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2017-18 Big East Conference Preview

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1. VILLANOVA WILDCATS – The Wildcats should be back and ready to roll as they bring back one of the nation’s top players in guard Jalen Brunson. It’s not only Brunson for head coach Jay Wright. This is a title contender since aside from Brunson they also return Donte DiVincenzo, Mikal Bridges and also welcome in freshman Omari Spellman this team should be loaded and the favorite to win the Big East. Biggest Non-Conference games: vs Gonzaga, @ Temple, @ Saint Joseph’s

2. XAVIER MUSKETEERS – The Musketeers return Trevon Bluiett and J.P. Macura and they’ll be two of the four seniors who should be in the starting lineup come tip off of the season. Experienced rosters normally fare very well come March so keep an eye out on this Musketeers team. Biggest Non-Conference games: @ Wisconsin, vs Baylor, vs Cincinnati.

3. SETON HALL PIRATES – Talk about a solid pick as a sleeper to win the conference Seton Hall should be loaded to contend. The Pirates are led by the return of seniors Khadeen Carrington, Angel Delgado & Dezi Rodriguez who are all legit scorers. Plus they bring back Myles Powell who averaged over double digits as a sophomore last year. Kevin Willard should be very optimistic about this coming season because the Pirates are Big East contenders and should certainly being playing in the NCAA Tournament. Biggest Non-Conference games: vs Indiana, vs Rhode Island, @ Louisville, vs VCU.

4. PROVIDENCE FRIARS – Most of these Big East teams I’m covering seem to be pretty experienced well Providence is certainly no different. The Friars are led by four seniors who all averaged over double digits in points per game last year. Those four are Rodney Bullock, Emmitt Holt, Kyron Cartwright & Jalen Lindsay. Together they should make the Friars and extremely tough out for opposing Big East teams. Plus head coach Ed Cooley always seems to get the most out of his players so there is plenty to be optimistic about this season. Biggest Non-Conference games: vs Washington, vs Boston College, @ Rhode Island & vs Houston.

5. CREIGHTON BLUEJAYS – Another team that should have decent odds at a long shot that could make a run for the Big East title would be Creighton. Mainly because they return Marcus Foster, Kyhri Thomas and Kaleb Joseph who all averaged over double digits last season. Creighton is normally known for their three point shooting which at the moment is a bit of question since their best shooters graduated but I’m sure they’ll have some sharp shooters emerge. Biggest Non-Conference games: @ Northwestern, vs UCLA, @ Gonzaga, vs Nebraska.

6. MARQUETTE GOLDEN EAGLES – This team will be able to light up the scoreboard with the return of Markus Howard, Andrew Romsey, Sam Hauser and Haanif Cheatham. The real question is if they can learn to be a better defensive team. The team lacks size inside as well so rebounding could be another issue. Biggest Non-Conference games: vs Purdue, vs VCU, vs Georgia, @ Wisconsin.

7. BUTLER BULLDOGS – The Bulldogs are a bit of a question mark for me coming into this year. The roster has some nice talent like Kelan Martin and Kamar Baldwin but they’re replacing some pieces and they’re breaking in a new head coach in LaVall Jordan after Chris Holtmann left for Ohio State. Best case scenario is everything works out and if that’s the case Butler could be a little higher ranked but worst case scenario has them dropping a few spots from here. Biggest Non-Conference games:@ Maryland, vs Texas, vs Utah and probably a game vs Duke.

8. ST. JOHN’S RED STORM – Head coach Chris Mullin should have one of the more interesting teams to watch come tip off. I have them ranked 8th in the conference because I haven’t seen them together yet but this team could be exciting and could finish a few spots better than eighth if they put it all together. Marcus LoVett & Shamorie Ponds can light up the scoreboard and now they welcome in transfers Justin Simon from Arizona and Marvin Clark Jr. from Michigan State and suddenly this Red Storm team has a ton of talent. Biggest Non-Conference games: vs Nebraska, vs Oregon State, vs Arizona State.

9. DEPAUL BLUE DEMONS – DePaul has yet to find their way in the new Big East and it appears this year could stay on that pace. Sure, the Blue Demons have some talent with shooting guard Elijah Cain and they have some nice transfers coming in with Marin Maric from Northern Illinois and Max Strus from Lewis but will the Blue Demons be able to finally get over the hump? I have my doubts. Biggest Non-Conference games: vs Notre Dame, @ Illinois, vs Michigan State, vs Northwestern.

10. GEORGETOWN HOYAS – Patrick Ewing is the new head coach at Georgetown and that means I have just as many questions about Ewing as he probably does when he looks at his roster. Ewing’s first thing he’s done since he’s gotten into town is duck a few big games and schedule really lightly out of conference. Ewing also landed four star forward Jamorko Pickett which could prove to be a big land. Pickett should team up with Jessie Govan and Marcus Derrickson to lead this year’s Hoyas team. Biggest Non-Conference game: @ Richmond, vs Syracuse.

Colby Dant is a stand up comedian and The Sports Gambling Podcast’s official college football and basketball expert. Unfortunately he’s also a huge Jets fan.

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