The Big East turns its attention to women’s basketball Thursday by holding its annual Media Day at the New York Athletic Club.
By the way, the NYAC has a dress code, just like the classy restaurants in New York city did back in the day. Men must wear jackets – and we don’t mean fleece – on the grounds.
No problem in this corner. Sometime I wear them grocery shopping.
As for what to expect inside the joint….
Notre Dame, which won the Big East’s top seed for last season’s conference tournament before losing to Baylor in the national championship game, comes to town, perhaps for the final time as a conference constituent pending its departure for the Atlantic Coast Conference.
As always, UConn will draw major attention, not only for assembling a program that has played in five straight Final Fours, not only for being led by the Olympic gold-winning coach, Geno Auriemma, but for incorporating a freshman class highlighted by yet another Gatorade High School Player of the Year, center Breanna Stewart.
Here’s a look at some of the topics that will be on the table:
New coaches: St. John’s (Joe Tartamella), Georgetown (Keith Brown) and Providence (Susan Robinson Fruchtil) debut new head coaches this season. The Red Storm lost Kim Barnes-Arico to Michigan and Hoyas coach Terri Williams-Flournoy is now running Auburn.
So long, Irish: Notre Dame represented the conference in the last two national championship games, but its time in the Big East is about over. It will join the ACC in 2015 in all sports but hockey and football, which will play a truncated ACC schedule each season. Talks have begun with the Big East to speed the moving process, perhaps as soon as next season, which would cost the Irish, as it did Syracuse and Pittsburgh. Both schools paid $7.5 million to join the ACC next season.
Who is No. 1: Notre Dame is still very strong with Diggins at the helm. But you’d think the conference coaches would look at the overall depth of the Huskies and give them the preseason nod as No. 1. As for preseason Player of the Year? That must be Diggins, a reigning first-team All-American and potential top 3 WNBA draft pick.
Who else is good: Notre Dame and Louisville promise to be UConn’s top contenders this season with DePaul and Rutgers resting a notch below. It likely will be a year of transition for recent national players like St. John’s and Georgetown and the loss of West Virginia to the Big 12 will cost the Big East a tough, physical conference player. As for the top players, DePaul’s Anna Martin, Georgetown’s Sugar Rodgers, Louisville’s Shoni Schimmel, St. John’s guard Shenneika Smith, Syracuse center Kayla Alexander and Villanova forward Laura Sweeney will stand out.
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