Even though Villanova went 36-4 and won the National Championship last season, it was Xavier that won the regular season conference title in a Big East that sent six teams to the NCAA Tournament. Last year there was seemingly three easy tiers to split the conference in with Villanova and Xavier in the top tier, the four other teams and Marquette in the second tier, and the bottom three teams in the last tier. That top tier might look a bit different as most of Villanova’s team from a season ago is gone along with Xavier’s three double-digit scorers.
Villanova loses its top four scorers from last year’s team, but still have a guard in Phil Booth that played arguably his best game in the 2016 National Championship Game and forward Eric Paschall who started all but two games last season.
The 6-foot-6 Paschall is a 35.6 percent shooter from 3-point range and averaged 10.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game. The team was seventh in the country last season among teams in assist to turnover ratio so having a forward with good vision keeps this offense that played essentially position-less basketball last season a big deal.
Booth started for the most part last season, though Donte DiVincenzo received in 10 starts last season as well. Booth was shot 37.9 percent from 3-point range, as he and Paschall were the only two players that scored at least 10 point per game that shot under 39 percent from beyond the arc as the team made the most 3s of any team in the country last season with the 13th best long distance shooting percentage. Booth's averages for the year were 10 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game as he and Paschall are now the linchpins of the nation's highest scoring offense a season ago.
Forward Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree and guard Collin Gillespie are the only other returning players that played at least 25 games and over 6.5 minutes per game from last season as both received a good amount of playing time off the bench as freshmen. They combined for 7.4 points and 3.7 rebounds per game with Gillespie getting 14.4 minutes per game and Cosby-Roundtree 11.3.
With Gillespite shooting 39.4 percent from 3-point range he should be able to fit right into this offense in which every guard has to both have good court vision and a superior jump shot, which he does. Cosby-Roundtree on the other rand is more of a traditional big man and can be sort of what Daniel Ochefu was for this team a couple of seasons ago.
The team had the nation's Wooden Award at the point in Jalen Brunson, who did by shooting 52.1 percent from the floor and 40.8 percent from 3-point range with averages of 18.9 points and 4.6 assists per game as the facilitator in the nation's most efficient offense. The team now turns to freshman Jahvon Quinerly, who was rated by ESPN as the No. 26 recruit in the 2018 class, to fill his shoes.
The 6-foot-1 five-star recruit originally committed to Arizona, but decommitted from the Pac-12 school in October once the program got caught up in the FBI reports. He is a special ball handler that can defend just about any guard in the country. His jump shot needs work, but he will be able to get the ball to the rest of his sharp shooting teammates.
The team also brings in 6-foot-8 freshman Cole Swider to give this team some frontcourt depth. He was rated by ESPN as the No. 34 recruit in the 2018 class and might be the best shooter in the whole class of players his height. Swider is not a guy that will be grabbing 15 rebounds, but is better than advertised at knifing to the rim and is not as athletic as DiVincenzo.
The third big cog coach Jay Wright brings in with this freshman class is 6-foot-5 wing Brandon Slater, who ESPN had as the No. 52 prospect in the 2018 class. He figures to be another guy that can be used in a variety of ways as he has off the charts athleticism. He does not yet do one thing great, but he is a good shooter and defender with decent handles and crashes the glass on misses.
This team will get an immediate shot in the arm for the guard stable with Joe Cremo coming over from Albany as a graduate transfer. With the Great Danes last season, he had 17.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.8 assists. He also might be the team's best shooter as he made 45.8 percent of his 5.2 3's per game, a percentage that ranked 37th among all qualified DI players last season.
Jermaine Samuels, who was the No. 45 rated recruit by ESPN in the 2017 recruiting class, should also have a roll in this year's rotation. Last year's team, like most of Wright's squads, went eight deep which led to the 6-foot-5 combo player being used in just 25 games last season with just 6.1 minutes per appearance. He is good on the boards for his size and is a good. not great outside shooter.
There is simply no way Villanova can be the offensive juggernaut they were last season with all four of last year's top scorers departing. The hype that same have of the Wildcats being a top five team seems a bit over the top, as this seems more like a team that be eighth or tenth in the rankings. With that said, Villanova still has to be favorite to win the conference with Xavier having to reload as well.
It was a banner year for the Xavier Musketeers, though ended in the round of 32 with this team being a one seed in the NCAA Tournament. The team not only loses 58.6 percent of its total scoring from last season with all three of its top scorers gone, but lost coach Chris Mack in the offseason as he accepted the Louisville job.
this team made the most free throws of any team in the country last season while ranking eighth in free throw shooting percentage, with guard Trevon Bluiett leading the charge as he made 84.8 percent of the 5.6 free throws per game he attempted. He registered 19.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game as a senior, adding a 41.7 3-point shooting percentage while taking 7.2 triples per game. His made 3s ranked 33rd on a per game basis for any player at the DI level and the points per game 60th.
This is compounded by J.P. Macura, a gritty guard that many disdained, being out of eligibility after he had 12.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. He was ax 37.7 percent 3-point shooter and made 82.1 percent of his free throws on top of being a lock down defender.
These two were aided greatly by Kareem Kanter, who is also gone after the 6-foot-9 stretch four had 10.9 points and 4.5 rebounds. He was a 64.8 percent shooter on 2-point shots and made 77.7 percent of his free throws.
The team was also able to look to Sean O'Mara down low and can not anymore with the 6-foot-10 big man being a senior last season. He came off the bench with 6.7 points and 3.2 rebounds per game while also leading the team in blocks and shooting 80.3 percent at the charity stripe.
The team will turn to Columbia graduate transfer Kyle Castlin to give the backcourt an immediate shot in the arm. In 17 games a season ago, he had 10.5 points, 1.3 steals and 3.8 rebounds per game in mainly a sixth man role. His free throw shooting percentage of 88.4 would have put him in the nation's top 50 among all players had he played the full season.
While all these departures are tough for Travis Steele, who was elevated for assistant to head coach when Mack left, he did a good job of keeping everyone with eligibility in the program. The most significant piece being point guard Quentin Goodin.
The 6-foot-4 floor general had 8.7 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game. He isn't much of a distance shooter, making 30.2 percent of his 1.8 triple tries per game, but made 79.1 percent of his free throws
Forwards Naji Marshall and Kaiser Gates are back to support him after this duo split starts last season. They had a combined 14.9 points, nine rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game. Gates was second on the team in made 3s, making 37.8 percent of his outside shots and converted 82.7 percent of his free throws. Marshall did not take many triples, but shot 53 percent from the floor and 75.3 percent at the line.
The team also has 6-foot-9 junior Tyrique Jones to rely on after he had averages of seven points and 4.5 rebounds per game while spending about half the season as a starter and half off the bench too. To make thing even more lethal down low, the Musketeers also bring in a pair of transfers from other schools to fortify an already solid interior.
It isn't common that a player from a DII school transfers to a DI power, but that's what is happening with 6-foot-11 Ferris State graduate transfer Zach Hankins. He had team-highs 14.9 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks per game with his team going 37-1.
He will team up with 6-foot-10 San Jose State graduate transfer Ryan Welage, who did seemingly everything for the miserable Mountain West school last season. He had numbers of 18.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game all while converting 42.9 percent of his 4.7 3s per game.
Unlike last season, this will be a team that is better on defense and in the paint than on the perimeter, which makes the development of sophomore Paul Scruggs important. He was the No. 29 prospect in ESPN’s 2017 recruiting rankings and had 4.9 points, two rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game in an underwhelming freshman year. He will likely be in the starting backcourt with Goodin and needs to be more assertive and cut the basket, something he did not do a lot last season.
Xavier brings in nothing but three star recruits, with just one being a guard so the backcourt for this team will be thin. The Musketeers are likely going to be around the third or fourth best team in a Big East that is down significantly from last seasons. This looks like an NCAA Tournament team, but not by a lot as this appears to be a down year for the program given all that departed from last season.
Creighton finished in a three-way tango for third in the conference last season with a Big East record of 10-8, going 21-12 overall. The team must replace three of its top four starters from a season ago, but the return of Martin Krampelj is more important than many might think.
The 6-foot-9 big man averaged 11.9 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds per game last season, but only started 19 games due to injury. With Krampelj in the starting lineup, the team went 15-4 with him and just 6-8 without him as 6-foot-7 Ronnie Harrell had to take his place in the starting lineup.
Creighton was playing small ball at the end of the season as a result with 6-foot-10 Toby Hegner, a guy who is the definition of a stretch forward as he averaged 8.4 points and 3.1 rebounds per game, being the only player taller than 6-foot-7 in the Blue Jays rotation. Hegner is out of eligibility after he shot a team-best 84.6 percent from the free throw line and 37.9 percent from 3-point range.
The team also is without top scorers Marcus Foster and Khyri Thomas, who combined for 34.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 2.7 steals per game. The pair also combined to shoot 41.2 percent from 3-point range on 11.6 triple tries per game, and combined to make 76.5 percent of their free throws.
The Blue Jays were 15th in the country in offensive efficiency last season and ranked 13th and made 3-point shots per contest, something that will likely change given the departures. Rice graduate transfer Connor Cashaw figures to be an immediate difference maker with his ability to shoot and his 6-foot-5 frame.
He led his team with 15.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 3.2 assists per game, though he shot just 31.9 percent from deep after making at least 37.4 percent of his 3s his first two seasons on campus.
The team also brings back Mitch Ballock after he had a freshman year in which he contributed 7.3 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game in a sixth man roll. He is also 6-foot-5 and needs to be a bit better from beyond the arc as well with him making 32.6 percent of his 3s last season.
The aforementioned Harrell will also have a significant role on this team as a jack of all trades given the seven points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game he brought to the table as a junior.
It will be Davion Mintz that runs the show as the point guard again this season after he had a team-high 3.1 assists to go with 6.1 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. It would not be surprising for Mintz to take more shots this season after he converted 35.2 percent of his long distance shots in more of a pass first role.\
Ty-Shon Alexander was rated by ESPN as the No. 96 recruit in the 2017 freshman class and will likely go from priority role player to starter after he had 5.5 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game. Alexander, Mintz, Harrell, and Ballock all do a good job of dishing, which is by design. The team was sixth in the country in both assists per game and assist to turnover ratio despite nobody having more than 3.1 assists per game as the passing was a group effort.
The team will look to 6-foot-10 Sam Froling, the brother of Marquette big man Harry Froling, to give the team valuable minutes in the paint as a freshman. He is both a good rebounder and a big man that can make 3-pointers. He will team up with fellow Aussie Jacob Epperson, who planned to redshirt as a freshman, but saw action after Krampelj’s injury.
In his 12 appearances during the 2017-18 season, he averaged 6.3 points and 2.9 rebounds in 14.0 minutes per game while shooting 69.4 percent from the field. With Christian Bishop, a four-star rated recruit by 247Sports, appears to be another 6-foot-7 wing that is deadly from distance. He will likely find a role on this team as a designated shooter as a bit of a weakness of his is ball handling.
The biggest question with this team is what to expect from Kaleb Joseph, who saw action in 15 games off the bench last season after transferring from Syracuse. He averaged 4.3 points and 1.4 assists per game, seeing very little action in meaningful games.
Creighton has seen major injury derail the momentum of two potentially huge seasons with the team in both years having expectations similar to this season. Creighton seems like a team that will be in the Big East top three and in and out of the bottom of the top 25.
Seton Hall was also in that three way tango for third in the conference, going 10-8 in the Big East and 22-12 overall., but this team will look completely different with four of the team's top five scorers and rebound grabbers are gone. This leaves junior guard Myles Powell to run the show for the Pirates this season.
As a sophomore, Powell had 15.5 points, 2.8 assists, and a steal per game while making 37.9 percent of the 7.3 3s per game he attempted, as he was 60th in the country in 3s attempted per game. He will get massive backcourt help from Sacred Heart transfer Quincy McKnight, who logged 18.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game as a sophomore.
The team returns two forwards that were in the team's rotation last season in Michael Nzei and 6-foot-10 Sandro Mamukelashvili. Nzei at 6-foot-7 is the more tradition big man as he was a part-time starter that averaged 3.9 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. Mamukelashvil saw just 9.6 minutes per game, showcasing that he can shoot 3s, taking 27 last season with averages of 2.6 points and 1.9 rebounds per game.
These two have their work cut out for them with Angel Delgado out of eligibility after had had 13.6 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game. He was fourth among all DI players in boards per game with the also gone Ismael Sanogo being the only other player on the team that had at least five rebounds per game. He had 5.5 points and 5.3 rebounds per game while shooting a team-be st 45.8 percent on 3s and led the Pirates in blocks.
Syracuse transfer Taurean Thompson being eligible gives this team a big 6-foot-11 option and he will likely be inserted into the starting lineup immediately. He sat out the 2017-18 season per NCAA transfer rules after having a freshman year in which he started 21 games and averaged 9.2 points, a block and 3.8 rebounds per game.
Khadeen Carrington and Desi Rodriguez had a combined 33.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 6.6 assists, and 2.1 steals per game with the two combining to shoot 37 percent on nine 3s per game.
Guard Myles Cale is going to have to take some pressure of McKnight and Powell in the backcourt.as the ESPN rated No. 79 recruit of the 2017 freshman class had 4.3 points per game while shooting just 28.3 percent from 3-point range.
This team's wild card is 7-foot-2 Romero Gill, who redshirted last season after entering the program as a JUCO transfer. He averaged 5.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game at the lower level, making him more of a defensive specialist for this team. He is also very mature, as the junior enters the season 24 years old.
With Seton Hall bringing in a freshman class of guys that do not appear ready to give this bunch quality minutes, it makes losing Eron Gordon, Philip Flory, and Jordan Walker a big deal. None of these three played big minutes last season, but with this trio gone, this team has zero depth at the guard spot.
Kevin Willard has led Seton Hall to three straight NCAA Tournaments, a streak that will come to an end this season. The Pirates appear to be a team that will be below .500 and in the conference's bottom three.
Providence went 21-14 last season and 10-8 in Big East play despite having a season point margin of just +0.9. The team was 267th in 3-point shooting percentage, was out-rebounded for the season by opponents, and were in the low 200's of the country in field goal and free throw shooting percentage, but went 15-6 in games decided by 10 points or fewer.
The team loses three of its top four players, meaning the is now 6-foot-7 guard Alpha Diallo's team. As a sophomore, he had 13.2 points, a team-high 6.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists and a steal per game. About the only thing he did not excel at is shoot 3s, as he made 21.4 percent of his 2.2 attempts per game.
Diallo will be be the leader outgoing senior Rodney Bullock was a season ago.as he had averages of 14.3 point, which led the team, 5.8 rebounds, and a block per game. Bullock and Diallo formed a good combo with both being 6-foot-7 Swiss army knives.
The biggest loss might be that of point guard Kyron Cartwright, who had team-bests 5.8 assists and 1.3 steals to go with 11.8 points per game and a 37.6 3-point shooting percentage. It's compounded by Jalen Lindsey, who was the team's best 3-point shooter, hitting 39.5 percent of the 5.6 triples per game he attempted while registering 8.8 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.
The team will likely use Isaiah Jackson in a role similar to Bullock's after he come off the bench in 25 of the team's 35 contests, starting the other 10. He shot just 37.1 percent from the field, but 36 percent from 3-point range and made a team-best 78.2 percent of his free throws while posting averages of 7.4 points and 4.2 rebounds per game.
Kalif Young was the play that got the other 25 starts for the team with the 6-foot-9 forward averaging 4.3 points and 4.1 rebounds per game as a sophomore. Six-foot-10 Nate Watson will need to be better on the glass as he is a traditional big man that had 6.8 points and 1.9 rebounds per game.
Providence was an interesting free throw shooting team as all the team's lesser scorers aside from Drew Edwards, who made 82.6 percent of his free throws while having two points and 1.5 rebounds per game, were bad at the line. Meanwhile, the team's top six scorers all shot between 78.2 and 69.6 percent at the line, meaning there was never a guy teams neither wanted to foul or not foul.
This team's biggest addition is neither a transfer nor a freshman, but the return of 6-foot-7 forward Emmitt Holt, who missed all of last season due to injury. During the 2016-17 season, he started 28 games with averages of 12.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. He is more of a post presence, but did take 1.9 3s per game as well.
Providence had the second-best recruiting class in the conference according to 247Sports with only Villanova topping them. Guards David Duke and A.J. Reeves are the big two as ESPN rated Duke as the No. 49 prospect in the 2018 class and Reaves No. 55. Both are very good combo guards that will be in the rotation right away, though Reaves is likely the better shooter while Duke has better ball handling.
Providence has depth down low and a very good combo guard in Diallo, but this team does not seem to have a point guard and what they get from Reaves and Duke is a big unknown. Makai Ashton-Langford was the No. 39 freshman in the 2017 class according to ESPN and had 4.2 points and 1.7 assists per game while shooting 12 percent from distance. He has a chance to be that point guard, but it highlights that these freshman could disappoint and how paramount it is that he develops. The Friars figure to be in the middle of the conference standings once again and will be likely be on the bubble at in March as this program looks to go dancing for the sixth straight season.
Butler made the NCAA Tournament last season, going 9-9 in the Big East and 21-14 overall despite being 302nd in America in opponents' 3-point shooting percentage. The team loses stud forward Kelan Martin, but a lot of the other pieces are back for another go.
Martin did a bit of everything as the departed 6-foot-6 big man had 21.2 points, and 6.3 rebounds per game He also led the team in made 3s, hitting 36.4 percent of the 7.5 triples per game he attempted and shot 84.4 percent at the free throw line.
This will be a guard-driven team with 6-foot-8 Tyler Wideman also being out of eligibility after he had 9.3 points and 5.1 rebounds per game while also being an 82 percent free throw shooter. This leaves 6-foot-11 Nate Fowler, who had 5.9 points and 3.1 rebounds per game as a junior reserve, as the team’s most experienced big man.
Guard Kamar Baldwin is the team’s top returning scorer from last season, registering 15.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.5 steals per game. The team also returns starting guard Paul Jorgensen, who had 10.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game himself.
Neither were guys that lit the world on fire from 3-point range with Baldwin hitting 33.1 percent of his 4.2 3s per game and Jorgensen 34.9 percent of his 4.9 per contest.
Aaron Thompson was used as a starter last season and led the team in assists as a pass-first point guard as he chipped in 4.3 points and 3.4 assists per game. He took only 15 3s all last season, making two of them and made just 39.6 percent of his shots in general so he will likely be in a similar role this season.
Six-foot-six wing Sean McDermott will likely be in the starting lineup full time after splitting starts and coming off the pine a season ago. He made 43.1 percent of his 3.5 3s per game while averaging 7.5 points and 3.9 rebounds per game.
The team will be getting a big addition entering the conference skate with Duke transfer Jordan Tucker entering the program. He is ineligible for the fall semester per NCAA transfer rules as he played a total of 14 minutes for the Blue Devils last season. The 6-foot-7 wing was rated as the No. 40 recruit in the 2017 freshman class by ESPN and should make a huge impact with his outside shooting ability.
The team will likely use 6-foot-9, 250 pound freshman Bryce Golden and junior guard Henry Baddley to round out the rotation. Golden is a traditional big man that should be good on the glass while Baddley shot a team-best 46.5 percent from 3-point range while averaging 4.1 points per game.
Butler will was an inconsistent team with Martin last season and now have perhaps a bottom two frontcourt in the Big East. This team's streak of four straight NCAA Tournaments looks to be ending as this team will likely be around seventh or so in a not so great Big East unless the backcourt can be better in their perimeter shooting.
Marquette went to the NIT last season, going 9-9 in conference play and 21-14 overall, the act same record Butler had last season. The team loses leading scorer Andrew Rowsey, who was 17th among all DI players in free throw shooting percentage at 90.2
He averaged 20.5 points, three rebounds, 4.8 assists per game while making 41.5 of the 8.6 3s per game he attempted. He was fifth in the country in made 3s per game, leading a Marquette team that was one of the most dangerous in the country from long range.
Marquette was third in the country in team 3-point shooting with Sam Hauser ranking 11th in the country among all 3-point shooters in percentage and Jamal Cain 19th. The team was also third among DI teams in free throw shooting percentage as Markus Howard individually was 14th in the country in made 3s and second in free throw shooting percentage at 93.8.
All three of these offensive threats are back, Howard is the top scorer of the three. He gave the team 20.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and a steal per game as he made 40.4 percent of his 8.1 3-pointers per game. He and Rowsey were both under 6-foot-0 while Hauser at 6-foot-7 brings this team a different element.
He was 88th among all DI players in made 3s per game as he shot 48.7 percent from distance as he averaged 14.1 points, a team-high 5.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and a steal per game. Jamal Cain is also 6-foot-7 and as the team's sixth man shot 47.3 percent from deep with 4.6 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. Interestingly note, he shot a half percent better at the free throw line, converting 47.8 percent of his free throws.
The team inserted Sacar Anim into the starting lineup after Haanif Cheatham, the team's opening night starting point guard, bolted the program after five games. The 6-foot-5 junior was for lack of a better term a glue guy, as he contributed 7.6 points and 2.9 rebounds per game as he shot just 23.5 percent from beyond the arc and 62.2 percent at the free throw line.
Marquette was awful on defense last season, which offset a lot of the fantastic things this team did on offense, ranking 326th in opponent field goal percentage and foes attempted 5.2 more free throws per game than the Golden Eagles. It led to Marquette being 312th in points per game allowed and 295th in defensive efficiency
Fordham graduate transfer Joseph Chartouny should improve those numbers as he led the nation in steals per game with 3.3. He should take Rowsey's spot running the point as the 6-foot-3 A10 transfer had 12.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game as well. He shot just 28.4 percent from beyond the arc last season, but made 38.2 percent of the 4.7 3s per game he took as a sophomore the season before.
Greg Elliott figures to be back on the bench this year as a result after he had 4.5 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists in 18.3 minutes per game. He was a 36.7 percent 3-point shooter as a lot of the team's reserves were big men.
Former SMU big man Harry Froling played in 20 games last season after slitting out the first semester of the 2017-18 season per NCAA transfer rules. The 6-foot-11 Aussie had just 2.8 points and three rebounds per game. He showcased his range by attempting 19 3s, but canned just four of them as he actually saw his minutes drop towards the end of the season.
Theo John was a reserve big man that helped out the team in spurts. He had 3.9 points and 2.3 rebounds per game as a freshman. As Matt Heldt was the team's starting center Though the 6-foot-10 Heldt did not score a lot with 3.9 points, 3.7 rebounds, and a team-high one block per game, he was efficient, making 64.7 percent of his field goals and 87.5 percent of his free throws.
One of these big men might be seeing close to no playing time at all with Nebraska transfer Ed Morrow now eligible. As a sophomore during the 2016-17 season, he had averages of 9.4 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game as a starter.
Sam Hauser's brother, Joey Hauser, enters the program as the top rated recruit from Wisconsin in the 2018 freshman class and was rated by ESPN as the No. 48 prospect nationally. He actually enrolled in the program early last season, but redshirted due to injury and has a very similar skill set to his older brother.
Marquette has a chance to be the second-best team in the conference and a top 25 squad. Brendan Bailey, the son of former NBA forward Thurl Bailey, is another x-factor this team could rely on as well. Despite the departure of Rowsey, this is still one of the best offenses in the country and Chartouny should make this significantly stronger on the defensive end.
Georgetown played one of the nation’s worst out of conference schedules to boost the morale of coach Patrick Ewing’s young bunch, as the team got off to a 10-1 start before the rigors of the Big East took affect. The team went 5-13 in Big East play to finish the year 15-15 overall, as this team should take big steps forward this season.
The team’s top three scorers last season were all 6-foot-7 or talked with the leader being center Jessie Govan. He averaged a double double as a junior last season with 17.9 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, and 1.1 blocks per game. He made 34.8 percent of his 1.5 3s per game and was also a 76.1 percent free throw shooter at 6-foot-10.
6-foot-7 starters Marcus Derrickson and Jamorko Pickett both took their share of triple top as Pickett made 35.7 percent of his 5.2 long shots per game while Derrickson hit 46.5 percent of his 3.5 3s per game, which raked 29th among all DI players. Both were also solid at the line with Derrickson shooting making 86.3 percent of his 4.5 free throws per game while Pickett made 74.5 percent of his free throws.
Derrickson was more productive down low as he averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game while Pickett chipped in 9.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per contest. These big men's success likely was the cause for 7-foot-3 Chris Sodom leaving the program after he saw action in just six games last season.
Ewing will build the backcourt both this year and in future years around Jahvon Blair, who had nine points per game with shooting percentages of 32.2 percent from 3-point range and 85.7 percent at the free throw line as a freshman sixth man. He might be doing more dishing with last year's starting point guard Jonathan Mulmore being out of eligibility.
He made 46.9 percent of his 3s, but attempted just 1.1 per game while getting team-highs 3.4 assists and a steal to go with 5.6 points per game. Jagan Mosley also did a lot of passing last season as he gave Georgetown 6.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game as a priority reserve as a sophomore. He also shot well from long range, making 38.9 percent of his 1.2 triple tries per game.
Wing Kaleb Johnson should be back in the starting lineup to join these two after he had 7.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, and two assists per game. At 6-foot-7, he has a similar style to 6-foot-6 William & Mary transfer Greg Malinowski, who shot 40 percent from 3-point range as a junior with the CAA squad. He averaged 7.7 points and 3.5 rebounds per game as his ball handling is far from great.
The team has a pair of four-star recruits entering the program according to 247Sports with 6-foot-7 Josh LeBlanc being one of them. Unlike most of the team's other big man. he has a bit more girth at 230 pounds and is a more traditional big man.
James Akinjo may emerge as the team's top distributor this year with Mulmore being gone. He is a four-star prospect that needs a bit of work with his outside shooting, but had good vision and is good at not committing costly turnovers.
Georgetown a lot of solid size and those bigs are good shooters. These team needs to improve at taking care of the ball thoughts the Hoyas were 308th at the DI level in turnovers per possession, which put its defense behind the eight ball with the team being 278th in points per game allowed.
Georgetown should also be better than 257th this year in turnovers forced per opponents' offensive possession, but it still might be a sore spot. Ewing has this team trending upward and the Hoyas should be towards the middle of the Big East pack, but it will be at least another year before this team gets back into the field of 68.
St. John's was a confusing team last season, going 16-17 overall with a 4-14 Big East record, yet defeated Villanova and Duke in succession after having lost 11 straight before that. Coach Chris Mullin's bunch went 8-10 in games decided by eight or fewer points and had to overcome losing Marcus LoVett after just seven games.
LoVott made 3.5 percent of his 5.6 3s per game as he had 14.9 points and 2.1 steals per game. His injury put a massive burden on Shamorie Ponds to do everything for the Red Storm. He likely will not take as many 3s with LoVott being back as Ponds shot just 25.3 percent on his 6.2 3s per game, as he averaged 21.6 points, five rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 2.3 steals per game. He was 44th among DI players with five made free throws per game while his steals per game were 11th and the points 19th.
Forward Tariq Owens was inserted into the starting lineup when LoVott went down as the 6-foot-10 big man had 8.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks per game a season ago. He transferred in the offseason to Texas Tech after ranking 10th among all DI players in blocks per game last season.
With 6-foot-10 backup big man Amar Alibegovic out of eligibility, South Carolina transfer Sedee Keita figures to take his spot in the rotation. In one season with the Gamecocks, the 6-foot-9, 240 pound big man had 1.1 points and two rebounds per game in a very limited role on the team's Final Four club.
The Red Storm were 331st in rebound rate last season and this year's freshman class will not fix this issue. The team brings in two freshmen big men in Josh Roberts and Marcellus Earlington, both of whom were rated by 247Sports as three-star recruits. Roberts is a decent shot blocker, which could earn him some minutes and Earlington gets down and dirty on the glass, but is just 6-foot-6.
The means 6-foot-6 Marvin Clark is going to have to do more work on the glass after he had 12.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game. He was the team's most efficient shooter, making 41.1 percent of his 3-point shots and 85.1 percent of his free throws.
The team's top rebound was 6-foot-5 combo guard Justin Simon, who did a bit of everything with team-highs 7.1 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 2.5 steals to go with 12.5 points per game. He also made 41.7 percent of his 3s as his steals per game ranked 11th among all DI players.
The team needs to replace 6-foot-7 guard Bashir Ahmed, who had 11.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game while starting every contest last season. He hit 34.4 percent of his 3s, as the team was 290th in that category, mostly due to Ponds pressing and taking a few too many outside shots.
St. John’s has the pieces to be in the middle of the conference standings and perhaps crack into the top four. This team slayed two Elite Eight teams with LoVott last season, but this team will get massacred on the glass. If Ponds does more driving and takes fewer, but more open outside shots, it should be enough to get the Red Storm over 20 wins this season.
DePaul lost at least 19 games for the 11th straight season during the 2017-18 season, going 11-20 overall and 4-14 in Big East play. The team was awful from beyond the arc, ranking 333rd in 3-point shooting percentage and clearly missed Devin Gage, who was lost for the season after starting eight contests.
Gage was in the starting lineup as an offensive facilitator and the team was on a three game winning streak at the time of his injury. He will not be the guy taking outside shots for the team, as he took five all last season, but registered 5.9 points and 2.8 assists per game.
With Gage out of the lineup, and he is back for the 2018-19 campaign, Eli Cain became the team’s lead distributor. No matter who the team was rolling with, the Blue Demons were not getting good field goal shooting as Cain shot 34.8 percent and Gage 35.3.
The 6-foot-6 combo guard had 11.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game. He took the second-most outside shots on the team, making 31.3 percent of them while the team’s main outside shooter, Max Strus, hit 33.3 percent of his 7.8 3s per game.
Strus was 36th among all DI players in 3-point attempts per game, as the team was just 294th in 3-point shooting rate. It shows both how few reliable outside weapons the team had last season and how big of a focal point he was in the offense. The 6-foot-6 shooting guard had 16.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.3 steals per game.
The only player that has more rebounds than Strus was 6-foot-10 Marin Maric, who will not be with the team this season. He averaged 13.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per game while making a team-best 84.2 percent of his free throws.
The team’s entire front court will have a different look with Tre’Darius McCallum also gone after he started every game in the post last season. He had averages of 10 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per game, though his 3-point shooting certainly won’t be missed. He made 28.3 percent of the three 3s per game he averaged per game last season.
The team also lost a piece from its guard rotation with Brandon Cyrus leaving DePaul. He started 21 games last season with 7.2 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. He also had the team’s best 3-point shooting percentage at 34.6, which is incredibly sad.
The team brings in a Big Ten transfer in Jalen Coleman-Lands, and will hope it pans out better than the failed experiment of Austin Grandstaff last season. In two seasons at Illinois, the 6-foot-4 transfer had 9.1 points and a total of 39 starts as essentially a designated scorer. He made 38 percent of his 3s as a sophomore and 42.2 percent of them as a freshman and also shot 84 percent at the free throw line last season.
As for the front court, forwards Paul Reed and Jaylen Butz were in the rotation as 6-foot-9 freshmen last season and should see a lot of minutes this season. They had a combined 7.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, and a block per game with both shooting at least 58 percent from 2-point range.
Femi Olujobi enters the program as a graduate transfer as well after the 6-foot-9 big man had 16.3 points and 7.7 rebounds per game for the MEAC school during the 2017-18 season. He only made 29 percent of his 3s last season, but he does have the range to shoot along the perimeter.
247Sports rated DePal as having the worst recruiting class in the Big East, tying with Butler for that honor. The team could use three-star recruits George Maslennikov, who is a 6-foot-10 and guard John Diener to make an impact big enough that they warrant minutes right off the bat.
Whether or not that happen, DePaul figures to be the worst team in the conference once again this season. The team is hoping its incoming transfers can make an impact, but even if Coleman-Lands picks up where he left off with his outside shooting at Illinois, this team does not have anyone else that has a history of burying 3s. With having to also revamp the frontcourt with a pair of reserves from a year ago and a MEAC transfer, this will be a team that loses a minimum of 17 games.