Here’s the Big East release this week, including the Player and Rookie of the Week honors.
The first conference game of the 2012-13 Big Esat season takes place this afternoon as No. 8 Cincinnati visits No. 24 Pittsburgh on ESPN2.
· Cincinnati visited Pittsburgh on the first day of 2012, winning 66-63 Jan. 1, before today’s meeting on the last day of the calendar year.
· Nearly 80 percent of Big East regular-season league games (107 of 135) will include at least one NCAA tournament team from last year. Thirty-seven league games will be between two NCAA tournament teams.
· Big East teams hold a 150-34 record against nonconference competition (.815).
· Big East teams are 111-9 at home against nonconference opponents (.925).
· The only nonconference game on Monday’s schedule has Syracuse hosting Central Connecticut at the Carrier Dome. Orange head coach needs just one win to reach 902 in his career and tie Bob Knight for second on the all-time Division I list.
BIG EAST Player of the Week
RUSS SMITH, Louisville, G, Jr.
Smith keyed Louisville’s 80-77 win against No. 23 Kentucky in a rematch of Final Four teams from last season. He scored 21 points, including 17 in the second half, matched his career high with seven rebounds and added three assists and three steals. Smith, who ranks third in the BIG EAST in scoring this season (19.8 points per game), has hit for at least 20 points in six games this season and has had at least three steals eight times.
BIG EAST Rookie of the Week
RYAN ARCIDIACONO, Villanova, G, Fr.
Arcidiacono scored a team-high 17 points with three assists in Villanova’s only game of the week, a 70-60 victory against NJIT. He played 30 minutes of turnover-free basketball to help the Wildcats to their fifth consecutive win. Arcidiacono enters conference play as the team’s second-leading scorer at 11.5 points per game.
BIG EAST Honor Roll
RYAN BOATRIGHT, Connecticut, G, So.
Scored 13 points with eight rebounds, four assists and three steals in a 61-53 win against Washington.
LADONTAE HENTON, Providence, F, So.
Scored a career-high 37 points, including a stretch of 24 straight Friar points in the second half, in a 69-68 loss at Brown.
DANE MILLER, Rutgers, F, Sr.
Scored 18 points with five assists, four rebounds and two blocks in a 68-56 win against Rider.
BRIAN OLIVER, Seton Hall, G/F, Jr.
Scored 20 points — all in the first half — on 6-of-8 shooting from 3-point range in a 60-59 win against Stony Brook.
JAWANZA POLAND, USF, G, Sr.
Had team highs of 16 points and eight rebounds in a 61-57 win against George Mason.