Villanova will come into next season as the favorite to be the best team in the conference once again. They have won the Big East Championship two out of the last three years in 2015 and 2017. Seton Hall was crowned Big East Champion in 2016. Providence was crowned in 2014. No team that is still in the Big East won a conference title from 2008 to 2013. The Pittsburgh Panthers won in 2008. Louisville won in 2009, 2012, and 2013. West Virginia won in 2010. Connecticut won in 2011.
Villanova will have a target on their back in 2018 and they will have to face some quality opponents in the always rugged Big East. It is unlikely for teams like Georgetown and DePaul to give Villanova a scare, but can another team in the conference knock them off?
1) Seton Hall
Seton Hall won the Big East two seasons ago. They also return three very good, 1,000 point scorers in Angel Delgado, Khadeen Carrington, and Desi Rodriguez. They will be more experienced than Villanova (with exception to Jalen Brunson) and will be their biggest threat to winning another Big East Championship in 2018.
Coming off a 24-14 season in which they made the Elite Eight, Xavier also returns key players in Trevon Blueitt and JP Macura. They also have a great coach in Chris Mack. Look for them to give Villanova some trouble this year.
Butler lost some important pieces from last years team, but Kelan Martin returns. This team beat Nova twice last year. They may not be a Sweet Sixteen team again this year, but they are still a top-tier team in the conference.
Their best player Rodney Bullock returns and they have a quality recruiting class coming in. They’ll be motivated after losing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and look like they’ll be the best of the teams outside of the top four.
Creighton had a roller coaster season in 2018. They had a good start to the season, then the Maurice Watson saga caused some issues, then they turned it around and made it to the Big East Championship Game. If they can get hot again come tournament time, they will definitely pose a challenge to Villanova.
6) Saint John’s
The Red Storm may have only won fourteen games last season, but they improved their record by six wins. They also improved from one Big East victory to seven. Chris Mullin’s team plays tough and scrappy and those types of games can go either way in the Big East.
The Golden Eagles round out the teams in the middle of the pack in the Big East. They won nineteen games last year but bowed out in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. I think they’ll take a step back next year.
Georgetown has been bad the past two years and John Thompson III is gone. New coach Patrick Ewing has his work cut out for him and Georgetown may even end up being the worst team in the conference.
The most wins in a season DePaul has had in the past nine seasons is twelve. They have a good chance of improving with the return of Dave Leitao at coach after stints coaching at Virginia and in the NBA Development League. He hopes he can bring back the 2003-2004 days when he coached them to a tournament berth. It won’t happen this year.