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Big East Basketball Very Early 2019-20 Predictions


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Big East Basketball Very Early 2019-20 Predictions – Episode 28

 

By Jack Williams
6-20-2019

Villanova is stacked and is waiting to make another run for the NCAA championship. Xavier has the right roster to bolster their way back up to the top of the Big East as they’ve done in years past. 

Don’t’ expect for Providence to stay near the basement of the Big East for long. Seton Hall, Georgetown and St, John’s all finished in the middle of the Big East, but can they do it again? We shall see.

With that said, here is how we rank the Big East for 2019-20:

1. Villanova Wildcats

With this roster, Villanova is ready to make another deep run into the NCAA tournament. Villanova is returning three (3) starters from the 2018-19 season in Collin Gillespie, Saddiq Bey, and Jermaine Samuels. But the rich keeps getting richer. Villanova has added two top 25 freshmen to the roster for the 2019-20 season in Bryan Antoine and J. Robinson-Earl - and two (2) top 100 freshman, Justin Moore and Eric Dixon.

Bryan Antoine is a beast. He's quick on his feet, explosive, and is a scoring machine. Jerimeal!iah Robinson-Earl also has game. The two of them on the floor together is going to be something to watch. This Villanova team is for real!

Projected Starting 5:

PG

Collin Gillespie PG

SG

Bryan Antoine SG

SG

Saddiq Bey SG

SF

Jermaine Samuels SF

PF

J. Robinson-Earl PF

2. Xavier Musketeers

Xavier will be returning four (4) out of five (5) of their starters from the 2018-19 season, which includes their top three (3) scorers, Paul Scruggs, Naji Marshall, and Tyrique Jones. On top of that, Xavier has the 24th best recruiting class in the nation coming in according to 247sports.com.
Ohio’s transfer Jason Carter should pay major dividends for this team if he plays this season. Xavier was one of the four teams in the Big East last season that was tied for 3rd through 6th place. Xavier finished in the 2nd round of the NIT in 2019. Xavier has the personnel this season to make a deep run into the NCAA tournament. Expect Xavier to compete for the top of the Big East.

Projected Starting 5:

PG

 

Quentin Goodin PG

SG

Paul Scruggs SG

SF

Naji Marshall SF

PF

Tyrique Jones PF

PF

Daniel Ramsey PF

3. Providence Friars

Providence will get back all of their starters from the 2018-2019 season. This team gets stronger with the addition of UMASS graduate transfer Luwane Pipkins, who was the top scorer on his team in 2018-2019. Pipkins averaged 16 points, 4.9 rebounds, and a woping 5.2 assists per game in his final season at UMASS. Pipkins was the third best point guard in the Atlantic 10 in 2018-2019. Expect scoring to increase with this team next season.

Projected Starting 5:

PG

Maliek White PG

SG

David Duke SG

SG

A.J. Reeves SG

SF

Alpha Diallo SF

PF

Nate Watson PF

4. Georgetown Hoyas

This is a Georgetown team that probably should have gone to the tournament last season. This team was the best at every category in the big east except for defense. Georgetown was one of the worst defensive teams in the nation last season. They ranked dead last in the Big East and 321st in the nation in scoring defense.

So they were absolutely the best in scoring offense and absolutely the worst in scoring defense. Hopefully Georgetown will get better defensively with its new additions. Even though Georgetown lost several players after the 2018-19 season, they will still have their four (4) main starters returning in James Akinjo, Mac McClung, Jamorko Pickett, and Josh LeBlanc. North Carolina's transfer Omer Yurtseven will fill the void left by Jessie Govan, who graduated after this season. Expect this team to remain one of the best offenses in the nation and hope that they’ll improve greatly in the defense category.

Projected Starting 5:


James Akinjo PG

Mac McClung PG

Jamorko Pickett SG

Josh LeBlanc SF

Omer Yurtseven C (N.C. State)

5. Butler Bulldogs

Butler finished in 2nd to last place in the Big East in 2018-2019. Part of the team's struggle was due to lack of ball movement and poor rebounding on both the offensive and defensive end of the court. Butler should improve greatly in rebounding, however, with the additions of Valparaiso’s grad transfer Derrik Smits and Milwaukee's transfer Bryce Nze. This is a great front court for the Bulldogs. Ball movement may continue to lack but rebounding and 2nd chance points should improve greatly for this team.

Projected Starting 5:


Aaron Thompson PG

Kamar Baldwin SG

Sean McDermott SF

Bryce Nze PF (Milwaukee)

Derrik Smits C (Valpo)

6. Marquette Golden Eagles

I have some good and bad news about this team. The bad news is that Marquette may have lost their chance of making something big happen last season. The good news is that the Golden Eagles will get back three (3) out of five (5) starters from the 2018-2019 season ,which includes their top scorer Markus Howard.

Marquette has added to the roster, graduate transfer Jayce Johnson, from Utah and transfer Koby McEwen from Utah State. McEwen was Utah State Best Scorer in 2017-2018. Both transfers will fill the void left by Sam Hauser and Joey Hauser. Both of the Hauser’s have of transferred. Sam Hauser transferred to Virginia while Joey Hauser transferred to Michigan State. Marquette should continue the success from the 2018-2019 season. Marquette came in 2nd place in the big east and finished only in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 2019.

Projected Starting 5:


Markus Howard PG

Sacar Anim SG

Jamal Cain SF

Theo John PF

Ed Morrow PF

7. Creighton Bluejays

Creighton was the 3rd highest scoring team in the Big East and the 54th highest scoring team in the nation last season. The Bluejays have added another big scorer to the team in Denzel Mahoney, a transfer from South East Missouri State. Mahoney was the top scorer for SEMO in his final season there, averaging 19.3 points per game. Creighton is returning two (2) of their top three (3) scorers from the 2018-2019 season. The concern I have for this team is depth in the front court. Will Jacob Epperson ever get healthy enough to play an entire season? Jacob Epperson only played in a total of 21 games in the last two (2) seasons. This team is pretty small in the Front court, therefore rebounding may suffer a little.

Projected Starting 5:


Davion Mintz PG

Mitch Ballock SG

Ty-Shon Alexander SG

Denzel Mahoney SF (SEMO)

Damien Jefferson SF

8. Seton Hall Pirate

Seton Hall finished the 2018-2019 season in 3rd place in the Big East - higher than projected. This team will get back four (4) out of five (5) starters from the 2018-2019 season.

But nothing much changes with this team. If Pirates could find a way to play better defense, Seton Hall could move further into the NCAA tournament than they did in 2019. Seton Hall finished in the 1st round of the NCAA in 2019, losing to Wofford, a mid-major team.
With Michael Nzei gone from the starting lineup, Romaro Gill should be expected to play a bigger role. Gill played in 27 games last season and started in 3. He averaged 2.3 points and 2.7 rebounds per game that season.

Projected Starting 5:

Quincy McKnight PG

Myles Cale SG

Myles Powell SG

Sandro Mamukelashvili PF

Romaro Gill C

9. St. John's Red Storm

The opportunity for this team was 2018-2019 when Shamorie Ponds and Justin Simons were still a part of the team. That 2018-2019 team had a chance to go further than they did in the tournament in 2019. However, they did get to the NCAA tournament.

Fortunately, LJ Figueroa and Mustapha Heron are returning and with its new pieces St. John's should remain competitive in the Big East. However, this team may struggle getting to the top of the Big East.

Projected Starting 5:

Johnathan McGriff PG

LJ Figueroa SG

Mustapha Heron SG

David Caraher PF (Houston Baptist)

Damien Sears PF (Western Oklahoma State)

10. DePaul Blue Demons

DePaul lost their top three scorers, Eli Cain, Femi Olujobi, and Max Strus, to graduation after the 2018-2019 season. That’s about 46 points that DePaul will have to replace in order to stay competitive in the Big East. Fortunately, the team has added top 100 freshman Romeo Weem to the roster. Hopefully, he'll get help from Arkansas' transfer Darious Hall, red shirt Jalen Coleman-Lands, who was injured last season, and returning player Jaylen Butz, who started in 13 games last season. If DePaul finishes in the basement of the Big East as predicted Coach Dave Leitao will more than likely end up on the hot seat after the 2019-20 season.

Projected Starting 5:

Devin Gage  PG

Jalen Coleman-Lands SG

Paul Reed SF

Romeo Weems PF

Jaylen Butz PF