With the reshuffling of many major conferences, the Big East took a major hit. With many of its traditional powerhouses long gone, the loss of Doug McDermott, and projected down years for the likes of Marquette and Butler, only two teams are predicted to represent this conference during March Madness.
Nova is the popular pick to win the conference this season. The Wildcats have five of their six top scorers returning and it appears as though they only have one legitimate threat in Georgetown. PG Ryan Arcidiacono will lead this team with 67 starts to his name and forwards Darrun Hillard and JayVaughn Pinkston will be a matchup nightmare in the paint. Villanova also owns two top-100 freshmen in Phil Booth and Mikai Bridges, and coach Jay Wright has not had the opportunity to work with so many returning rotation players in quite some time.
The Wildcats may be the favourites in the Big East, but the Hoyas own the favourite for POY in D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera– a 6’3 guard who had the third-best offensive rating in the conference as a sophomore last year. He’ll be the go-to scorer for Georgetown but Mikael Hopkins and Jabril Trawick return to help shoulder the load, as well as talented freshman forward, Isaac Copeland. Josh Smith, a senior forward, will be a stabilizing force in the paint after playing in just 13 games last season.
First Team All-Big East
G Ryan Arcidiacono, Junior, Villanova
G D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Junior, Georgetowm
G Darrun Hilliard, Senior, Villanova
F Jayvaughn Pinkston, Senior, Villanova
F Matt Stainbrook, Senior, Xavier