Butler’s Henry Baddley and Seton Hall’s Myles Powell fight for a rebound last season. Seton Hall was picked to finish first in the Big East preseason poll. Collegian file photo.
DREW SANDIFER | STAFF REPORTER | firstname.lastname@example.org
With college basketball season getting underway this week, it’s time to get an idea of the state of Butler’s conference, the Big East.
After experiencing an epic high in 2017-18 with six NCAA Tournament bids and the eventual national champion Villanova Wildcats, many of the Big East’s star players graduated or moved to the ranks of the NBA.
This left the Big East in a state of rebuilding in 2018-19 and the conference did not see the success to which it had become accustomed.
Now, many of the programs are restocked with big-time recruits or impact transfers and are hoping to get the conference back to its winning ways. With that being said, let’s take a look at the keys to know about each Big East team heading into the season.
WHO’S GONE?: Paul Jorgensen (11.7 pts), Joey Brunk (7.6 pts), Nate Fowler (5.5 pts)
WHO’S BACK?: Kamar Baldwin (17 pts), Jordan Tucker (9.7 pts), Sean McDermott (9.5 pts)
WHO’S NEW?: Derrik Smits (transfer from Valparaiso) Bryce Nze (transfer from UW-Milwaukee), Khalif Battle (4-star recruit)
BOTTOM LINE: The Bulldogs are returning the majority of their roster from last year, which greatly disappointed. Look for an attempt at a bounce-back campaign while trying to fill the center position vacated by Joey Brunk.
WHO’S GONE?: Martin Krampelj (13.5 pts), Kaleb Joseph (4.3 pts), Samson Froling (3.6 pts)
WHO’S BACK?: Ty-Shon Alexander (15.7 pts), Mitch Ballock (11.1 pts), Marcus Zegarowski (10.4 pts)
WHO’S NEW?: Shereef Mitchell (3-star recruit), Kelvin Jones (transfer from Idaho State)
BOTTOM LINE: Creighton retains most of its roster from a season ago, but like Butler, are susceptible to the Big East’s good big men
DePaul Blue Demons
WHO’S GONE?: Max Strus (20.7 pts), Eli Cain (13.1 pts), Femi Olujobi (12.8 pts)
WHO’S BACK?: Paul Reed (12.3 pts), Jalen Coleman-Lands (9.6 pts), Devin Gage (9.1 pts)
WHO’S NEW?: Romeo Weems (4-star recruit)
BOTTOM LINE: DePaul has a top-40 recruiting class, but lose its top three leading scorers. A jump from the cellar is still possible, but much higher than ninth is unlikely.
WHO’S GONE?: Jessie Govan (17.5 pts), Trey Mourning (6.3 pts), Greg Malinowski (5.7 pts)
WHO’S BACK?: James Akinjo (13.4 pts), Mac McClung (13.1 pts), Josh LeBlanc (9.1 pts)
WHO’S NEW?: Omer Yurtseven (transfer from NC State), Qudus Wahab (3-star recruit)
BOTTOM LINE: Jessie Govan’s shoes are going to be tough to fill, but Yurtseven is capable of the task. Look for improvement from last year’s fab freshman and Georgetown to be nationally relevant for the first time under Patrick Ewing.
Marquette Golden Eagles
WHO’S GONE?: Sam Hauser (14.9 pts), Joey Hauser (9.7 pts), Joseph Chartouny (3.0 pts)
WHO’S BACK?: Markus Howard (25.0 pts). Sacar Anim (8.3 pts), Ed Morrow (5.6 pts)
WHO’S NEW?: Koby McEwan (transfer from Utah State), Symir Torrence (4-star recruit)
BOTTOM LINE: Losing the Hauser brothers downs any hopes that Marquette would compete for a national championship, but Markus Howard should be must-see television as he has a chance to average 30 points per game this year.
WHO’S GONE?: Isaiah Jackson (9.6 pts), Makai Ashton-Langford (3.7 pts), Drew Edwards (3.2 pts)
WHO’S BACK?: Alpha Diallo (16.0 pts), Nate Watson (11.7 pts), AJ Reeves (9.8 pts)
WHO’S NEW?: Luwane Pipkins (transfer from UMass), Greg Gantt (4-star recruit)
BOTTOM LINE: Never count Ed Cooley out, and he returns Big East-first teamer Alphia Diallo and brings in some solid transfers to make the Friars a tough out when playing at the Dunk.
Seton Hall Pirates
WHO’S GONE?: Michael Nzei (9.0 pts)
WHO’S BACK?: Myles Powell (23.1 pts), Myles Cale (10.2 pts), Quincy McKnight (9.4 pts)
WHO’S NEW?: Ike Obiagu (transfer from Florida State), Tyrese Samuel (3-pts)
BOTTOM LINE: Seton Hall is easily the most improved team in the conference this year. There is only one player from last year’s team that is not on this year. Look for the Pirates to be looking to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament, with Powell being a true threat to win National Player of the Year.
St. John’s Red Storm
WHO’S GONE?: Shamorie Ponds (19.7 pts), Marvin Clark (10.5 pts), Justin Simon (10.4 pts)
WHO’S BACK?: Mustapha Heron (14.6 pts), LJ Figueroa (14.4 pts), Marcellus Earlington (2.1 pts)
WHO’S NEW?: Nick Rutherford (transfer from Monmouth), Damien Seats (transfer from Western Oklahoma State)
BOTTOM LINE: New head coach Mike Anderson isn’t inheriting much from Chris Mullin’s stay with SJU. A finish anywhere outside of dead last would be an accomplishment.
WHO’S GONE?: Phil Booth (18.6 pts), Eric Paschall (16.5 pts), Joe Cremo (4.0 pts)
WHO’S BACK?: Collin Gillespie (10.9 pts), Saddiq Bey (8.2 pts), Jermaine Samuels (6.4 pts)
WHO’S NEW?: Eric Dixon (4-star recruit), Bryan Antoine (5-star recruit)
BOTTOM LINE: After a slight rebuilding year, Villanova is reloaded with impact freshmen. While they are favorites to win the conference, the question remains who will be the leaders to replace Booth and Paschall.
WHO’S GONE?: Zach Hankins (10.6 pts), Ryan Welage (6.7 pts), Kyle Castlin (4.3 pts)
WHO’S BACK?: Naji Marshall (14.7 pts), Paul Scruggs (12.3 pts), Tyrique Jones (11.3 pts)
WHO’S NEW?: Jason Carter (transfer from Ohio), Bryce Moore (transfer from Western Michigan)
BOTTOMLINE: Coach Travis Steele made it out of his first year and now has some of his own players to contribute to the Musketeers. Expect Xavier to compete at the top of the conference.