College Basketball: 2013-14 Big East Preview

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Marquette leads new-look conference

College Basketball: 2013-14 Big East Preview

The new Big East has many of the same teams as the old Big East, but the dynamic of the league will be quite different.

First, there’s the sheer size. The Big East has slimmed down from 16 teams at its height to a more manageable 10. The former Big East was marked by as many as three or four realistic Final Four contenders in atop the league and star power and veterans running a dozen teams deep.

The new Big East might not appear to have a obvious national championship contender, but it will have depth. Perhaps only DePaul enters the season with slim hopes of reaching the postseason.

While the new Big East lacks powerhouses like Syracuse, Louisville and Connecticut, there will be plenty of intrigue as teams like Xavier and Butler face Marquette, Georgetown and Villanova. And then there’s Doug McDermott, who will have plenty of prime-time games against the Big East schedule.

Big East predicted order of finish

All-Big East First Team
G Semaj Christon, Xavier
G Bryce Cotton, Providence
G Markel Starks, Georgetown
F Doug McDermott, Creighton
F JaKarr Sampson, St. John's

All-Big East Second Team
G D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Georgetown
G/F Fuquan Edwin, Seton Hall
F Kadeem Batts, Providence
F Davante Gardner, Marquette
F JayVaughn Pinkston, Villanova

All-Big East Third Team
G Ryan Arcidiacono, Villanova
G D'Angelo Harrison, St. John's
F LaDontae Henton, Providence
F Roosevelt Jones, Butler
F Cleveland Melvin, DePaul
1. MARQUETTE (team preview)
Postseason projection:
NCAA Sweet 16
Buzz Williams consistently gets the most out of his players, and he has a loaded recruiting class entering school.

2. CREIGHTON (team preview)
Postseason projection:
NCAA Round of 32
The return of Doug McDermott and Grant Gibbs puts the Bluejays squarely in the mix for a league title.

3. GEORGETOWN (team preview)
Postseason projection: NCAA Round of 64
Greg Whittington's injury sets this team back, especially without Otto Porter. The Hoyas won't fall too far.

4. VILLANOVA (team preview)
Postseason prediction:
NCAA Round of 64
With the return of four starters and the addition of key newcomers, Jay Wright has this team ready.

5. ST. JOHN’S (team preview)
Postseason prediction:
NCAA Round of 64
The Red Storm might have the most overall talent in the league, and they'll be dangerous if everything comes together.

6. XAVIER (team preview)
Postseason prediction:
NCAA First Four
The Musketeers surprised many people in the A-10 last year, and they return plenty of production. Semaj Christon is a stud.

7. PROVIDENCE
Postseason prediction:
NIT
Ed Cooley has turned things around quickly, and this could be the year the Friars take the next step.

8. SETON HALL
Postseason prediction:
NIT
With four starters returning, including Fuquan Edwin, the Pirates should be a postseason team.

9. BUTLER
This might have been a difficult year either way, but Brad Stevens leaving for the NBA means the Bulldogs have question marks.

10. DePAUL
Oliver Purnell has two high-scoring options in Brandon Young and Cleveland Melvin, but it will be a struggle this year.

Big East Awards

Player of the Year: Doug McDermott, Creighton

McDermott returned to school to accomplish two lofty goals: A Big East title for Creighton and the Bluejays’ first trip to the regional semifinal since 1974.

Best Defensive Player: Chris Obekpa, St. John's

The 6-9 center led the nation in blocks as a freshman, averaging four blocks per game.

Most Underrated Player: Grant Gibbs, Creighton
Gibbs got a sixth year of eligibility and will continue to feed McDermott from the wing. Gibbs averaged 8.5 points per game and 5.8 assists.

Newcomer of the Year: JaJuan Johnson, Marquette (full list of key newcomers around the Big East)
One of Marquette’s four freshmen this season, Johnson will give Buzz Williams options at guard. He’ll be a standout scorer with his ability as a shooter and finisher around the basket.

Top coach: Buzz Williams, Marquette (full Big East coach rankings)

Coach on the hot seat: Oliver Purnell, DePaul (full hot seat list)

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