Big East breakdown: Men’s basketball

Photo by Grace Hensley.


Heading into the 2023-24 basketball season, the Big East is yet again one of the top conferences in the nation. This year, the big story is coaching. With brand new coaches for St. John’s, Providence and Georgetown and eight out of the 11 coaches having less than three years of experience, the Big East is experiencing significant change while still staying dominant. With Marquette (5), UConn (6), Creighton (8) and Villanova (22) all being ranked in the top 25 and St. John’s and Xavier also receiving votes, the Big East has high expectations. 

Teams are listed according to their Big East records last year (top-bottom)

Marquette Golden Eagles 

Key Additions: Tre Norman (first year), Al Amadou (first year) 

Key Departures: None 

Key Returners: Kam Jones (15.1 ppg), Tyler Kolek (12.9 ppg) 

Last year’s Big East regular season champions and tournament champions do not have much to worry about this year. With four returning starters, the Golden Eagles look to continue their offensive dominance. Marquette has national championship potential, but needs to have a strong start and be ready to play with a target on their back in order to not fall flat. 

Xavier Musketeers 

Key Additions: North Texas transfer Abou Ousmane (11.1 ppg), Western Kentucky transfer Dayvion McKnight (16.5 ppg) 

Key Departures: Zach Freemantle (injured, 15.2 ppg), Jerome Hunter (injured, 7.8 ppg), 

Key Returners: Desmond Claude (4.7 ppg) 

With Freemantle and Hunter expected to be out for the season, the Musketeers are starting a few steps behind where they finished last season. Xavier will have to rely on transfers to lead the team which may put them in a tough position to carry over success from last year. 

Creighton Bluejays 

Key Additions: Utah State transfer Steven Ashworth (16.2 ppg) 

Key Departures: Ryan Nembhard (12.1 ppg), Arthur Kaluma (11.8 ppg) 

Key Returners: Ryan Kalkbrenner (15.9 ppg), Trey Alexander (13.6 ppg), Baylor Scheierman (16.2 ppg)

With the top three scorers returning this year, the Bluejays have a real chance to improve upon their Elite Eight finish last year. Alexander has the potential to prove to scouts that he is an NBA level talent leading Creighton this year and will be backed up by the best defensive player in the Big East in Kalkbrenner. 

UConn Huskies 

Key Additions: Stephon Castle (first year), Rutgers transfer Cam Spencer (13.2 ppg) 

Key Departures: Jordan Hawkins (16.2 ppg), Adama Sonogo (17.2 ppg) 

Key Returners: Tristen Newton (10.1 ppg), Alex Caraban (9.3 ppg) 

After last year’s national championship win, expectations are high for the Huskies. A high turnover rate leaves behind some big gaps in the team, but they are not without the personnel to fill those gaps. With the highly anticipated arrival of first year Castle and a veteran backcourt duo to lean on, the Huskies should have no problem staying very competitive and the word “repeat” should not be taken out of anyone’s vocabulary. 

Providence Friars 

Key Additions: George Mason transfer Josh Oduro (15.6 ppg) 

Key Departures: Ed Crosswell (13.3 ppg), Noah Locke (11 ppg) 

Key Returners: Bryce Hopkins (15.8 ppg), Devin Carter (13.0 ppg), Jayden Pierre (2.5 ppg) 

Head coach Kim English from George Mason brings the missing piece that Providence has been looking for in center Oduro. If sophomore Pierre can connect all of the new and existing pieces on this Friars team then there is no doubt they will be playing come March. 

Seton Hall Pirates 

Key Additions: Isaiah Coleman (first year), David Tubek (first year) 

Key Departures: Tyrese Samual (11 ppg), Femi Odukale (7.3 ppg) 

Key Returners: Al-Amir Dawes (12.6 ppg), Kadary Richmond (10.1 ppg) 

After a truly average 2022-23 season, the Pirates have done nothing to address the major scoring problems from last year. No matter how good Seton Hall is at defending, without the ability of their guards to score the ball, they will be nothing more than a defensive powerhouse that struggles to win close games. 

Villanova Wildcats 

Key Additions: Richmond transfer Tyler Burton (19 ppg), Jordan Dumont (first year) 

Key Departures: Cam Whitmore (12.5 ppg), Caleb Daniels (14.2 ppg) 

Key Returners: Justin Moore (13.5 ppg), Eric Dixon (15.4 ppg) 

With Moore finally healthy and a roster full of veterans, second-year head coach Kyle Neptune has a lot of pressure on his shoulders to produce tangible results with this star studded lineup. Nothing is given in a tight Big East race, so Neptune will need to rely on the right guys at the right time in order to produce results the Wildcats expect. 

St. John’s Red Storm 

Key Additions: Simeon Wilcher (first year), Penn transfer Jordan Dingle (23.4 ppg), Iona transfer Daniss Jenkins (15.6 ppg) 

Key Departures: David Jones (13.2 ppg), Posh Alexander (10.2 ppg) 

Key Returners: Joel Soriano (15.2 ppg) 

Head coach Rick Pitino signed with St. John’s over the offseason, looking to improve upon last year’s 7-13 conference record. With 12 new players on the roster, St. John’s looks very different this year. As one of the most unpredictable teams in college basketball, St. John’s has the potential to make a deep tournament run, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if they were mediocre

Butler Bulldogs 

Key Additions: Northeastern transfer Jahmyl Telfort (16.4 ppg), St. John’s transfer Posh Alexander (10.2 ppg) 

Key Departures: Jayden Taylor (12.9 ppg), Manny Bates (11.6 ppg) 

Key Returners: Jalen Thomas (7.0), Connor Turnbull (2.0 ppg) 

Coming off an ugly 2022-23 season, head coach Thad Matta needs to find a way to produce results. Alexander is looking to hit the reset button this year and lead the Bulldogs back to a winning Big East record. With transfers galore, it is not impossible for the Bulldogs to see massive improvement especially with the volatility of the Big East. 

DePaul Blue Demons 

Key Additions: Texas Tech transfer Elijah Fisher (3.3 ppg), South Carolina transfer Chico Carter Jr. (9.8 ppg) 

Key Departures: Nick Ongenda (12.5 ppg), Javan Johnson (14.2 ppg) 

Key Returners: Da’Sean Nelson (10 ppg) 

DePaul seems up against almost impossible odds to even be competitive in the Big East. The Blue Demons need Fisher to lead the team, along with support from a veteran backcourt. 

Georgetown Hoyas 

Key Additions: Illinois transfer Jayden Epps (9.5 ppg), Texas transfer Rowan Brumbaugh (redshirt first year) 

Key Departures: Primo Spears (16 ppg), Brandon Murray (13.7 ppg) 

Key Returners: Jay Heath (12.3 ppg), Akok Akok (6.5 ppg) 

The Hoyas seem to be more concerned with the long term game with the addition of several 2024 high school commits recruited by head coach Ed Cooley during his first few months with the program. However, for this season, the Hoyas have added guards Epps and Brumbaugh through the portal that have elite level potential. Georgetown hopes to improve over the next several years and certainly has a good opportunity to start during the 2023-24 season. 


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