Big East Basketball Preview: Superlatives

Andy Lyons - Getty Images

From the most underrated to overrated, players who need to step up, and most frequent targets of GIFs, we've got just about everything you need to warm the oven on the 2012-2013 Big East basketball season.

Like when people take a solid stance on something? Need a jumping off point to get you started on the 2012 - 2013 Big East basketball season?

We've got both for you, with a wide range of Big East basketball superlatives begging to cause friendly banter and contentious arguing. The good and bad of the league's upcoming hoops season is below.


Most Overrated (Player)

  • Cleveland Melvin - DePaul: An offensive rating of 96 on a team that has no other options means Melvin will likely have a high volume/low efficiency junior season.
  • Otto Porter - Georgetown: There's no question he's one of the best players in the conference. But just like Melvin, he's in a situation where he will be asked to do a lot. Tread carefully with whatever projections you're penciling in for Porter this season as his box score numbers could fluctuate early in the season.

Most Overrated (Team)

  • Louisville: They return just about all their key players from last year's Final Four run, are National Championship contenders, and could have four of the league's 15 best players. In a basketball crazy part of the country, you're going to hear a lot about this team. This is the season they're supposed to be relevant from November to April, beat Kentucky, and basically be all around awesome. I just hope they can handle all the attention.
  • South Florida: There's a lot less firepower in this conference, so boasting one of the league's best defenses may be a moot point. They can't replicate last season's record breaking 56.6 points allowed a game from last season, so they need some semblance of an offense. The Bulls frontcourt unproven too. Something's gotta give.

Most Underrated (Player)

  • Trey Ziegler - Pittsburgh: He's a scorer whose skill sets will be enhanced playing alongside Tray Woodall. Instead of needing to having to frequently create his own shot, Woodall will help create shots for the former Central Michigan Chippewa.
  • Wayne Blackshear - Louisville: The most heralded signee of Rick Pitino's 2011 class, Blackshear was underwhelming in 15 games after shoulder surgery, but showed his potential in the Cardinals' Final Four game against Kentucky. We don't really know what he's capable of on the college stage yet, but if he's as good as he was advertised coming out of high school, he could actually be the most important player for Rick Pitino this season.

Most Underrated (Team)

  • Marquette: The Golden Eagles are making a case for forcing us to add them to the short list of programs that reload, not rebuild. Gone is Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder, but returning is Vander Blue, Junior Cadougan and Devante Gardner. Oh yeah, and Chris Otule is back after missing most of last season, and former Arizona State stud Trent Lockett is also ready to potentially contribute 15 and 6. Buzz Peterson's club is not taking a step back this season.
  • Pittsburgh: Ziegler will make an impact. So will Steven Adams. Those two arrivals aside, the Panthers just aren't a program who stinks for two consecutive seasons, especially on the defensive end. They're double-bye Big East Tournament good for 2012-2013.

Most Lofty Expectations to Handle

  • Michael Carter-Williams - Syracuse: Dion Waiters' had a sensational sophomore season. That's great to reminisce on, but horrible for MCW, who is now in the unenviable position of doing something similar in 2012-2013. But the lanky 6-4 guard has a different game than Waiters; a deft passer still growing into his body, don't expect Carter-Williams to average 13 points a game, expect him to create easy baskets for his teammates while being very disruptive on the top of Syracuse's 2-3 zone.
  • Kris Dunn - Providence: It's doubtful he'll ever play at 100 percent this season, and when he does, Friars fans will expect greatness. Ed Cooley plucked two blue chip prospects from the class of 2012; Dunn and Ricardo Ledo. With Ledo academically ineligible, the spotlight shifts square on Dunn, who will have lofty expectations to fulfill.

Player Who Needs to Make That Next Step

  • Ryan Boatright - UConn: Is it selfish to beg for a reason to watch the Huskies this season? Boatright showed flashes of what he's capable of during his freshman season, and may have no choice but to become a star as depleted Husky team looks for someone to step up and score.
  • Nate Lubick - Georgetown: 19 minutes, 3.5 points, 4 rebounds. Those are Nate Lubick's averages through 55 games as a Hoya, 46 of which he started. But 6-8 junior is just sort of there on both ends of the court. Now, as an upperclassman, it's time for Lubick to prove he can be a leader and consistent contributor for John Thompson III.

Most likely to lead the league in viral GIFs

Most likely to be the butt of a bad joke on Twitter

  • Villanova: A storied program with no talent means some people will look to take jabs at Jay Wright's club.
  • Jack Cooley - Notre Dame: Yes, we all know who he looks like.

Most likely to draw frequent ire from his head coach

  • DaJuan Coleman - Syracuse: Talented but not too mobile, Boeheim will have a quick trigger with the local product if he struggles with his defensive rotations.
  • Vincent Council - Providence: Was 5th in the conference last season in FG attempts, but was a mediocre 39 percent from the floor. With the Friars getting some national attention this pre-season, Council may feel compelled to let it fly early and often.

Guy we are just happy to have back

  • Steve Lavin - St. John's: And hopefully back for good!

Guy we can't wait to leave (in the most endearing form possible)

  • Peyton Siva - Louisville: I wouldn't be surprised to see someone accidentally call him a sixth year senior. The stage his set for him to have a fantastic send off.

Most likely to be really good next season

  • Rutgers: The sophomore trio of Eli Carter, Kadeem Jack and Myles Mack just need to stay healthy and create buzz this year in preparation for what could be a special 2013-2014 season at The RAC

Most likely to be really good in two seasons

  • St. John's: God'sgift Achiuwa is the team's lone senior, and their underclassmen are talented but not exactly good enough to make an early leap to the NBA. With weapons all over the court, it's just a matter of time before the Johnnies are officially back.
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