- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 27, 2009

HE SAID WHAT?

“I’ll probably get smashed tonight and then wake up tomorrow and watch the highlights.” - Pat Perez after collecting his first PGA Tour victory at the Bob Hope Classic

TAKE YOUR PICK: WHICH TEAM WILL WIN THE BIG EAST’S REGULAR-SEASON TITLE?

Louisville (15-3, 6-0) &#8212: The Cardinals have three nasty matchups among their starters (Earl Clark, Terrence Williams and Samardo Samuels) and by far the easiest league schedule among the favorites (only home games vs. Pittsburgh, Connecticut and Marquette).

Marquette (18-2, 7-0) — The nation’s best contingent of guards is a five-out, dribble-penetration nightmare — even under a first-year coach.

Connecticut (18-1, 7-1) — The league’s preseason favorite has reeled off seven consecutive victories since opening conference play with a loss to Georgetown in Hartford, Conn.

Pittsburgh (18-1, 6-1) — In many ways, the Panthers still have a strong claim to the nation’s top slot; their only loss came to Louisville at Freedom Hall. Senior point guard Levance Fields leads the Big East in assists (6.9) and assist-to-turnover ratio (3.54-1).

Our take — The Big East crown is likely to come down to the final weekend of the regular season, when Pittsburgh hosts Connecticut. By that time, Marquette and Louisville should be well behind the league’s power pairing in the also-ran haze.

Pittsburgh and Connecticut are the Big East’s true players. The Panthers are likely to win the league because they host the Huskies on that final weekend and play with more heart than Connecticut’s more heralded talents. Nobody has a potential game-changer like Connecticut center Hasheem Thabeet. If point guard A.J. Price continues to improve and Thabeet plays like he’s capable down the stretch, the Huskies will be the nation’s most complete team come tournament time.

TWT FIVE » COLLEGE HOCKEY TEAMS

With the Frozen Four coming to Verizon Center this spring (April 9-11), here’s a look at college hockey’s latest rankings from the USCHO.com/CBS College Sports poll:

1. Notre Dame (19-3-3)

2. Boston University (18-5-1)

3. Northeastern (17-5-2)

4. Cornell (14-2-3)

5. Minnesota (12-5-5)


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