from Conference
UM State USA.
I'm taking the Panthers, but if you're giving me a second choice then I'm going with Villanova. I think if they can get by a Marquette team looking to prove that it can make a run in the dance without James then they have the potential to get really hot and shoot their next two opponents out of the gym.
Feel free to discuss either of these topics or why you think Depaul rolls through the next five days.