The college basketball season is just days away. It’s never too early to start doing your homework so you can beat up on the books from November all the way through March Madness. BangtheBook will be previewing all the major conferences over the next couple weeks. The Big East is next, and it looks totally different this year. All odds listed are to win the conference and are from BetOnline.
Georgetown (+200) Greg Whittington was being counted on to be the team’s leader this year, but he’ll miss the season with a torn ACL. Markel Starks is a quality point guard, but this team might not have enough scoring options. Georgetown is really going to miss Otto Porter. The Hoyas can lock it up on the defensive end though, and that makes them very tough to beat against.
Creighton (+250) Can Creighton make the step up from the Missouri Valley Conference to the Big East and be a factor? I think the answer is yes. It makes it a lot easier when you have the top scorer in the conference in Doug McDermott. He can light it up against anyone. He isn’t the only good player on this team either. The Blue Jays take great care of the basketball, which will be huge in the Big East this year.
Marquette (+250) The Golden Eagles went to the Elite 8 last year, and Buzz Williams has done a great job with the program. Like Georgetown, Marquette doesn’t really have an elite scorer, but they do play great defense and fight hard all game long. Todd Mayo will probably need to be the team’s leader this year. They’ll miss Vander Blue a lot on both ends of the floor.
Villanova (+500) Will the real Villanova Wildcats please stand up? This was one of the toughest teams in the country to figure out last year. They’ll need to be more consistent this year, and I think they will. Ryan Arcidiacano has tons of ability at the point guard spot, but he needs to make better decisions with the ball.
Xavier (+800) Semaj Christon may be the single best player in the Big East. Christon was amazing as a freshman, and I expect huge things from him this year. Can the rest of the team be good enough for the Musketeers to compete in a better conference? No doubt moving from the Atlantic 10 up to the Big East is a big step up in class.
St. John’s (+1000) The Red Storm played well in spurts last year for Steve Lavin. This team was very young last year, and I think they’ll be much better in the season ahead. They have a tremendous shot blocker as well as several quality scoring options. Don’t be shocked if this team makes a big jump in the standings this year.
The Rest of the Pack:
Butler (+1500) How much will Butler miss Brad Stevens? He was one of the best coaches in the country, and it’s tough for a school this small to replace a guy like that. The Bulldogs will be down and in a tougher conference this season. They’ll likely miss the NCAA Tournament.
Providence (+2000) The Friars have a team that could make some noise. They are an example of how deep this conference is. Bryce Cotton can score about as well as anyone in the country. Henton and Batts are athletic big men who can run the floor. Look for the Friars to push the pace this year.
Seton Hall (+2500) The Pirates issue is lack of a true ball-handler. There are athletes here, but if you can’t take care of the basketball you’ll lose a lot of games.
DePaul (+5000) Cleveland Melvin and Brandon Young are very good players. They’ll put up big numbers. The rest of the team isn’t good. This team probably finishes last in the conference.
Free Pick: Creighton (+250) I like the Blue Jays at this price. This conference is anyone’s to win, and Georgetown doesn’t have many scoring options.
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