Big East Conference Preview

Big East Conference Preview

Conference Outlook

The Big East comes into this season in somewhat of a rebuilding mode as teams like Villanova and Xavier both lose a lot following great seasons, while other teams took big hits to their roster as well. The Big East should once again be won by Villanova but teams like Marquette, Butler, and St. John’s all should challenge Villanova atop the Big East standings, while teams 4-9 all have NCAA Tournament aspirations this season. While this league might not be as good as it has been in years past, it still will be solid and it will get around six bids this season.

Power Rankings along with team Breakdowns

1.Villanova Wildcats: The defending National Champions come into the Big East season not as the defending conference champions, as they lost out on that award by a game to Xavier. The Wildcats will have somewhat of a rebuilding season as they lose four of their six main players from last years team, leaving only Phil Booth and Eric Paschall left from that core of six. Those two should step their games up to a new level this season, while players like Jahvon Quinerly and Joe Cremo should help fill the void. Look for the Wildcats to struggle this year but I do think they should go around 14-4 in league play, which should be enough to win them the Big East once again.

2.Marquette Golden Eagles: The Golden Eagles have a lot of buzz surrounding them this year, as they return Markus Howard and Sam Hauser to form one of the leagues best one-two punches. Howard is an electric scorer, who could lead the league in scoring, while Hauser is a great scorer, those two plus a good young core should help the Golden Eagles be one of the best teams in the Big East. Look for this team to be the main challenger to Villanova atop the Big East standings, as they should go around 13-3 in conference play.

3.St. John’s Red Storm: The Red Storm enter this season with a lot of buzz, as they return Shamorie Ponds and add Auburn transfer Mustapha Heron. Ponds is an elite scorer and good passer, while Heron is a long athletic guard who can make shots, those two should pair up nicely with an already good roster that includes Justin Simon, Marvin Clark, Mikey Dixon, and LJ Figueroa. This team should be challenging Villanova at the top of the league standings, while they almost certainly will make it to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in the Chris Mullen era.

4.Butler Bulldogs: The Bulldogs lost the Big East’s second-leading scorer in Kelan Martin, however, I do think the Bulldogs did get better this offseason. Kamar Baldwin should be a star this season for Butler, while players like Aaron Thompson, Paul Jorgensen, Sean McDermott, and Nate Fowler form a good rotation and the addition of Duke transfer Jordan Tucker will be big. Look for this team to finish around 11-7 in Big East play, make the NCAA Tournament for the fifth straight season, and also challenge Villanova atop the Big East standings.

5.Providence Friars: The Friars have a couple of great experienced pieces, that pairs nicely with their up and coming players they bring in. Alpha Diallo, Emmitt Holt, Isaiah Jackson, and Kalif Young all were solid role players last year, while Makai Ashton-Langford and David Duke all look to be good young pieces. Look for this team to be pretty good this year, winning a few big games in the Big East, while making the NCAA Tournament once again.

6.Xavier Musketeers: The Musketeers are in rebuilding mode, after a season where they won the Big East outright and made the NCAA Tournament as a one seed. Following that season they lost Chris Mack to Louisville and they hired lead assistant Travis Steele as their new head coach. Obviously, they will take a step back but this team should make it back to the NCAA Tournament behind the play of Quentin Goodin, Tyrique Jones, Naji Marshall, and Paul Scruggs. Look for the Musketeers to go around 9-9 in the Big East, which should be enough to help them sneak into the NCAA Tournament.

7.Seton Hall Pirates: The Pirates lose a lot from last years team as Angel Delgado, Desi Rodriguez, Khadeen Carrington, and Ish Sanogo all graduated. They do have Myles Powell back, who should compete for the scoring title in the Big East, Michael Nzei, Myles Cale, and Sandro Mamukelashvili all were solid role players last year, plus they add transfers Quincy McKnight and Taurean Thompson, who are both good additions to the team. This team should be fighting late in the season to maybe get in the NCAA Tournament, likely going around 7-11 or 8-10 in Big East play.

8.Georgetown Hoyas: The Hoyas come into year two of the Patrick Ewing era with one of the best big men in the country in Jessie Govan. Govan should be the best big man in the Big East this season, which will likely lead him to a First-Team All-Big East selection, elsewhere they have Jamorko Pickett, Kaleb Johnson, Japan Mosley, and Jahvon Blair returning, all of whom should be better this season. This team should be competitive in the Big East, however, to expect anything more than a 7-11 record in conference play would be a little crazy.

9.Creighton Blue Jays: The Blue Jays lose two great Big East players in Khyri Thomas and Marcus Foster, which leaves them in rebuild mode. They do have Martin Krampelj, who should lead the team in scoring, plus players like Ty-Shon Alexander, Davion Mintz, and Mitchell Ballock all look to improve this season. They should struggle in Big East play as they don’t have a great roster this season, that being said they should be able to stay out of the basement and go around 6-12 in league play this season.

10.DePaul Blue Demons: The Blue Demons come into this season with a better roster than they had last year, however, they still will probably miss the NCAA Tournament. Max Strus and Eli Cain are both returning double-digit scorers, plus they add a few quality transfers that should help them out. This team should be competitive in the Big East and win a few games in conference play, I look for them to go around 4-14, which would likely lead them to a last-place finish in the league.

All-Conference Teams

First Team

Shamorie Ponds (Big East Player of the year) – St. John’s

Markus Howard – Marquette

Kamar Baldwin – Butler

Eric Paschall – Villanova

Jessie Govan – Georgetown

Second Team

Myles Powell – Seton Hall

Quentin Goodin – Xavier

Mustapha Heron – St. John’s

Sam Hauser – Marquette

Alpha Diallo – Providence

Third Team

Joe Cremo – Villanova

Aaron Thompson – Butler

Phil Booth – Villanova

Naji Marshall – Xavier

Max Strus – DePaul

Five Best Freshmen

David Duke – Providence

Jahvon Quinerly – Villanova

AJ Reeves – Providence

Cole Swider – Villanova

Brandon Slater – Villanova

Five Best Newcomers

Joe Cremo – Villanova

Jordan Tucker – Butler

Haanif Cheatham – Marquette

Zach Hankins – Xavier

Mustapha Heron – St. John’s

Five Breakout Players

Myles Powell – Seton Hall

Quentin Goodin – Xavier

Makai Ashton-Langford – Providence

Aaron Thompson – Butler

Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree – Villanova

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