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Big East preview: The threats are coming for Villanova

Added on 07 November 2017 - 18:49 'Viewed 31 views times.

If only the Big East had broken up earlier.

After winning a share of just one league title in 16 seasons, Villanova enters the fifth season of the reconfigured Big East as the only regular season champion in the new league ’s history.

The Wildcats will be the favorite to take the title home again, though Seton Hall and Xavier could be just as dangerous come March, when the Big East will attempt to improve upon last season ’s mark of sending seven teams to the NCAA Tournament.

Big East Rankings

1. Villanova
2. Xavier
3. Seton Hall
4. Providence
5. Creighton
6. Marquette
7. St. John ’s
8. Butler
9. DePaul
10. Georgetown

Big East Preseason Player of the Year: Trevon Bluiett, F, Xavier

There may not be a more polished scoring wing in the country than the 6-foot-6 senior. As potent on the ball as off of it, while running around screens, his numbers have improved each season. The sharpshooting Bluiett is also coming off a brilliant NCAA Tournament, leading Xavier to the Elite Eight by averaging 21.2 points per game and shooting 41 percent from 3-point range.

Omari SpellmanAP

Big East Preseason Rookie of the Year: Omari Spellman, F, Villanova

Jay Wright is used to developing talent, not landing it ready-made. In the 6-foot-9, 245-pound Spellman, he has the best of both worlds, a five-star recruit he was able to mold last year after the Ohioan was ruled to be a partial qualifier by the NCAA. He will make an immediate impact for the Wildcats, a skilled big man who will make opposing defenses have to pick their poison: Leave Villanova ’s lethal shooters or let him have his way in the paint.

All-Big East First Team

Jalen Brunson, G, Villanova
Kyron Cartwright, G, Providence
Marcus Foster, G, Creighton
Angel Delgado, F, Seton Hall
Kelan Martin, F, Butler

Games to Watch

Georgetown at St. John ’s (Jan. 9)

The game might not hold your attention for long, but nostalgia makes this a must-see event, with Chris Mullin and Patrick Ewing leading their alma maters from the sideline, and reigniting their classic rivalry at Madison Square Garden.

Jay WrightAP

Xavier at Villanova (Jan. 10)

The Musketeers get an early shot to find out if they ’re ready to knock Villanova from its throne. Since joining the Big East, Xavier is just 1-9 against Villanova, but the Musketeers have made four straight NCAA Tournament appearances, and are coming off of one of their best seasons ever.

Villanova at Seton Hall (Feb. 28)

Two of the Big East ’s best have put on some of the league ’s most entertaining games in the past few years, and the late-season matchup could determine the conference champion. In recent seasons, the Pirates have never bowed down to league ’s top team, winning three matchups over the past four seasons, including the 2016 Big East Championship game.

Big East Questions

Is Villanova ’s run of league crowns in serious jeopardy?

Seton Hall is a real threat. Xavier is, too. But the Big East remains the Wildcats ’ to lose. With Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins gone, nearly the entire core of Villanova ’s national championship team has left, but Jay Wright ’s team remains well-rounded and balanced on both ends of the floor, led by Big East Player of the Year contender Jalen Brunson. The Wildcats have compiled a 63-9 league conference record over the past four seasons. Another banner is probably inevitable.

Is Seton Hall as good as its top 25 hype?

Most certainly, with Angel Delgado back, and in the conversation of the sport ’s best big man. The Pirates may have their best team in more than a decade and a half, and the deep, senior-heavy squad – Delgado, Khadeen Carrington, Desi Rodriguez and Ismael Sanogo – carries the experience of back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, which could result in the school ’s first win there since 2004, and perhaps more.

see also

A Georgetown rebuild has begun, and Patrick Ewing sounds ready

A Georgetown rebuild has begun, and Patrick Ewing sounds ready

The shock was still being absorbed. That John Thompson III… How will Patrick Ewing handle his first season back in college?

As was the case with his friend and rival, Chris Mullin, two years ago, Ewing will take his lumps in his first season back in the college ranks. He inherited little from predecessor John Thompson III — leading scorers Rodney Pryor and L.J. Peak and big men Akoy Agau and Bradley Hayes moved on — and will be relying heavily on youth, in particular freshman Jamorko Pickett and sophomore Jagan Mosely. It could take several years for the Hoyas to get back into Big East contention.

Will St. John ’s return to the Big Dance?

The talent is there, and so is the experience. Depth and size, however, isn ’t. St. John ’s enters the season with nine scholarship players, leaving the Red Storm vulnerable. An injury or two, even minor, could derail their postseason hopes. Sit-out transfers Justin Simon (Arizona) and Marvin Clark Jr. (Michigan State) are key additions, and sophomore guards Marcus LoVett Jr. and Shamorie Ponds should take the next step in their progression, but Mullin ’s team still lacks enough capable big men needed to make the necessary leap. They wind up on the wrong side of the bubble.

Can the Big East equal last year ’s NCAA Tournament haul?

The conference sent 70 percent of the league dancing last year, an impressive haul made possible by a strong non-conference season. Equaling that output will be a challenge. On paper, there are four likely tournament teams — Villanova, Xavier, Seton Hall and Providence — followed by four others contenders in Creighton, Marquette, St. John ’s and Butler. But the league ’s RPI will take a hit with Georgetown ’s cupcake schedule that features seven opponents that finished with an RPI of 320 or lower last year. Not to be forgotten, injuries to key players a year ago evened the playing field in February, enabling bubble teams to pick up marquee victories.

If only the Big East had broken up earlier.

After winning a share of just one league title in 16 seasons, Villanova enters the fifth season of the reconfigured Big East as the only regular season champion in the new league ’s history.

The Wildcats will be the favorite to take the title home again, though Seton Hall and Xavier could be just as dangerous come March, when the Big East will attempt to improve upon last season ’s mark of sending seven teams to the NCAA Tournament.

Big East Rankings

1. Villanova
2. Xavier
3. Seton Hall
4. Providence
5. Creighton
6. Marquette
7. St. John ’s
8. Butler
9. DePaul
10. Georgetown

Big East Preseason Player of the Year: Trevon Bluiett, F, Xavier

There may not be a more polished scoring wing in the country than the 6-foot-6 senior. As potent on the ball as off of it, while running around screens, his numbers have improved each season. The sharpshooting Bluiett is also coming off a brilliant NCAA Tournament, leading Xavier to the Elite Eight by averaging 21.2 points per game and shooting 41 percent from 3-point range.

Omari SpellmanAP

Big East Preseason Rookie of the Year: Omari Spellman, F, Villanova

Jay Wright is used to developing talent, not landing it ready-made. In the 6-foot-9, 245-pound Spellman, he has the best of both worlds, a five-star recruit he was able to mold last year after the Ohioan was ruled to be a partial qualifier by the NCAA. He will make an immediate impact for the Wildcats, a skilled big man who will make opposing defenses have to pick their poison: Leave Villanova ’s lethal shooters or let him have his way in the paint.

All-Big East First Team

Jalen Brunson, G, Villanova
Kyron Cartwright, G, Providence
Marcus Foster, G, Creighton
Angel Delgado, F, Seton Hall
Kelan Martin, F, Butler

Games to Watch

Georgetown at St. John ’s (Jan. 9)

The game might not hold your attention for long, but nostalgia makes this a must-see event, with Chris Mullin and Patrick Ewing leading their alma maters from the sideline, and reigniting their classic rivalry at Madison Square Garden.

Jay WrightAP

Xavier at Villanova (Jan. 10)

The Musketeers get an early shot to find out if they ’re ready to knock Villanova from its throne. Since joining the Big East, Xavier is just 1-9 against Villanova, but the Musketeers have made four straight NCAA Tournament appearances, and are coming off of one of their best seasons ever.

Villanova at Seton Hall (Feb. 28)

Two of the Big East ’s best have put on some of the league ’s most entertaining games in the past few years, and the late-season matchup could determine the conference champion. In recent seasons, the Pirates have never bowed down to league ’s top team, winning three matchups over the past four seasons, including the 2016 Big East Championship game.

Big East Questions

Is Villanova ’s run of league crowns in serious jeopardy?

Seton Hall is a real threat. Xavier is, too. But the Big East remains the Wildcats ’ to lose. With Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins gone, nearly the entire core of Villanova ’s national championship team has left, but Jay Wright ’s team remains well-rounded and balanced on both ends of the floor, led by Big East Player of the Year contender Jalen Brunson. The Wildcats have compiled a 63-9 league conference record over the past four seasons. Another banner is probably inevitable.

Is Seton Hall as good as its top 25 hype?

Most certainly, with Angel Delgado back, and in the conversation of the sport ’s best big man. The Pirates may have their best team in more than a decade and a half, and the deep, senior-heavy squad – Delgado, Khadeen Carrington, Desi Rodriguez and Ismael Sanogo – carries the experience of back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, which could result in the school ’s first win there since 2004, and perhaps more.

see also

A Georgetown rebuild has begun, and Patrick Ewing sounds ready

A Georgetown rebuild has begun, and Patrick Ewing sounds ready

The shock was still being absorbed. That John Thompson III… How will Patrick Ewing handle his first season back in college?

As was the case with his friend and rival, Chris Mullin, two years ago, Ewing will take his lumps in his first season back in the college ranks. He inherited little from predecessor John Thompson III — leading scorers Rodney Pryor and L.J. Peak and big men Akoy Agau and Bradley Hayes moved on — and will be relying heavily on youth, in particular freshman Jamorko Pickett and sophomore Jagan Mosely. It could take several years for the Hoyas to get back into Big East contention.

Will St. John ’s return to the Big Dance?

The talent is there, and so is the experience. Depth and size, however, isn ’t. St. John ’s enters the season with nine scholarship players, leaving the Red Storm vulnerable. An injury or two, even minor, could derail their postseason hopes. Sit-out transfers Justin Simon (Arizona) and Marvin Clark Jr. (Michigan State) are key additions, and sophomore guards Marcus LoVett Jr. and Shamorie Ponds should take the next step in their progression, but Mullin ’s team still lacks enough capable big men needed to make the necessary leap. They wind up on the wrong side of the bubble.

Can the Big East equal last year ’s NCAA Tournament haul?

The conference sent 70 percent of the league dancing last year, an impressive haul made possible by a strong non-conference season. Equaling that output will be a challenge. On paper, there are four likely tournament teams — Villanova, Xavier, Seton Hall and Providence — followed by four others contenders in Creighton, Marquette, St. John ’s and Butler. But the league ’s RPI will take a hit with Georgetown ’s cupcake schedule that features seven opponents that finished with an RPI of 320 or lower last year. Not to be forgotten, injuries to key players a year ago evened the playing field in February, enabling bubble teams to pick up marquee victories.

If only the Big East had broken up earlier.

After winning a share of just one league title in 16 seasons, Villanova enters the fifth season of the reconfigured Big East as the only regular season champion in the new league ’s history.

The Wildcats will be the favorite to take the title home again, though Seton Hall and Xavier could be just as dangerous come March, when the Big East will attempt to improve upon last season ’s mark of sending seven teams to the NCAA Tournament.

Big East Rankings

1. Villanova
2. Xavier
3. Seton Hall
4. Providence
5. Creighton
6. Marquette
7. St. John ’s
8. Butler
9. DePaul
10. Georgetown

Big East Preseason Player of the Year: Trevon Bluiett, F, Xavier

There may not be a more polished scoring wing in the country than the 6-foot-6 senior. As potent on the ball as off of it, while running around screens, his numbers have improved each season. The sharpshooting Bluiett is also coming off a brilliant NCAA Tournament, leading Xavier to the Elite Eight by averaging 21.2 points per game and shooting 41 percent from 3-point range.

Omari SpellmanAP

Big East Preseason Rookie of the Year: Omari Spellman, F, Villanova

Jay Wright is used to developing talent, not landing it ready-made. In the 6-foot-9, 245-pound Spellman, he has the best of both worlds, a five-star recruit he was able to mold last year after the Ohioan was ruled to be a partial qualifier by the NCAA. He will make an immediate impact for the Wildcats, a skilled big man who will make opposing defenses have to pick their poison: Leave Villanova ’s lethal shooters or let him have his way in the paint.

All-Big East First Team

Jalen Brunson, G, Villanova
Kyron Cartwright, G, Providence
Marcus Foster, G, Creighton
Angel Delgado, F, Seton Hall
Kelan Martin, F, Butler

Games to Watch

Georgetown at St. John ’s (Jan. 9)

The game might not hold your attention for long, but nostalgia makes this a must-see event, with Chris Mullin and Patrick Ewing leading their alma maters from the sideline, and reigniting their classic rivalry at Madison Square Garden.

Jay WrightAP

Xavier at Villanova (Jan. 10)

The Musketeers get an early shot to find out if they ’re ready to knock Villanova from its throne. Since joining the Big East, Xavier is just 1-9 against Villanova, but the Musketeers have made four straight NCAA Tournament appearances, and are coming off of one of their best seasons ever.

Villanova at Seton Hall (Feb. 28)

Two of the Big East ’s best have put on some of the league ’s most entertaining games in the past few years, and the late-season matchup could determine the conference champion. In recent seasons, the Pirates have never bowed down to league ’s top team, winning three matchups over the past four seasons, including the 2016 Big East Championship game.

Big East Questions

Is Villanova ’s run of league crowns in serious jeopardy?

Seton Hall is a real threat. Xavier is, too. But the Big East remains the Wildcats ’ to lose. With Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins gone, nearly the entire core of Villanova ’s national championship team has left, but Jay Wright ’s team remains well-rounded and balanced on both ends of the floor, led by Big East Player of the Year contender Jalen Brunson. The Wildcats have compiled a 63-9 league conference record over the past four seasons. Another banner is probably inevitable.

Is Seton Hall as good as its top 25 hype?

Most certainly, with Angel Delgado back, and in the conversation of the sport ’s best big man. The Pirates may have their best team in more than a decade and a half, and the deep, senior-heavy squad – Delgado, Khadeen Carrington, Desi Rodriguez and Ismael Sanogo – carries the experience of back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, which could result in the school ’s first win there since 2004, and perhaps more.

see also

A Georgetown rebuild has begun, and Patrick Ewing sounds ready

A Georgetown rebuild has begun, and Patrick Ewing sounds ready

The shock was still being absorbed. That John Thompson III… How will Patrick Ewing handle his first season back in college?

As was the case with his friend and rival, Chris Mullin, two years ago, Ewing will take his lumps in his first season back in the college ranks. He inherited little from predecessor John Thompson III — leading scorers Rodney Pryor and L.J. Peak and big men Akoy Agau and Bradley Hayes moved on — and will be relying heavily on youth, in particular freshman Jamorko Pickett and sophomore Jagan Mosely. It could take several years for the Hoyas to get back into Big East contention.

Will St. John ’s return to the Big Dance?

The talent is there, and so is the experience. Depth and size, however, isn ’t. St. John ’s enters the season with nine scholarship players, leaving the Red Storm vulnerable. An injury or two, even minor, could derail their postseason hopes. Sit-out transfers Justin Simon (Arizona) and Marvin Clark Jr. (Michigan State) are key additions, and sophomore guards Marcus LoVett Jr. and Shamorie Ponds should take the next step in their progression, but Mullin ’s team still lacks enough capable big men needed to make the necessary leap. They wind up on the wrong side of the bubble.

Can the Big East equal last year ’s NCAA Tournament haul?

The conference sent 70 percent of the league dancing last year, an impressive haul made possible by a strong non-conference season. Equaling that output will be a challenge. On paper, there are four likely tournament teams — Villanova, Xavier, Seton Hall and Providence — followed by four others contenders in Creighton, Marquette, St. John ’s and Butler. But the league ’s RPI will take a hit with Georgetown ’s cupcake schedule that features seven opponents that finished with an RPI of 320 or lower last year. Not to be forgotten, injuries to key players a year ago evened the playing field in February, enabling bubble teams to pick up marquee victories.

If only the Big East had broken up earlier.

After winning a share of just one league title in 16 seasons, Villanova enters the fifth season of the reconfigured Big East as the only regular season champion in the new league ’s history.

The Wildcats will be the favorite to take the title home again, though Seton Hall and Xavier could be just as dangerous come March, when the Big East will attempt to improve upon last season ’s mark of sending seven teams to the NCAA Tournament.

Big East Rankings

1. Villanova
2. Xavier
3. Seton Hall
4. Providence
5. Creighton
6. Marquette
7. St. John ’s
8. Butler
9. DePaul
10. Georgetown

Big East Preseason Player of the Year: Trevon Bluiett, F, Xavier

There may not be a more polished scoring wing in the country than the 6-foot-6 senior. As potent on the ball as off of it, while running around screens, his numbers have improved each season. The sharpshooting Bluiett is also coming off a brilliant NCAA Tournament, leading Xavier to the Elite Eight by averaging 21.2 points per game and shooting 41 percent from 3-point range.

Omari SpellmanAP

Big East Preseason Rookie of the Year: Omari Spellman, F, Villanova

Jay Wright is used to developing talent, not landing it ready-made. In the 6-foot-9, 245-pound Spellman, he has the best of both worlds, a five-star recruit he was able to mold last year after the Ohioan was ruled to be a partial qualifier by the NCAA. He will make an immediate impact for the Wildcats, a skilled big man who will make opposing defenses have to pick their poison: Leave Villanova ’s lethal shooters or let him have his way in the paint.

All-Big East First Team

Jalen Brunson, G, Villanova
Kyron Cartwright, G, Providence
Marcus Foster, G, Creighton
Angel Delgado, F, Seton Hall
Kelan Martin, F, Butler

Games to Watch

Georgetown at St. John ’s (Jan. 9)

The game might not hold your attention for long, but nostalgia makes this a must-see event, with Chris Mullin and Patrick Ewing leading their alma maters from the sideline, and reigniting their classic rivalry at Madison Square Garden.

Jay WrightAP

Xavier at Villanova (Jan. 10)

The Musketeers get an early shot to find out if they ’re ready to knock Villanova from its throne. Since joining the Big East, Xavier is just 1-9 against Villanova, but the Musketeers have made four straight NCAA Tournament appearances, and are coming off of one of their best seasons ever.

Villanova at Seton Hall (Feb. 28)

Two of the Big East ’s best have put on some of the league ’s most entertaining games in the past few years, and the late-season matchup could determine the conference champion. In recent seasons, the Pirates have never bowed down to league ’s top team, winning three matchups over the past four seasons, including the 2016 Big East Championship game.

Big East Questions

Is Villanova ’s run of league crowns in serious jeopardy?

Seton Hall is a real threat. Xavier is, too. But the Big East remains the Wildcats ’ to lose. With Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins gone, nearly the entire core of Villanova ’s national championship team has left, but Jay Wright ’s team remains well-rounded and balanced on both ends of the floor, led by Big East Player of the Year contender Jalen Brunson. The Wildcats have compiled a 63-9 league conference record over the past four seasons. Another banner is probably inevitable.

Is Seton Hall as good as its top 25 hype?

Most certainly, with Angel Delgado back, and in the conversation of the sport ’s best big man. The Pirates may have their best team in more than a decade and a half, and the deep, senior-heavy squad – Delgado, Khadeen Carrington, Desi Rodriguez and Ismael Sanogo – carries the experience of back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, which could result in the school ’s first win there since 2004, and perhaps more.

see also

A Georgetown rebuild has begun, and Patrick Ewing sounds ready

A Georgetown rebuild has begun, and Patrick Ewing sounds ready

The shock was still being absorbed. That John Thompson III… How will Patrick Ewing handle his first season back in college?

As was the case with his friend and rival, Chris Mullin, two years ago, Ewing will take his lumps in his first season back in the college ranks. He inherited little from predecessor John Thompson III — leading scorers Rodney Pryor and L.J. Peak and big men Akoy Agau and Bradley Hayes moved on — and will be relying heavily on youth, in particular freshman Jamorko Pickett and sophomore Jagan Mosely. It could take several years for the Hoyas to get back into Big East contention.

Will St. John ’s return to the Big Dance?

The talent is there, and so is the experience. Depth and size, however, isn ’t. St. John ’s enters the season with nine scholarship players, leaving the Red Storm vulnerable. An injury or two, even minor, could derail their postseason hopes. Sit-out transfers Justin Simon (Arizona) and Marvin Clark Jr. (Michigan State) are key additions, and sophomore guards Marcus LoVett Jr. and Shamorie Ponds should take the next step in their progression, but Mullin ’s team still lacks enough capable big men needed to make the necessary leap. They wind up on the wrong side of the bubble.

Can the Big East equal last year ’s NCAA Tournament haul?

The conference sent 70 percent of the league dancing last year, an impressive haul made possible by a strong non-conference season. Equaling that output will be a challenge. On paper, there are four likely tournament teams — Villanova, Xavier, Seton Hall and Providence — followed by four others contenders in Creighton, Marquette, St. John ’s and Butler. But the league ’s RPI will take a hit with Georgetown ’s cupcake schedule that features seven opponents that finished with an RPI of 320 or lower last year. Not to be forgotten, injuries to key players a year ago evened the playing field in February, enabling bubble teams to pick up marquee victories.

If only the Big East had broken up earlier.

After winning a share of just one league title in 16 seasons, Villanova enters the fifth season of the reconfigured Big East as the only regular season champion in the new league ’s history.

The Wildcats will be the favorite to take the title home again, though Seton Hall and Xavier could be just as dangerous come March, when the Big East will attempt to improve upon last season ’s mark of sending seven teams to the NCAA Tournament.

Big East Rankings

1. Villanova
2. Xavier
3. Seton Hall
4. Providence
5. Creighton
6. Marquette
7. St. John ’s
8. Butler
9. DePaul
10. Georgetown

Big East Preseason Player of the Year: Trevon Bluiett, F, Xavier

There may not be a more polished scoring wing in the country than the 6-foot-6 senior. As potent on the ball as off of it, while running around screens, his numbers have improved each season. The sharpshooting Bluiett is also coming off a brilliant NCAA Tournament, leading Xavier to the Elite Eight by averaging 21.2 points per game and shooting 41 percent from 3-point range.

Omari SpellmanAP

Big East Preseason Rookie of the Year: Omari Spellman, F, Villanova

Jay Wright is used to developing talent, not landing it ready-made. In the 6-foot-9, 245-pound Spellman, he has the best of both worlds, a five-star recruit he was able to mold last year after the Ohioan was ruled to be a partial qualifier by the NCAA. He will make an immediate impact for the Wildcats, a skilled big man who will make opposing defenses have to pick their poison: Leave Villanova ’s lethal shooters or let him have his way in the paint.

All-Big East First Team

Jalen Brunson, G, Villanova
Kyron Cartwright, G, Providence
Marcus Foster, G, Creighton
Angel Delgado, F, Seton Hall
Kelan Martin, F, Butler

Games to Watch

Georgetown at St. John ’s (Jan. 9)

The game might not hold your attention for long, but nostalgia makes this a must-see event, with Chris Mullin and Patrick Ewing leading their alma maters from the sideline, and reigniting their classic rivalry at Madison Square Garden.

Jay WrightAP

Xavier at Villanova (Jan. 10)

The Musketeers get an early shot to find out if they ’re ready to knock Villanova from its throne. Since joining the Big East, Xavier is just 1-9 against Villanova, but the Musketeers have made four straight NCAA Tournament appearances, and are coming off of one of their best seasons ever.

Villanova at Seton Hall (Feb. 28)

Two of the Big East ’s best have put on some of the league ’s most entertaining games in the past few years, and the late-season matchup could determine the conference champion. In recent seasons, the Pirates have never bowed down to league ’s top team, winning three matchups over the past four seasons, including the 2016 Big East Championship game.

Big East Questions

Is Villanova ’s run of league crowns in serious jeopardy?

Seton Hall is a real threat. Xavier is, too. But the Big East remains the Wildcats ’ to lose. With Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins gone, nearly the entire core of Villanova ’s national championship team has left, but Jay Wright ’s team remains well-rounded and balanced on both ends of the floor, led by Big East Player of the Year contender Jalen Brunson. The Wildcats have compiled a 63-9 league conference record over the past four seasons. Another banner is probably inevitable.

Is Seton Hall as good as its top 25 hype?

Most certainly, with Angel Delgado back, and in the conversation of the sport ’s best big man. The Pirates may have their best team in more than a decade and a half, and the deep, senior-heavy squad – Delgado, Khadeen Carrington, Desi Rodriguez and Ismael Sanogo – carries the experience of back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, which could result in the school ’s first win there since 2004, and perhaps more.

see also

A Georgetown rebuild has begun, and Patrick Ewing sounds ready

A Georgetown rebuild has begun, and Patrick Ewing sounds ready

The shock was still being absorbed. That John Thompson III… How will Patrick Ewing handle his first season back in college?

As was the case with his friend and rival, Chris Mullin, two years ago, Ewing will take his lumps in his first season back in the college ranks. He inherited little from predecessor John Thompson III — leading scorers Rodney Pryor and L.J. Peak and big men Akoy Agau and Bradley Hayes moved on — and will be relying heavily on youth, in particular freshman Jamorko Pickett and sophomore Jagan Mosely. It could take several years for the Hoyas to get back into Big East contention.

Will St. John ’s return to the Big Dance?

The talent is there, and so is the experience. Depth and size, however, isn ’t. St. John ’s enters the season with nine scholarship players, leaving the Red Storm vulnerable. An injury or two, even minor, could derail their postseason hopes. Sit-out transfers Justin Simon (Arizona) and Marvin Clark Jr. (Michigan State) are key additions, and sophomore guards Marcus LoVett Jr. and Shamorie Ponds should take the next step in their progression, but Mullin ’s team still lacks enough capable big men needed to make the necessary leap. They wind up on the wrong side of the bubble.

Can the Big East equal last year ’s NCAA Tournament haul?

The conference sent 70 percent of the league dancing last year, an impressive haul made possible by a strong non-conference season. Equaling that output will be a challenge. On paper, there are four likely tournament teams — Villanova, Xavier, Seton Hall and Providence — followed by four others contenders in Creighton, Marquette, St. John ’s and Butler. But the league ’s RPI will take a hit with Georgetown ’s cupcake schedule that features seven opponents that finished with an RPI of 320 or lower last year. Not to be forgotten, injuries to key players a year ago evened the playing field in February, enabling bubble teams to pick up marquee victories.

If only the Big East had broken up earlier.

After winning a share of just one league title in 16 seasons, Villanova enters the fifth season of the reconfigured Big East as the only regular season champion in the new league ’s history.

The Wildcats will be the favorite to take the title home again, though Seton Hall and Xavier could be just as dangerous come March, when the Big East will attempt to improve upon last season ’s mark of sending seven teams to the NCAA Tournament.

Big East Rankings

1. Villanova
2. Xavier
3. Seton Hall
4. Providence
5. Creighton
6. Marquette
7. St. John ’s
8. Butler
9. DePaul
10. Georgetown

Big East Preseason Player of the Year: Trevon Bluiett, F, Xavier

There may not be a more polished scoring wing in the country than the 6-foot-6 senior. As potent on the ball as off of it, while running around screens, his numbers have improved each season. The sharpshooting Bluiett is also coming off a brilliant NCAA Tournament, leading Xavier to the Elite Eight by averaging 21.2 points per game and shooting 41 percent from 3-point range.

Omari SpellmanAP

Big East Preseason Rookie of the Year: Omari Spellman, F, Villanova

Jay Wright is used to developing talent, not landing it ready-made. In the 6-foot-9, 245-pound Spellman, he has the best of both worlds, a five-star recruit he was able to mold last year after the Ohioan was ruled to be a partial qualifier by the NCAA. He will make an immediate impact for the Wildcats, a skilled big man who will make opposing defenses have to pick their poison: Leave Villanova ’s lethal shooters or let him have his way in the paint.

All-Big East First Team

Jalen Brunson, G, Villanova
Kyron Cartwright, G, Providence
Marcus Foster, G, Creighton
Angel Delgado, F, Seton Hall
Kelan Martin, F, Butler

Games to Watch

Georgetown at St. John ’s (Jan. 9)

The game might not hold your attention for long, but nostalgia makes this a must-see event, with Chris Mullin and Patrick Ewing leading their alma maters from the sideline, and reigniting their classic rivalry at Madison Square Garden.

Jay WrightAP

Xavier at Villanova (Jan. 10)

The Musketeers get an early shot to find out if they ’re ready to knock Villanova from its throne. Since joining the Big East, Xavier is just 1-9 against Villanova, but the Musketeers have made four straight NCAA Tournament appearances, and are coming off of one of their best seasons ever.

Villanova at Seton Hall (Feb. 28)

Two of the Big East ’s best have put on some of the league ’s most entertaining games in the past few years, and the late-season matchup could determine the conference champion. In recent seasons, the Pirates have never bowed down to league ’s top team, winning three matchups over the past four seasons, including the 2016 Big East Championship game.

Big East Questions

Is Villanova ’s run of league crowns in serious jeopardy?

Seton Hall is a real threat. Xavier is, too. But the Big East remains the Wildcats ’ to lose. With Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins gone, nearly the entire core of Villanova ’s national championship team has left, but Jay Wright ’s team remains well-rounded and balanced on both ends of the floor, led by Big East Player of the Year contender Jalen Brunson. The Wildcats have compiled a 63-9 league conference record over the past four seasons. Another banner is probably inevitable.

Is Seton Hall as good as its top 25 hype?

Most certainly, with Angel Delgado back, and in the conversation of the sport ’s best big man. The Pirates may have their best team in more than a decade and a half, and the deep, senior-heavy squad – Delgado, Khadeen Carrington, Desi Rodriguez and Ismael Sanogo – carries the experience of back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, which could result in the school ’s first win there since 2004, and perhaps more.

see also

A Georgetown rebuild has begun, and Patrick Ewing sounds ready

A Georgetown rebuild has begun, and Patrick Ewing sounds ready

The shock was still being absorbed. That John Thompson III… How will Patrick Ewing handle his first season back in college?

As was the case with his friend and rival, Chris Mullin, two years ago, Ewing will take his lumps in his first season back in the college ranks. He inherited little from predecessor John Thompson III — leading scorers Rodney Pryor and L.J. Peak and big men Akoy Agau and Bradley Hayes moved on — and will be relying heavily on youth, in particular freshman Jamorko Pickett and sophomore Jagan Mosely. It could take several years for the Hoyas to get back into Big East contention.

Will St. John ’s return to the Big Dance?

The talent is there, and so is the experience. Depth and size, however, isn ’t. St. John ’s enters the season with nine scholarship players, leaving the Red Storm vulnerable. An injury or two, even minor, could derail their postseason hopes. Sit-out transfers Justin Simon (Arizona) and Marvin Clark Jr. (Michigan State) are key additions, and sophomore guards Marcus LoVett Jr. and Shamorie Ponds should take the next step in their progression, but Mullin ’s team still lacks enough capable big men needed to make the necessary leap. They wind up on the wrong side of the bubble.

Can the Big East equal last year ’s NCAA Tournament haul?

The conference sent 70 percent of the league dancing last year, an impressive haul made possible by a strong non-conference season. Equaling that output will be a challenge. On paper, there are four likely tournament teams — Villanova, Xavier, Seton Hall and Providence — followed by four others contenders in Creighton, Marquette, St. John ’s and Butler. But the league ’s RPI will take a hit with Georgetown ’s cupcake schedule that features seven opponents that finished with an RPI of 320 or lower last year. Not to be forgotten, injuries to key players a year ago evened the playing field in February, enabling bubble teams to pick up marquee victories.

If only the Big East had broken up earlier.

After winning a share of just one league title in 16 seasons, Villanova enters the fifth season of the reconfigured Big East as the only regular season champion in the new league ’s history.

The Wildcats will be the favorite to take the title home again, though Seton Hall and Xavier could be just as dangerous come March, when the Big East will attempt to improve upon last season ’s mark of sending seven teams to the NCAA Tournament.

Big East Rankings

1. Villanova
2. Xavier
3. Seton Hall
4. Providence
5. Creighton
6. Marquette
7. St. John ’s
8. Butler
9. DePaul
10. Georgetown

Big East Preseason Player of the Year: Trevon Bluiett, F, Xavier

There may not be a more polished scoring wing in the country than the 6-foot-6 senior. As potent on the ball as off of it, while running around screens, his numbers have improved each season. The sharpshooting Bluiett is also coming off a brilliant NCAA Tournament, leading Xavier to the Elite Eight by averaging 21.2 points per game and shooting 41 percent from 3-point range.

Omari SpellmanAP

Big East Preseason Rookie of the Year: Omari Spellman, F, Villanova

Jay Wright is used to developing talent, not landing it ready-made. In the 6-foot-9, 245-pound Spellman, he has the best of both worlds, a five-star recruit he was able to mold last year after the Ohioan was ruled to be a partial qualifier by the NCAA. He will make an immediate impact for the Wildcats, a skilled big man who will make opposing defenses have to pick their poison: Leave Villanova ’s lethal shooters or let him have his way in the paint.

All-Big East First Team

Jalen Brunson, G, Villanova
Kyron Cartwright, G, Providence
Marcus Foster, G, Creighton
Angel Delgado, F, Seton Hall
Kelan Martin, F, Butler

Games to Watch

Georgetown at St. John ’s (Jan. 9)

The game might not hold your attention for long, but nostalgia makes this a must-see event, with Chris Mullin and Patrick Ewing leading their alma maters from the sideline, and reigniting their classic rivalry at Madison Square Garden.

Jay WrightAP

Xavier at Villanova (Jan. 10)

The Musketeers get an early shot to find out if they ’re ready to knock Villanova from its throne. Since joining the Big East, Xavier is just 1-9 against Villanova, but the Musketeers have made four straight NCAA Tournament appearances, and are coming off of one of their best seasons ever.

Villanova at Seton Hall (Feb. 28)

Two of the Big East ’s best have put on some of the league ’s most entertaining games in the past few years, and the late-season matchup could determine the conference champion. In recent seasons, the Pirates have never bowed down to league ’s top team, winning three matchups over the past four seasons, including the 2016 Big East Championship game.

Big East Questions

Is Villanova ’s run of league crowns in serious jeopardy?

Seton Hall is a real threat. Xavier is, too. But the Big East remains the Wildcats ’ to lose. With Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins gone, nearly the entire core of Villanova ’s national championship team has left, but Jay Wright ’s team remains well-rounded and balanced on both ends of the floor, led by Big East Player of the Year contender Jalen Brunson. The Wildcats have compiled a 63-9 league conference record over the past four seasons. Another banner is probably inevitable.

Is Seton Hall as good as its top 25 hype?

Most certainly, with Angel Delgado back, and in the conversation of the sport ’s best big man. The Pirates may have their best team in more than a decade and a half, and the deep, senior-heavy squad – Delgado, Khadeen Carrington, Desi Rodriguez and Ismael Sanogo – carries the experience of back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, which could result in the school ’s first win there since 2004, and perhaps more.

see also

A Georgetown rebuild has begun, and Patrick Ewing sounds ready

A Georgetown rebuild has begun, and Patrick Ewing sounds ready

The shock was still being absorbed. That John Thompson III… How will Patrick Ewing handle his first season back in college?

As was the case with his friend and rival, Chris Mullin, two years ago, Ewing will take his lumps in his first season back in the college ranks. He inherited little from predecessor John Thompson III — leading scorers Rodney Pryor and L.J. Peak and big men Akoy Agau and Bradley Hayes moved on — and will be relying heavily on youth, in particular freshman Jamorko Pickett and sophomore Jagan Mosely. It could take several years for the Hoyas to get back into Big East contention.

Will St. John ’s return to the Big Dance?

The talent is there, and so is the experience. Depth and size, however, isn ’t. St. John ’s enters the season with nine scholarship players, leaving the Red Storm vulnerable. An injury or two, even minor, could derail their postseason hopes. Sit-out transfers Justin Simon (Arizona) and Marvin Clark Jr. (Michigan State) are key additions, and sophomore guards Marcus LoVett Jr. and Shamorie Ponds should take the next step in their progression, but Mullin ’s team still lacks enough capable big men needed to make the necessary leap. They wind up on the wrong side of the bubble.

Can the Big East equal last year ’s NCAA Tournament haul?

The conference sent 70 percent of the league dancing last year, an impressive haul made possible by a strong non-conference season. Equaling that output will be a challenge. On paper, there are four likely tournament teams — Villanova, Xavier, Seton Hall and Providence — followed by four others contenders in Creighton, Marquette, St. John ’s and Butler. But the league ’s RPI will take a hit with Georgetown ’s cupcake schedule that features seven opponents that finished with an RPI of 320 or lower last year. Not to be forgotten, injuries to key players a year ago evened the playing field in February, enabling bubble teams to pick up marquee victories.

If only the Big East had broken up earlier.

After winning a share of just one league title in 16 seasons, Villanova enters the fifth season of the reconfigured Big East as the only regular season champion in the new league ’s history.

The Wildcats will be the favorite to take the title home again, though Seton Hall and Xavier could be just as dangerous come March, when the Big East will attempt to improve upon last season ’s mark of sending seven teams to the NCAA Tournament.

Big East Rankings

1. Villanova
2. Xavier
3. Seton Hall
4. Providence
5. Creighton
6. Marquette
7. St. John ’s
8. Butler
9. DePaul
10. Georgetown

Big East Preseason Player of the Year: Trevon Bluiett, F, Xavier

There may not be a more polished scoring wing in the country than the 6-foot-6 senior. As potent on the ball as off of it, while running around screens, his numbers have improved each season. The sharpshooting Bluiett is also coming off a brilliant NCAA Tournament, leading Xavier to the Elite Eight by averaging 21.2 points per game and shooting 41 percent from 3-point range.

Omari SpellmanAP

Big East Preseason Rookie of the Year: Omari Spellman, F, Villanova

Jay Wright is used to developing talent, not landing it ready-made. In the 6-foot-9, 245-pound Spellman, he has the best of both worlds, a five-star recruit he was able to mold last year after the Ohioan was ruled to be a partial qualifier by the NCAA. He will make an immediate impact for the Wildcats, a skilled big man who will make opposing defenses have to pick their poison: Leave Villanova ’s lethal shooters or let him have his way in the paint.

All-Big East First Team

Jalen Brunson, G, Villanova
Kyron Cartwright, G, Providence
Marcus Foster, G, Creighton
Angel Delgado, F, Seton Hall
Kelan Martin, F, Butler

Games to Watch

Georgetown at St. John ’s (Jan. 9)

The game might not hold your attention for long, but nostalgia makes this a must-see event, with Chris Mullin and Patrick Ewing leading their alma maters from the sideline, and reigniting their classic rivalry at Madison Square Garden.

Jay WrightAP

Xavier at Villanova (Jan. 10)

The Musketeers get an early shot to find out if they ’re ready to knock Villanova from its throne. Since joining the Big East, Xavier is just 1-9 against Villanova, but the Musketeers have made four straight NCAA Tournament appearances, and are coming off of one of their best seasons ever.

Villanova at Seton Hall (Feb. 28)

Two of the Big East ’s best have put on some of the league ’s most entertaining games in the past few years, and the late-season matchup could determine the conference champion. In recent seasons, the Pirates have never bowed down to league ’s top team, winning three matchups over the past four seasons, including the 2016 Big East Championship game.

Big East Questions

Is Villanova ’s run of league crowns in serious jeopardy?

Seton Hall is a real threat. Xavier is, too. But the Big East remains the Wildcats ’ to lose. With Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins gone, nearly the entire core of Villanova ’s national championship team has left, but Jay Wright ’s team remains well-rounded and balanced on both ends of the floor, led by Big East Player of the Year contender Jalen Brunson. The Wildcats have compiled a 63-9 league conference record over the past four seasons. Another banner is probably inevitable.

Is Seton Hall as good as its top 25 hype?

Most certainly, with Angel Delgado back, and in the conversation of the sport ’s best big man. The Pirates may have their best team in more than a decade and a half, and the deep, senior-heavy squad – Delgado, Khadeen Carrington, Desi Rodriguez and Ismael Sanogo – carries the experience of back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, which could result in the school ’s first win there since 2004, and perhaps more.

see also

A Georgetown rebuild has begun, and Patrick Ewing sounds ready

A Georgetown rebuild has begun, and Patrick Ewing sounds ready

The shock was still being absorbed. That John Thompson III… How will Patrick Ewing handle his first season back in college?

As was the case with his friend and rival, Chris Mullin, two years ago, Ewing will take his lumps in his first season back in the college ranks. He inherited little from predecessor John Thompson III — leading scorers Rodney Pryor and L.J. Peak and big men Akoy Agau and Bradley Hayes moved on — and will be relying heavily on youth, in particular freshman Jamorko Pickett and sophomore Jagan Mosely. It could take several years for the Hoyas to get back into Big East contention.

Will St. John ’s return to the Big Dance?

The talent is there, and so is the experience. Depth and size, however, isn ’t. St. John ’s enters the season with nine scholarship players, leaving the Red Storm vulnerable. An injury or two, even minor, could derail their postseason hopes. Sit-out transfers Justin Simon (Arizona) and Marvin Clark Jr. (Michigan State) are key additions, and sophomore guards Marcus LoVett Jr. and Shamorie Ponds should take the next step in their progression, but Mullin ’s team still lacks enough capable big men needed to make the necessary leap. They wind up on the wrong side of the bubble.

Can the Big East equal last year ’s NCAA Tournament haul?

The conference sent 70 percent of the league dancing last year, an impressive haul made possible by a strong non-conference season. Equaling that output will be a challenge. On paper, there are four likely tournament teams — Villanova, Xavier, Seton Hall and Providence — followed by four others contenders in Creighton, Marquette, St. John ’s and Butler. But the league ’s RPI will take a hit with Georgetown ’s cupcake schedule that features seven opponents that finished with an RPI of 320 or lower last year. Not to be forgotten, injuries to key players a year ago evened the playing field in February, enabling bubble teams to pick up marquee victories.

If only the Big East had broken up earlier.

After winning a share of just one league title in 16 seasons, Villanova enters the fifth season of the reconfigured Big East as the only regular season champion in the new league ’s history.

The Wildcats will be the favorite to take the title home again, though Seton Hall and Xavier could be just as dangerous come March, when the Big East will attempt to improve upon last season ’s mark of sending seven teams to the NCAA Tournament.

Big East Rankings

1. Villanova
2. Xavier
3. Seton Hall
4. Providence
5. Creighton
6. Marquette
7. St. John ’s
8. Butler
9. DePaul
10. Georgetown

Big East Preseason Player of the Year: Trevon Bluiett, F, Xavier

There may not be a more polished scoring wing in the country than the 6-foot-6 senior. As potent on the ball as off of it, while running around screens, his numbers have improved each season. The sharpshooting Bluiett is also coming off a brilliant NCAA Tournament, leading Xavier to the Elite Eight by averaging 21.2 points per game and shooting 41 percent from 3-point range.

Omari SpellmanAP

Big East Preseason Rookie of the Year: Omari Spellman, F, Villanova

Jay Wright is used to developing talent, not landing it ready-made. In the 6-foot-9, 245-pound Spellman, he has the best of both worlds, a five-star recruit he was able to mold last year after the Ohioan was ruled to be a partial qualifier by the NCAA. He will make an immediate impact for the Wildcats, a skilled big man who will make opposing defenses have to pick their poison: Leave Villanova ’s lethal shooters or let him have his way in the paint.

All-Big East First Team

Jalen Brunson, G, Villanova
Kyron Cartwright, G, Providence
Marcus Foster, G, Creighton
Angel Delgado, F, Seton Hall
Kelan Martin, F, Butler

Games to Watch

Georgetown at St. John ’s (Jan. 9)

The game might not hold your attention for long, but nostalgia makes this a must-see event, with Chris Mullin and Patrick Ewing leading their alma maters from the sideline, and reigniting their classic rivalry at Madison Square Garden.

Jay WrightAP

Xavier at Villanova (Jan. 10)

The Musketeers get an early shot to find out if they ’re ready to knock Villanova from its throne. Since joining the Big East, Xavier is just 1-9 against Villanova, but the Musketeers have made four straight NCAA Tournament appearances, and are coming off of one of their best seasons ever.

Villanova at Seton Hall (Feb. 28)

Two of the Big East ’s best have put on some of the league ’s most entertaining games in the past few years, and the late-season matchup could determine the conference champion. In recent seasons, the Pirates have never bowed down to league ’s top team, winning three matchups over the past four seasons, including the 2016 Big East Championship game.

Big East Questions

Is Villanova ’s run of league crowns in serious jeopardy?

Seton Hall is a real threat. Xavier is, too. But the Big East remains the Wildcats ’ to lose. With Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins gone, nearly the entire core of Villanova ’s national championship team has left, but Jay Wright ’s team remains well-rounded and balanced on both ends of the floor, led by Big East Player of the Year contender Jalen Brunson. The Wildcats have compiled a 63-9 league conference record over the past four seasons. Another banner is probably inevitable.

Is Seton Hall as good as its top 25 hype?

Most certainly, with Angel Delgado back, and in the conversation of the sport ’s best big man. The Pirates may have their best team in more than a decade and a half, and the deep, senior-heavy squad – Delgado, Khadeen Carrington, Desi Rodriguez and Ismael Sanogo – carries the experience of back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, which could result in the school ’s first win there since 2004, and perhaps more.

see also

A Georgetown rebuild has begun, and Patrick Ewing sounds ready

A Georgetown rebuild has begun, and Patrick Ewing sounds ready

The shock was still being absorbed. That John Thompson III… How will Patrick Ewing handle his first season back in college?

As was the case with his friend and rival, Chris Mullin, two years ago, Ewing will take his lumps in his first season back in the college ranks. He inherited little from predecessor John Thompson III — leading scorers Rodney Pryor and L.J. Peak and big men Akoy Agau and Bradley Hayes moved on — and will be relying heavily on youth, in particular freshman Jamorko Pickett and sophomore Jagan Mosely. It could take several years for the Hoyas to get back into Big East contention.

Will St. John ’s return to the Big Dance?

The talent is there, and so is the experience. Depth and size, however, isn ’t. St. John ’s enters the season with nine scholarship players, leaving the Red Storm vulnerable. An injury or two, even minor, could derail their postseason hopes. Sit-out transfers Justin Simon (Arizona) and Marvin Clark Jr. (Michigan State) are key additions, and sophomore guards Marcus LoVett Jr. and Shamorie Ponds should take the next step in their progression, but Mullin ’s team still lacks enough capable big men needed to make the necessary leap. They wind up on the wrong side of the bubble.

Can the Big East equal last year ’s NCAA Tournament haul?

The conference sent 70 percent of the league dancing last year, an impressive haul made possible by a strong non-conference season. Equaling that output will be a challenge. On paper, there are four likely tournament teams — Villanova, Xavier, Seton Hall and Providence — followed by four others contenders in Creighton, Marquette, St. John ’s and Butler. But the league ’s RPI will take a hit with Georgetown ’s cupcake schedule that features seven opponents that finished with an RPI of 320 or lower last year. Not to be forgotten, injuries to key players a year ago evened the playing field in February, enabling bubble teams to pick up marquee victories.

If only the Big East had broken up earlier.

After winning a share of just one league title in 16 seasons, Villanova enters the fifth season of the reconfigured Big East as the only regular season champion in the new league ’s history.

The Wildcats will be the favorite to take the title home again, though Seton Hall and Xavier could be just as dangerous come March, when the Big East will attempt to improve upon last season ’s mark of sending seven teams to the NCAA Tournament.

Big East Rankings

1. Villanova
2. Xavier
3. Seton Hall
4. Providence
5. Creighton
6. Marquette
7. St. John ’s
8. Butler
9. DePaul
10. Georgetown

Big East Preseason Player of the Year: Trevon Bluiett, F, Xavier

There may not be a more polished scoring wing in the country than the 6-foot-6 senior. As potent on the ball as off of it, while running around screens, his numbers have improved each season. The sharpshooting Bluiett is also coming off a brilliant NCAA Tournament, leading Xavier to the Elite Eight by averaging 21.2 points per game and shooting 41 percent from 3-point range.

Omari SpellmanAP

Big East Preseason Rookie of the Year: Omari Spellman, F, Villanova

Jay Wright is used to developing talent, not landing it ready-made. In the 6-foot-9, 245-pound Spellman, he has the best of both worlds, a five-star recruit he was able to mold last year after the Ohioan was ruled to be a partial qualifier by the NCAA. He will make an immediate impact for the Wildcats, a skilled big man who will make opposing defenses have to pick their poison: Leave Villanova ’s lethal shooters or let him have his way in the paint.

All-Big East First Team

Jalen Brunson, G, Villanova
Kyron Cartwright, G, Providence
Marcus Foster, G, Creighton
Angel Delgado, F, Seton Hall
Kelan Martin, F, Butler

Games to Watch

Georgetown at St. John ’s (Jan. 9)

The game might not hold your attention for long, but nostalgia makes this a must-see event, with Chris Mullin and Patrick Ewing leading their alma maters from the sideline, and reigniting their classic rivalry at Madison Square Garden.

Jay WrightAP

Xavier at Villanova (Jan. 10)

The Musketeers get an early shot to find out if they ’re ready to knock Villanova from its throne. Since joining the Big East, Xavier is just 1-9 against Villanova, but the Musketeers have made four straight NCAA Tournament appearances, and are coming off of one of their best seasons ever.

Villanova at Seton Hall (Feb. 28)

Two of the Big East ’s best have put on some of the league ’s most entertaining games in the past few years, and the late-season matchup could determine the conference champion. In recent seasons, the Pirates have never bowed down to league ’s top team, winning three matchups over the past four seasons, including the 2016 Big East Championship game.

Big East Questions

Is Villanova ’s run of league crowns in serious jeopardy?

Seton Hall is a real threat. Xavier is, too. But the Big East remains the Wildcats ’ to lose. With Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins gone, nearly the entire core of Villanova ’s national championship team has left, but Jay Wright ’s team remains well-rounded and balanced on both ends of the floor, led by Big East Player of the Year contender Jalen Brunson. The Wildcats have compiled a 63-9 league conference record over the past four seasons. Another banner is probably inevitable.

Is Seton Hall as good as its top 25 hype?

Most certainly, with Angel Delgado back, and in the conversation of the sport ’s best big man. The Pirates may have their best team in more than a decade and a half, and the deep, senior-heavy squad – Delgado, Khadeen Carrington, Desi Rodriguez and Ismael Sanogo – carries the experience of back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, which could result in the school ’s first win there since 2004, and perhaps more.

see also

A Georgetown rebuild has begun, and Patrick Ewing sounds ready

A Georgetown rebuild has begun, and Patrick Ewing sounds ready

The shock was still being absorbed. That John Thompson III… How will Patrick Ewing handle his first season back in college?

As was the case with his friend and rival, Chris Mullin, two years ago, Ewing will take his lumps in his first season back in the college ranks. He inherited little from predecessor John Thompson III — leading scorers Rodney Pryor and L.J. Peak and big men Akoy Agau and Bradley Hayes moved on — and will be relying heavily on youth, in particular freshman Jamorko Pickett and sophomore Jagan Mosely. It could take several years for the Hoyas to get back into Big East contention.

Will St. John ’s return to the Big Dance?

The talent is there, and so is the experience. Depth and size, however, isn ’t. St. John ’s enters the season with nine scholarship players, leaving the Red Storm vulnerable. An injury or two, even minor, could derail their postseason hopes. Sit-out transfers Justin Simon (Arizona) and Marvin Clark Jr. (Michigan State) are key additions, and sophomore guards Marcus LoVett Jr. and Shamorie Ponds should take the next step in their progression, but Mullin ’s team still lacks enough capable big men needed to make the necessary leap. They wind up on the wrong side of the bubble.

Can the Big East equal last year ’s NCAA Tournament haul?

The conference sent 70 percent of the league dancing last year, an impressive haul made possible by a strong non-conference season. Equaling that output will be a challenge. On paper, there are four likely tournament teams — Villanova, Xavier, Seton Hall and Providence — followed by four others contenders in Creighton, Marquette, St. John ’s and Butler. But the league ’s RPI will take a hit with Georgetown ’s cupcake schedule that features seven opponents that finished with an RPI of 320 or lower last year. Not to be forgotten, injuries to key players a year ago evened the playing field in February, enabling bubble teams to pick up marquee victories.

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