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2013-14 College Basketball Conference Snapshot: Big East


The Big East will be a new league with an old name. One of the big storylines for the 2013-14 season will be the new Big East, an amalgam of the so-called Catholic 7, two Atlantic 10 teams and one Missouri Valley powerhouse.

At first look, the new Big East appears to be as competitive from top to bottom, other than perhaps DePaul and Seton Hall, as any league. The return of Doug McDermott to Creighton gives the league instant star power in a season in which the two likely favorites -- Marquette and Georgetown -- lost their top players to the draft.

In the middle of the league, Big East charter members St. John’s and Providence are gearing up for returns to the NCAA Tournament. Traditional Atlantic 10 power Xavier could say the same.

Here’s a quick look at the Big East and early rankings for 2013-14.

Other conference snapshots:
Big Ten
Big 12 (June 6)
Pac-12 (June 11)
Mountain West, A-10, MVC and others (June 13)

1. MARQUETTE (26-9, 14-4 Big East, NCAA Elite Eight)
Key players gone: Vander Blue, Junior Cadougan, Trent Lockett
Top returners: Juan Anderson, Davante Gardner, Chris Otule, Jamil Wilson
New faces: Deonte Burton (freshman), JaJuan Johnson (freshman), Jameel McKay (junior college), Duane Wilson (freshman)
Vander Blue’s departure hurts and likely knocks Marquette out of the preseason top 10. Gardner (11.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg) and Jamil Wilson (9.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg) still give Buzz Williams veterans to work with in 2013-14. In addition to the returners, Marquette may have a new point guard (Wilson) and two major freshmen in Johnson and Burton.

Related: Realignment tracker for all college basketball moves

2. GEORGETOWN (25-7, 14-4 Big East, NCAA round of 64)
Key players gone: Otto Porter
Top returners: Mikael Hopkins, Nate Lubick, D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Markel Starks, Jabril Trawick, Greg Whittington
New faces: Josh Smith (transfer from UCLA)
The Hoyas won a share of the Big East title without a senior last season, so that’s the good news. The bad news is that the Hoyas’ centerpiece, Porter, is gone. Georgetown will return a healthy Whittington, who averaged 12.1 points and seven rebounds in 13 games last season. The Hoyas would love for Smith-Rivera to continue the momentum of the second half of last season into his sophomore year.

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Related: 2013-14 Conference Snapshot: Big Ten

3. CREIGHTON (28-8, 13-5 Missouri Valley, NCAA round of 32)
Key players gone: Greg Echenique, Grant Gibbs
Top returners: Austin Chatman, Jahenns Manigat, Doug McDermott, Ethan Wragge
Creighton received a nice surprise when McDermott elected to return for his senior season, and now the Bluejays hope to get another. Guard Grant Gibbs is seeking a sixth season of eligibility. McDermott alone makes Creighton a possible NCAA Tournament team. Gibbs’ return may make Creighton a Big East title contender.

4. BUTLER (27-9, 11-5 Atlantic 10, NCAA round of 32)
Key players gone: Rotnei Clarke, Andrew Smith
Top returners: Alex Barlow, Kellen Dunham, Erik Fromm, Roosevelt Jones, Kyle Marshall, Kameron Woods
The top two scorers are gone in Clarke and Smith, but Butler should have the players to keep the Bulldogs in NCAA contention. Jones, Marshall and Dunham all averaged at least 9.5 points per game. Expect more from Dunham, a 6-6 guard who was Butler’s top recruit in 2012. His minutes dwindled late in his rookie year, but Butler needs more in 2013-14. It's worth noting the Bulldogs are in their third conference in three seasons.

Related: Butler among top recruiting classes since 2000

5. ST. JOHN’S (17-16, 8-10 Big East, NIT second round)
Key players gone: Amir Garrett
Top returners: Jamal Branch, Phil Greene IV, D’Angelo Harrison, Chris Obekpa, Sir’Dominic Pointer, JaKarr Sampson
New faces: God’sgift Achiuwa (redshirt), Max Hooper (transfer from Harvard), Rysheed Jordan (freshman), Orlando Sanchez (redshirt)
The Red Storm are poised for a rebound after missing the NCAA Tournament last season. Sampson averaged a quiet 14.9 points and 6.6 rebounds last season. He’ll make up an imposing frontcourt with Achiuwa, who redshirted last season, and Obekpa, who averaged four blocks per game. Jordan was one of the nation’s top high school point guards.

6. VILLANOVA (20-14, 10-8 Big East, NCAA round of 64)
Key players gone: Achraf Yacoubou, Mouphtaou Yarou
Top returners: Ryan Arcidiacono, Darrun Hilliard, Daniel Ochefu, JayVaughn Pinkston
New faces: Josh Hart, Kris Jenkins (freshmen)
Besides Yarou, freshmen and sophomores carried Villanova back into the NCAA Tournament last season. The Wildcats will look to Arcidiacono (11.9 ppg, 3.5 apg) to carry the mantle for Point Guard U.

Related: 2013-14 Conference Snapshot: SEC

7. XAVIER (17-14, 9-7 Atlantic 10)
Key players gone: Travis Taylor, Brad Redford, Jeff Robinson
Top returners: Semaj Christon, Dee Davis, Justin Martin, Isaiah Philmore
New faces: Brandon Randolph (freshman), Matt Stainbrook (transfer from Western Michigan)
Three of Xavier’s top four scorers last season were freshmen or sophomores for a team that started to look like an NCAA Tournament team in February. Christon (15.2 ppg, 4.6 apg) is a rising star in the backcourt, and he’ll get some help up front with the transfer of Stainbrook, a 6-10 center who averaged 11.4 points and 6.8 rebounds in his final season at Western Michigan.

8. PROVIDENCE (19-15, 9-9 Big East, NIT quarterfinal)
Key players gone: Vincent Council, Ricky Ledo
Top returners: Kadeem Batts, Bryce Cotton, Kris Dunn, LaDontae Henton
New faces: Brandon Austin (freshman), Rodney Bullock (freshman), Carson Desrosiers (transfer from Wake Forest), Tyler Harris (transfer from NC State)
Providence had four wins over NCAA-bound Big East teams last season, so the Friars are looking to get over the hump in 2013-14. Cotton led the Big East in scoring last season (19.7 ppg), leading Providence’s three double-digit scorers returning. The Friars never got a game out of the highly touted prospect Ledo, but he’s replaced by Philadelphia wing Austin.

Related: 2013-14 Conference Snapshot: American

9. SETON HALL (15-18, 3-15 Big East)
Key players gone: Aaron Cosby, Freddie Wilson
Top returners: Fuquan Edwin, Tom Maayan, Brandon Mobley, Brandon Oliver, Gene Teague
New faces: Jaren Sina (freshman), Sterling Gibbs (transfer from Texas)
Seton Hall took a major step back last season, dropping from 8-10 to 3-15 in the Big East. Seniors Edwin (16.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg) and Teague (11.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg) return, but Cosby (12.6 rpg, 2.5 apg) elected to transfer. The Pirates will hope the freshman Sina is the answer at point guard.

10. DePAUL (11-21, 2-16 Big East)
Key players gone: Worrel Clahar, Donnavan Kirk, Moses Morgan
Top returners: Jamee Crockett, Charles McKinney, Cleveland Melvin, Brandon Young
New faces: Billy Garrett (freshman), Sandi Marcius (transfer from Purdue)
Maybe this new version of the Big East will be friendlier to DePaul than the last one. The top three scorers from last season return, led by Young (16.7 ppg) and Melvin (16.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg). DePaul will need six newcomers -- three freshmen, two jucos and a Division I transfer -- to perform better than the five players who left the program, chief among them Kirk and Morgan. Garrett is a local four-star point guard, and the 6-9 Marcius was a role player for Purdue.