2017-2018 Big East Conference Preview

As we enter year five of the “New” Big East, let’s take a look at the conference champions from its first four seasons:

2014: Villanova
2015: Villanova
2016: Villanova
2017: Villanova

I’d say Jay Wright’s program is on a pretty dang good run. It’s not like they’re not doing this in the Upper Northeast Atlantic Conference, either. No, they’re doing this in the Big East Conference. A conference that has finished #5, #2, #3 and #3 in KenPom’s conference rankings. And yet, even though they’ve won a national title and been a #1 seed in two of the past three seasons, Villanova seems to be flying under the radar this season. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it’s because they lost Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins. Maybe it’s because people still don’t respect the Big East as much as the other power conference (which would be idiotic). Whatever it is, somehow a team that is the favorite to win their fifth straight conference title and is, in my opinion, a preseason top five team, is flying under radar. I’m guessing Jay Wright is just fine with that.

Projected Conference Standings (2016-2017 Record in Parenthesis)

For an in-depth look at each team, click on the team’s name to be directed to their “100 Teams in 100 Days” roster preview. Do note that these started getting published in late June, so there may be a few instances where there are players who are injured, suspended or no longer with the team.

1. Villanova (32-4 (15-3))
2. Xavier (24-14 (9-9))
3. Seton Hall(21-12 (10-8)
4. Providence (20-13 (10-8))
5. Butler (25-9 (12-6))
6. Creighton (25-10 (10-8))
7. Marquette (19-13 (10-8))
8. St. John’s (14-19 7-11))
9. DePaul (9-23 (2-16))
10. Georgetown (14-18 (5-13))

Player of the Year: Trevon Bluiett

Guys like Jalen Brunson, Angel Delgado and even Marcus Foster could also be in the mix, but I’m going with Xavier’s Trevon Bluiett for POY. A 6’6 senior, Bluiett earned First Team All-Big East honors last season, his second straight season as a First Teamer. He recorded 18.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game. He also knocked down 91 threes at a 37.1% rate.

First Team All-Big East

Trevon Bluiett, Xavier: See above
Jalen Brunson, Villanova: The 6’2 junior was a First Team All-Big East selection last season. He averaged 14.7 points, 2.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game while knocking down 42 threes and shooting 54.1% from the floor.
Angel Delgado, Seton Hall: Delgado, a 6’10 senior, earned First Team All-Big East honors last year. He put up 15.2 points, 13.1 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game while converting on 54.3% of his shots.
Marcus Foster, Creighton: A 6’3 senior, Foster was also a First Team All-Big East pick last season. He posted 18.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game, in addition to hitting 73 threes.
Shamorie Ponds, St. John’s: Ponds, a 6’1 guard, was a part of the All-Freshman Team last season. He put up 17.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.1 steals per game. He also hit 75 threes at a 37.5% rate.

Second Team All-Big East

Rodney Bullock, Providence: Bullock, a 6’8 senior, earned Second Team All-Big East recognition last season. He recorded 15.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game and knocked down 46 threes.
Khadeen Carrington, Seton Hall: A 6’4 senior, Carrington was Second Team All-Big East last year. He put up 17.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game, in addition to draining 63 threes.
Kelan Martin, Butler: The 6’7 senior was a Second Team All-Big East selection last season. Martin averaged 16.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game while making 64 shots from beyond the arc.
Kyron Cartwright, Providence: A 5’11 senior, Cartwright earned Second Team All-Big East honors last year. He posted 11.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 6.7 assists and shot 38.8% from deep.
Omari Spellman, Villanova: See below (Newcomer of the Year)

Newcomer of the Year: Omari Spellman

After being forced to redshirt last season because of academic issues, Omari Spellman will finally get his chance to show why there’s so much hype surrounding him at Villanova this season. 247Sports’ #20 overall recruit in 2016 and ESPN’s #18, Spellman is a 6’9, 245 pound big man. Spellman is incredibly strong down low, is skilled for his size and is a tremendous rebounder. He is the interior presence that the Wildcats lacked last season.

Big East All-Newcomer Team

Omari Spellman, Villanova: See above
Makai Ashton-Langford, Providence: A 6’1 guard, Ashton-Langford was ranked #40 in the 2017 class by 247Sports and #38 by ESPN. He’s a talented scorer who has been tremendous in exhibition play.
Kaleb Joseph, Creighton: A 6’3 junior, Joseph sat out last season after transferring in from Syracuse. A former top 50 recruit, he averaged 5.9 points, 2.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game as a freshman in 2014-2015.
Naji Marshall, Xavier: Marshall is a 6’7 forward that comes in as the #57 and #70 overall recruit in the 2017 class by 247Sports and ESPN, respectively. Marshall is a versatile player that started in Xavier’s lone exhibition game.
Max Strus, DePaul: It’s not too often you see a DII transfer at the high major level, but the hype surrounding Strus in Chicago is high. The 6’6 junior sat out last season after transferring from Lewis University, where he put up 20.2/8.5/3.5 and was a DII All-American.

NCAA Tournament Bids (6): Villanova, Xavier, Seton Hall, Providence, Butler and Creighton

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