Big East move brings competition

Butler will be joining one of the nation’s premier basketball conferences when it enters the Big East next season.

Five teams from the new Big East, including the Butler men’s basketball team, were selected for this season’s NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Marquette (25-8, 14-4 in this season) has been a perennial contender in the Big East since departing Conference USA in 2005.

The Golden Eagles have now made three consecutive Sweet 16 appearances after their 74-72 win against Butler Saturday.

Before becoming a Big East member, Marquette won the 1977 National Championship as an independent.

The team made a run to the Final Four in 2003, led by then-coach Tom Crean and current Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade.

Other notable former Golden Eagles include Portland Trail Blazers guard Wesley Matthews and Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

Georgetown (25-7, 14-4) was a founding member of the original Big East in 1979 and has since won the 1984 National Championship and appeared in four Final Fours.

No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast stunned the No. 2 seed Hoyas 78-68 in a second-round game Friday.

How the loss will affect Georgetown’s star sophomore forward Otto Porter Jr. is unclear. Porter said he is undecided on whether he will enter the NBA draft.

Notable former Hoyas include Hall of Fame center Patrick Ewing, former Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson and Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert.

Villanova (20-14, 10-8) joined the Big East in 1980 and won the 1985 National Championship over conference rival Georgetown.

The Wildcats have made one Final Four appearance since then and have appeared in eight of the past nine NCAA tournaments.

No. 9 seed Villanova lost to No. 8 seed North Carolina in the second round of the NCAA tournament 78-71 Friday.

Sophomore forward JayVaughn Pinkston led the Wildcats in scoring with an average of 13.1 points per game and is second on the team in rebounding and assists.

Notable former Villanova players include Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry and Basketball Hall of Famer Paul Arizin.

St. John’s (17-16, 8-10) was also a founding member of the Big East, and the program owns the seventh-most victories in NCAA Division I basketball history.

The Red Storm have made 17 NCAA Tournament appearances since joining the conference in the 1979-80 season and advanced to the 1985 Final Four.

Notable former St. John’s players include Hall of Famer Chris Mullin, Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace and Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson.

Providence (18-14, 9-9) was an establishing member of the Big East in 1979.

The Friars have appeared in seven NCAA tournaments since joining the conference, including a trip to the 1987 Final Four when they were coached by current Louisville coach Rick Pitino.

Current Florida coach Billy Donovan was the leading scorer for that 1987 squad.

Other notable former Providence players include Hall of Fame player and coach Lenny Wilkens and former Georgetown coach John Thompson, Jr.

Seton Hall (15-18, 3-15) has also been in the Big East since the founding of the conference.

The Pirates have made nine NCAA tournament appearances, including finishing runner-up in the 1989 tournament when they lost to Michigan 80-79 in overtime.

Notable former Pirates include P.J. Carlesimo, interim coach of the Brooklyn Nets, and Milwaukee Bucks center Samuel Dalembert.

DePaul (11-21, 2-16) has been a member of the Big East since 2005 after leaving Conference USA along with Marquette.

The Blue Demons last appeared in the NCAA tournament in 2004.

Hall of Fame center George Mikan and former Detroit Pistons forward Mark Aguirre won national player of the year awards for DePaul.

Creighton (28-8, 13-5) is leaving the Missouri Valley to join the Big East.

The No. 7 seed Bluejays lost to No. 2 seed Duke 66-50 in the third round of the NCAA tournament Sunday.

Creighton has advanced to the round of 32 in the past two NCAA tournaments.

Junior forward Doug McDermott finished second in Division I in scoring this season, averaging 23.1 points per game.

The two-time All-American has not yet decided if he will forgo his senior year to enter the NBA draft or return for one more season.

Other notable former Bluejays include Baseball Hall of Famer Bob Gibson, former NBA coach Paul Silas and Atlanta Hawks forward Kyle Korver.

Xavier (17-14, 9-7) is leaving the A-10 to join the Big East.

The Musketeers have appeared in 11 of the last 13 NCAA tournaments, highlighted by berths in the Elite Eight in 2004 and 2008.

The team has also made it to at least the Sweet 16 in four of the past six seasons.

Notable former Xavier players include former Heat and Celtics forward James Posey and Pacers forward David West.

 

 

 

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