Of course, fans shouldn't get too wrapped up in the polls or even the conference standings. Last season, Connecticut was picked by Big East coaches to finish 10th in the 16-team conference. They placed ninth with a 9-9 record, then got on a roll and won the national championship. "The Big East is so tough, you just have to play and grind it out and get through it," SU senior guard Scoop Jardine said. "It shapes you up and gets you ready for the tournament. That's what happened to Connecticut. Stay focused on the goal and our task at hand, and we should be fine."Still, the season's first six weeks were filled mostly with easy victories over the likes of Manhattan, Colgate and Bucknell, and the Orangemen are eager to measure themselves against the Big East. "These games against low- to mid-majors, it's cool, but those are the games you're looking for just to see what type of team you are when you go up against the elite teams in the Big East," [Brandon Triche] said. "It's still one of the toughest leagues in the country."[Kris Joseph], who like Jardine and Triche is a veteran of the brutal Big East schedule, said he expects the Orange to improve as it faces better competition on a regular basis. "I don't think we scratched the surface of our potential yet," Joseph said. "We still have a little bit to do, as far as tweaking a few things offensively and defensively, but I think we're rolling the right way and our coaching staff is doing a great job preparing us for the conference."