Big East Basketball Season Preview
Basketball season is rapidly approaching and the Big East Conference is ready to return to prominence. Four teams (Villanova, Marquette, St. John’s, and Seton Hall) made the tournament last year, but none made it past the Round of 32. Let’s preview a conference that returns a lot of talent with young stars that could make the Big East fun to watch this year.
After coming off of a 16-17 record and being tied for last with a 7-11 record in conference play, Butler is looking to improve and get back to a winning season. Senior Kamar Baldwin will be the go-to player for the Bulldogs as he led the team in scoring last year with 17.0 points per game, and also had 3.1 assists and 4.9 rebounds.
The Bluejays are coming off a 2019 Summer Trip to Australia. Sophomore forward Christian Bishop was a breakout player who averaged 15.7 points and 5.0 rebounds in the three exhibition games. Junior Mitch Ballock and senior Davion Mintz will lead Creighton in experience and skill as they look to build off of a 20-15 season.
DePaul lost a lot of depth last year after their top three scorers all graduated. The Blue Demons do retain junior forward Paul Reed, who is the most experienced player on the roster as he started 28 games last year averaging 12.3 points per game and was named the Most Improved Player in the Big East in 2019.
The Hoyas showed a lot of improvement last year with a winning record for the first time since the 2014-2015 season, finishing 19-14 and in a four-way tie for third place in the conference. Look for sophomore guard Mac McClung to step up in a leadership role for Georgetown as they look to take the next step into rising back into the upper echelon of the conference.
Marquette is looking to build off of a solid 2018-2019 season that saw a loss in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Senior guard Markus Howard will anchor the Golden Eagle’s offense after averaging 25.0 points per game, 3.9 assists, and 4.0 rebounds per game last year.
The Friars return two experienced players in junior center Nate Watson and senior guard Alpha Diallo. Both players should be a tandem to watch this year as last year Watson averaged 11.7 points per game and 5.2 rebounds while Diallo averaged 16.0 points per game and 8.1 rebounds. Along with an experienced head coach in Ed Cooley, Providence should be a tough team to play this year.
Seton Hall has a lot of promise for the 2019-2020 season after losing to Villanova in the Big East Tournament Championship. The Pirates return a dangerous roster led by senior leader Myles Powell who averaged 23.1 points per game, 2.9 assists, and 4.0 rebounds last year. Powell has a great supporting cast around him as junior Myles Cale, senior Quincy McKnight and junior Sandro Mamukelashvili are all back and poised for Seton Hall to go for the Big East title.
Mike Anderson takes over the helm as the Red Storm’s new head coach. St. John’s made the NCAA Tournament last year for the first time since 2014-2015 and look to build off of that success for 2019-2020. They will look to the experience of senior Mustapha Heron and junior LJ Figueroa to take them further into the Big Dance.
The defending Big East Champions lost leadership after Phil Booth and Eric Paschall graduated. This is a younger team that looks to reload. Most notably five-star Jeremiah Robinson-Earl out of IMG Academy will be a player to watch. Look for Jay Wright to count on junior Collin Gillespie, junior Jermaine Samuels, and sophomore Saddiq Bey to carry the torch for Nova to make another tournament run.
The Musketeer’s return their top three scorers in junior Naji Marshall, junior Paul Scruggs, and senior Tyrique Jones as they look to improve on a 19-16 record from last year. This year, Xavier looks to increase their offensive efficiency as they look to return to the NCAA Tournament after not making it last year.
Andrew Field is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.