By: Ryan O’Toole ~Staff Writer~
Many believe Xavier has a legitimate opportunity to compete for the Big East championship
this year, but the strength of the league presents quite the challenge. The Musketeers will face many tests as they move through their conference play.
Villanova University is returning most of its team from last year, making the Wildcats a favorite to win the conference. With an experienced squad featuring Ryan Arcidiacono, Darrun
Hillard, Josh Hart, Jay Vaughn Pinkston and Daniel Ochefu, four of whom are returning from last year’s squad, the Wildcats will have stability and depth this year. Nova finished 29-5 overall and 16-2 in conference play last season, losing twice to Creighton.
Creighton, which finished second last season, will most likely face early-season growing pains
after losing four of its best players, including Doug McDermott, who graduated as the fifth all-time leading scorer in NCAA Division I history.
Experts are confident in Georgetown this year. The Hoyas look to talented recruits, including
Isaac Copeland, L.J. Peak and Paul White, to make large contributions to the team this season.
These three have to potential to be the best of the Big East freshman class. The Hoyas are also loaded down low, with Copeland and Mikael Hopkins, a senior forward. St. John’s is loaded with guards and is looking to improve from Big season ahead for the Musketeers
To get back to its winning ways, St. John’s will need its starters to step up while keeping the
same intensity that made them the best shot-blocking team in the nation last year.
The Butler Bulldogs are looking to right their ship too. They started last season 10-2 before a heartbreaking overtime loss to Villanova sent them spiraling downwards. The Bulldogs will be led by Kellen Dunham who led the team in scoring last season.
Elsewhere, Seton Hall, Marquette and DePaul are going to have to put in significant work if they want to be competitive in the Big East. Providence, too, will struggle to have another successful season without key players Bryce Cotton and Kadeem Batts.