Big East hoops dropping off in '09-10?
Back when a slew of Big East basketball stars were leaving early for the NBA Draft, we wondered how far the conference would fall from its ridiculous depth in 2008-09, with an unprecedented number of ranked teams during the season.
Here's a first look at less daunting Big East -- Foxsports.com's Jeff Goodman has a "ridiculously early" top 25 for next season, and there's just one Big East team in the top 10 and only three ranked. He has Villanova ranked fifth, Connecticut 13th and West Virginia 14th. He includes 10 more schools to watch after his top 25, and Notre Dame and Georgetown are included with those.
The new super-deep league? It might be the Big Ten, which has six teams in Goodman's top 20, including returning NCAA runner-up Michigan State and Purdue in this top 10.
-- ESPN.com blogger Brian Bennett has been counting down the top 30 football players in the Big East, and there's only four spots left. Those four are almost certainly USF's Matt Grothe and George Selvie, Cincinnati QB Tony Pike and West Virginia running back Noel Devine. Hard to imagine teammates being the top two picks, so I'm going to say Devine fourth, Selvie third, Pike second and Grothe No. 1. Selvie is absolutely crucial to the Bulls defense, but losing a quarterback radically changes an offense, especially one in which the quarterback accounts for such a high percentage of the yards as Grothe does with USF.
For what it's worth, here's the breakdown of schools represented in his top 30: West Virginia 6, Pittsburgh 5, USF and Cincinnati 4, Connecticut, Louisville and Rutgers 3, Syracuse 2. Only USF player that seemed glaringly absent is linebacker Kion Wilson, who will be a no-brainer at the end of the season.
-- We'd presumed that Chipola College forward Gary Flowers -- one of the top junior college players in the country -- was headed to the NBA or overseas or some other variation of pro basketball, but reports today have him signing with Southern Miss. Southern Miss, of course, had been mentioned as a possible next job for Chipola coach Greg Heiar, so we'll have to see what happens there.
-- Nice read in the Palm Beach Post about USF defensive end David Bedford and the progress he's made in the classroom since his high school days.