Big East This Week

Our weekly look at the Big East Conference:

VILLANOVA SCHEDULE
Tomorrow: at Seton Hall, 8 (WPHL)
Saturday: vs. Louisville, Wachovia Center, Noon (ESPN).

GAME OF THE WEEK: In this neighborhood, you usually have your choice of a dozen or so. We’ll go with Georgetown at Notre Dame, tonight (ESPN, 7). Hoyas have won at Connecticut and lost at home to Pittsburgh, where they’d won 26 straight. Now this. Irish have won 43 in a row in South Bend.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Speaking of brutal stretches, Rutgers just lost to the top three-ranked teams in the country back-to-back-to-back. But freshman guard Mike Rosario, a McDonald’s All-American in high school, scored 26 against North Carolina and followed with 22 against Pitt. He’s averaging 17.3 points a game, seventh in the conference (and tops for a first-year guy). He also leads the Big East in free-throw shooting, at 88.5 percent (46-for-52).

BY THE NUMBERS: For the third time in six seasons under Jamie Dixon, Pitt is 14-0. The other three times, the Panthers started 10-0, 10-0 and 11-0. In 2003-04, they won their first 18. In that span, the defending Big East champions are 6-5 in the NCAA Tournament, having made two Sweet 16 appearances.

SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW: On the theory that it’s never too early too look ahead, Marquette’s last five games are at Georgetown, vs. UConn, at Louisville, at Pitt and vs. Syracuse. Ouch.

ETC.: Four players are averaging double-doubles: Notre Dame’s Luke Harangody (23.5 ppg/12.5 rpg), Pitt’s DeJuan Blair (14.2/12.5), DePaul’s Mac Koshwal (14.2/ 11.2) and UConn’s Hasheem Thabeet (14.0/10.5). They’re also the only four averaging 10 or more rebounds. Marquette’s Lazar Hayward (17.1/9.2) and UConn’s Jeff Adrien (14.4/9.0) are close.

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