The new Big East lineup may never be able to match what previous incarnations have done, but the conference has nonetheless proven to be formidable.
The Big East produced six NCAA Tournament bids last season, more than the Pac-12 and SEC and as many as the SEC. That’s only part of the equation of course. Only one of those six teams (Xavier) made it to the second weekend of the tournament, and the league champion and top-two NCAA seed (Villanova) again failed to reach the Sweet 16.
This conference could be a copy of previous seasons. Villanova is the clear-cut favorite. Teams like Butler, Xavier and Georgetown are nibbling around the end of the top 25. Providence may have the best player in the country (Kris Dunn), but no certainty that it will reach the Tournament.
What may make the future of this conference particularly interesting is the progress of two name programs that have been treading water in recent years. Marquette is starting to hit its stride thanks to strong recruiting under second-year coach Steve Wojciechowski, and St. John’s made one of the most intriguing hires of the offseason when the Red Storm brought in favorite son Chris Mullin.
All Big East predictions and a full preview of each team in the conference can be found in the Athlon Sports 2015-16 Preview Magazine, available online and on newsstands everywhere.
Podcast: Who should be No. 1 in College Basketball in 2015-16?
Big East Superlatives
Player of the Year: Kris Dunn, Providence
Best Defensive Player: Kris Dunn, Providence
Most Underrated Player: Daniel Ochefu, Villanova
Newcomer of the Year: Henry Ellenson, Marquette
Top Coach: Jay Wright, Villanova (full list)
Coach on the Hot Seat: Kevin Willard, Seton Hall (full list)
Teams in the National Top 25: No. 10 Villanova, No. 20 Butler
All-Big East First Team
G Kris Dunn, Providence
G Kellen Dunham, Butler
G D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Georgetown
F Roosevelt Jones, Butler
F Daniel Ochefu, Villanova
All-Big East Second Team
G Ryan Arcidiacono, Villanova
G Billy Garrett, DePaul
G Isaiah Whitehead, Seton Hall
F Henry Ellenson, Marquette
F Jalen Reynolds, Xavier
All-Big East Third Team
G Jalen Brunson, Villanova
G Mo Watson Jr., Creighton
G Myles Davis, Xavier
F Angel Delgado, Seton Hall
C Luke Fischer, Marquette
Big East Recruiting Roundup
1. Marquette: Steve Wojciechowski has a top-15, five-man class led by five-star big man Henry Elllenson.
2. Georgetown: Top-50 ranked post Jessie Govan highlights a top-25 class.
3. Villanova: Jay Wright has a star coming his way in five-star point guard Jalen Brunson.
4. St. John’s: First-year coach Chris Mullin will lean heavily on a quality five-man class that will have to contribute right away.
5. Creighton: The jewel of the Bluejays’ class, Justin Patton is considered one of the top sleepers in the 2015 class.
6. Providence: Physical big man Alex Owens is the top recruit in Ed Cooley’s five-man recruiting class.
7. Seton Hall: The Pirates are hoping for immediate contributions from Amarveer Singh and Myles Carter.
8. DePaul: The Blue Demons have four quality recruits in Dave Leitao’s class.
9. Butler: The Bulldogs are hoping for an immediate impact from the shooting of Sean McDermott.
10. Xavier: Chris Mack only has one recruit in his class, but Kaiser Gates is an athletic forward with intriguing upside.