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BIg East: Syracuse will edge out Louisville

BASKETBALL IS BACK! The 2012 college basketball season started Friday night and already a Big East team, the Connecticut Huskies upset the no. 14 ranked team the Michigan State Spartans.

Any fan of the game of basketball knows that both Pittsburgh and Syracuse enter this season as the conference lame ducks. Both have already signed their ticket to play in the ACC next season. Replacing them next season will be two strong programs Memphis and Temple, along with two not so great programs Central Florida and SMU.

Without Syracuse and Pittsburgh Big East basketball will take some getting used to but that is next year, let us enjoy this season. The Big East this season will be strong and should be able to send up to eight teams to the NCAA tournament in March of 2013.

From top to bottom, the league will be as strong if not stronger than any other conference. The talent of the Big Ten may be better, but Big East teams down the line in 12th or below will be stronger than last place teams in the Big Ten.

Last season the Syracuse Orange took the Big East regular season title and the Louisville Cardinals won the season ending Big East Tournament. This season should be a toss-up for first place in the conference but you have to choose one team and Syracuse will be that team. Even though there are four or more teams capable on any day of defeating any other team in the conference.

Last year the Orange were three games in front at the end of conference play, but it will be closer this season. Since the Big East started, every year with the exception of two, the standings have been decided by a one game differential. Look for that to be the case again this season.

Nevertheless, the cream will rise to the top as the season progresses and the top four teams to end the year will be 1. Syracuse 2. Louisville 3. Pittsburgh and 4. Cincinnati.

Also fighting for recognition will be Notre Dame, Georgetown and Marquette, with the South Florida Bulls capable of upsetting any team. This year’s MVP for the Big East will be Georgetown’s Otto Porter. He may even end up as a lottery pick in the NBA draft as he now is a threat offensively from anywhere within 15 feet.

Five other players to be aware of since they can be game changers and affect how you lay money are Gorgui Dieng of Louisville, Jack Cooley of Notre Dame, Cincinnati’s Sean Kilpatrick and two Louisville players Chane Behanan and Peyton Silva.

Syracuse will look to leave the Big East with one last title and Coach Jim Boeheim has the horses to do it. They will win 28 games plus this season. They lost a lot of talent in Scoop Jardine, Dion Waiters and Fab Melo but have Rakeem Christmas, Michael Carter-Williams and Brandon Triche. Freshman DaJuan Coleman will make a huge impact for the team this season.

Louisville will be a strong contender for the no. 1 spot in the conference and could slip past the Orange late in the season. However, they are still lacking offensive punch and defense wins games, but not ever game.

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