The two-time defending regular season champs are once again the favorite this season. Led by last year’s Big East Co-Player of the Year Ryan Arcidiacono and fellow senior Daniel Ochefu, Jay Wright’s team hopes to dance past the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament.
Arguably the most talented team in the Big East, Georgetown will give the Wildcats a run for their money. The Hoyas will go as far as senior guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera leads them, and he certainly has the ability to bring them a long way.
The Musketeers will look to improve on a 9-9 conference record from a year ago in Trevon Bluiett’s sophomore season. The leading returning scorer will play behind a deep frontcourt that features seven players 6-8 or taller.
The Bulldogs made it back to the NCAA Tournament last season for the first time since the departure of current Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens. Butler will look to make another one of their trademark runs under second-year coach Chris Holtmann and sharpshooting senior Kellen Dunham.
Last year’s cellar dwellers should improve from a disappointing campaign. On top of returning two of their top three scorers, Marquette will be expecting big things from 6-foot-10 freshman power forward Henry Ellenson.
The good news is that the Friars are returning Big East Co-Player of the Year Kris Dunn. The bad news is that Providence lost three of its top four scorers from a year ago, and thus a third-straight appearance in the Big Dance appears unlikely.
7 Seton Hall
Don’t expect much change from a Pirates team that last season finished 6-12 in Big East play. The addition of transfer Derrick Gordon will be outweighed by the loss of last year’s leading scorer, Sterling Gibbs.
8 St. John’s
The excitement is high, but the expectations are low for the Red Storm and first-year coach Chris Mullin. The loss of Marcus LoVett due to eligibility issues is a crushing blow to a team with just three returning players from a year ago.
Limited depth at guard will hurt a Bluejays team that lost seven players to graduation in the spring. Top 50 recruit Justin Patton is their future.
The Blue Demons will be looking to snap an eight-game conference losing streak when they open up Big East play against Georgetown on Dec. 30. The return of coach Dave Leitao gives hope for a turnaround.