The New Favorite: Syracuse Big Men Tandem is Best in the Big East

Bleacher ReportCorrespondent INovember 23, 2009

MILWAUKEE - MARCH 07: Rick Jackson #00 of the Syracuse Orange looks to pass under pressure from Lazar Hayward #32 of the Marquette Golden Eagles on March 7, 2009 at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Syracuse defeated Marquette 86-79 in overtime. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

As many recall from last year, there was an abundance of talented teams in the Big East. Some may have argued that nine or 10 teams deserved to make it to the dance, with eventually seven getting bids, the most of any other conference.

The upper half of the conference was extremely parable, with each team receiving its moment of fame. We saw three teams from the Big East receive No. 1 seeds in the NCAA tournament ( UConn, Pittsburgh, and Louisville), we saw teams like West Virginia and Syracuse advance deep into the Big East tournament, and we saw Villanova and UConn make it to the Final Four.

Even teams from the bottom half of the conference showed their full potentials with upsets of Providence over No. 1 ranked Pittsburgh late in the season,  Georgetown's thrashing of  UConn on at the XL center to start Big East play, and even bottom team USF's upset over No. 8 ranked Marquette.

What all of these title contending Big East teams had were star big men. The top four teams in the big east last year all had NBA Prospect big men. Pittsburgh's Dejaun Blair, Uconn's Hasheem Thabeet, Villanova's Dante Cunningham, and Lousville' Earl Clark, and Terence Williams all left to the NBA draft.

What this has left the Big East with is a group of suddenly parable teams consisting of freshman big men to replace their past years stars. Which team in the big east is without this problem? You guessed it, The Syracuse Orange. As we saw from this past weekend, Syracuse's big man tandem of Rick Jackson and Arinze Onuaku were too much for 12 ranked Cal and fourth-ranked UNC to handle.

Onuaku, a Senior, is averaging 13.8 pts in only 24 minutes per game while Jackson, a Junior, is averaging a career best 8.8 pts in only 22.3 minutes per game.

Both of these player's numbers are the highest of their respective college careers and there is reason to believe they will continue to go up when Big East Play begins in January because of the sudden dependence that the Big East's past top teams have put on their freshman big men.

Who do you think the Pittsburghs and the UConns and the Villanovas of last year are going to put up against Syracuse's two distinguished big men? Freshman Donte Talyor of Pittsburgh? Freshman Alex Oriakhi of Uconn? Freshman Mouphtaou Yarou of Villanova? None of these freshman have the experience, or the developed talent and size to handle Syracuse's big men in the paint.

In case one might want to argue that Luke Harangody is better than any of these two, try measuring up his guard counterparts Ben Hansbrough and Tory Jackson with Transfer superstar Wesley Johnson who is averaging 17.3 ppg so far with a 27 point performance against fourth ranked UNC Tar Heals in the 2k sports final and the two headed monster PG tandem of Brandon Triche and Scoop Jardine.

Not to mention do-it-all Andy Rautins who had 11 pts, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, and 7 steals versus UNC in the 2k sports championship game.

The last three Big east tournament Champions, Georgetown, Louisville and Pitt were all supported by their respective star big men Roy Hibbert, Earl Clark, and Dejuan Blair. It looks like its Syracuse's big men Arinze Onuaku and Rick Jackson's turn this year.