By: Danny O’Malley
After the many rumors of Xavier University joining the Big East proved to be true, XU finds itself among college basketball’s elite in its new conference.
As the Big East logo gets painted on the court, placed on Xavier T-shirts and marketed across campus and the Cincinnati area, the Xavier community is eager to see the new set of basketball talent in the 2013-14 season.
The conference now consists of Xavier, Butler, St. John’s, Georgetown, Villanova, Creighton, DePaul, Providence, Marquette and Seton Hall.
When it comes to examining the teams with the best talent in the league, it’s hard to leave Marquette’s name out of the mix.
However, head coach Buzz Williams lost Vander Blue to the NBA draft and this will hurt the team’s chances at coming out on top.
St. John’s has a great shot of winning the conference. Sophomore guard D’Angelo Harrison, who averaged 17.8 points per game last year, will help the Red Storm become a forced to be reckoned with.
Two of the most talented players in the conference are Doug McDermott of Creighton and Bryce Cotton of Providence.
McDermott is coming into his senior season and has averaged at least 20 points and seven rebounds per game the past two years. In addition, he has twice been named as a first-team All-American player.
Cotton may not have two-time All-American credentials to his name, but he exhibits offensive prowess and averaged 19.7 points per game last year.
The Villanova Wildcats may be a team to look out for this year. The squad has many returners and a lot of team chemistry that could allow them to surprise some people.
Due to the close level of competition and talent within the conference, it is difficult to predict who will win the Big East this season. One thing is for sure: this will be an exciting season for the Big East and Xavier basketball.