2009-2010 Big East Basketball Preview
The Big East tends to feature big bodies under the basket, fine perimeter play and premium coaching. There are more have nots than haves in this league and the gap between the worst and the best is huge. Here’s a consideration of which teams possess the right stuff to vie for a top spot and make a showing at the Big Dance.
The top spot will be held by either the Villanova Wildcats or the West Virginia Mountaineers. Nova has the second best freshman class in the nation and a fine, experienced squad of starters. The Mountaineers possess the best frontcourt in the league and some top 100 recruits.
Last season, the Louisville Cardinals and Connecticut Huskies finished first and second in the Big East. This season the Huskies, with a fine class of new guys and guard Kemba Walker emerging as one of the best around, will be a strong third and the Cardinals, although losing some key players, will manage to come in fourth. The Cards, who do have some holes, still have a top group of players.
The Syracuse Orange were strengthened by the transfer of top forward Wesley Johnson and by the addition of shot blocker DaShonte Riley. For the Georgetown Hoyas, it’s about making all of the talented elements on their team come together and play solid basketball each night.
Notre Dame has forward Luke Harangody and that may be enough to get them to the Big Dance. The Cincinnati Bearcats welcome an excellent freshman class that includes Cashmere Wright and Lance Stephenson.
The Seton Hall Pirates have managed to attract a bunch of transfers and still have the high-scoring Jeremy Hazell at guard. But overall, they are not much improved. Although the Pittsburgh Panthers were one of the best teams in the Big East last season, they have suffered a rash of losses. Still, Pitt welcomes a very strong frosh class. Next year, they will be primed.
St. John’s Red Storm are happy to see the prolific Anthony Mason Jr. return. He’ll score a lot of points. Veteran forward Lazar Hayward will lead a strong incoming class for the Marquette Golden Eagles. The Eagles were in the top five of the Big East last season. This year, they will be in the bottom six.
Rounding out the final four spots in the Big East are the South Florida Bulls, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Providence Friars and DePaul Blue Demons. Each has made some improvements but none enough to move out of the conference’s bottom tier.
2009-2010 Big East Basketball Predictions
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2) West Virginia Mountaineers
3) Connecticut Huskies
4) Louisville Cardinals
5) Syracuse Orange
6) Georgetown Hoyas
7) Notre Dame Fighting Irish
8) Cincinnati Bearcats
9) Seton Hall Pirates
10) Pittsburgh Panthers
11) St. John’s Red Storm
12) Marquette Golden Eagles
13) South Florida Bulls
14) Rutgers Scarlet Knights
15) Providence Friars
16) DePaul Blue Demons