Over the next few weeks, I’ll be doing a preview of each of the seven major college basketball conferences (American, ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Big East, Pac-12, SEC), leading up to the November 10th tip-off of the 2017-2018 College Basketball season. You can access previous previews by clicking on the conference name. Today, we’re going to dive into the Big East.
Brief History: The Big East conference was established in 2013, following a split between the old Big East conference over football that resulted in the creation of the new Big East and the American. The conference’s 10 member schools have a combined four NCAA basketball championships. Val Ackerman has served as commissioner since the new conference was founded in 2013.
Reigning Regular Season Champion: Villanova
Reigning Conference Tournament Champion: Villanova
2017 NCAA Tournament Teams (and Seed): Villanova (1), Butler (4), Creighton (6), Seton Hall (9), Marquette (10), Xavier (11), Providence (11)
- Villanova – If it seems like Villanova has been in control of this conference every year since the conference was founded, it’s because they have been, and it should be no different this season. Kings stay kings. Junior PG Jalen Brunson, who very well could be the conference POY this season, will help lead Jay Wright’s Wildcats to another conference title.
- Xavier – This team has one of the most high-powered and experienced offenses in the country. They’ll be led by Senior F Trevon Bluiett, who almost entered the NBA Draft last year, but decided to spend one more year with the Musketeers.
- Seton Hall – Similar to Xavier, this is another squad with a lot of experience, led by Seniors Khadeen Carrington, Desi Rodriguez, and Angel Delgado. Dissimilar to Xavier, this team is well balanced both on offense and defense. They could pose a real threat at the top of this conference.
- Providence – Here’s yet another team that has highly experienced players, with four of the five starters projected to be seniors. Similar to Seton Hall, this team is also extremely well balanced on both sides of the ball. Providence should see better results this year after just barely sneaking into the tournament last year.
- Butler – Senior PF Kelan Martin is one of the more exciting players in this conference. The Bulldogs are still adjusting to some coaching changes, with their former head coach recently leaving for Ohio State, but there’s enough talent on this team to get over that obstacle and make a splash.
- Marquette – The Golden Eagles have one of the best offenses in the conference, and one of the worst defenses in the conference. Led by guards Markus Howard and Andrew Rowsey, this team should be involved in plenty of high scoring affairs.
- Creighton – The losses of Cole Huff and Isaiah Zierden, two phenomenal perimeter shooters, will be difficult for the Jays to bounce back from. While several other members of the team are good shooters, this team is in the bottom of the conference defensively as well. There’s too many question marks with this team.
- St. John’s – This is one of the least experienced teams in the conference. They’ll be relying on sophomores and transfers to carry the team. Their offense and defense are both slightly below the conference average. Of note, they are projected to be 12th in adjusted tempo on KenPom.
- Georgetown – The most exciting part of this team is their new head coach, Patrick Ewing. The Hoyas will benefit from an easy out-of-conference schedule, but will have major struggles in conference play, particularly on the offensive side of the court.
- DePaul – This team has the worst offense and worst defense in the conference. Some simple deduction would say that makes them the worst team in the conference. The Blue Demons will be lucky to finish conference play with more than two wins.
Bottom Line: The Big East is very likely to be a 6-7 bid conference when March rolls around. This is an extremely well-rounded conference that has consistently produced top level teams and games over the last several years, and don’t expect that to change at all this season.