Updated Big East preseaon predictions
Here are my projections on the upcoming NCAA season for Big East teams. I will add one with player stats on a different post, this one is strictly teams. I feel that these are pretty good since I followed the Big East intensely all last year and I saw each team play at least 2 or 3 times.
1.*UCONN- Key Losses: Kemba Walker, Jamaal Coombs-McDaniel, Donnell Beverly, Charles Okwandu.
Key additions: Ryan Boatwright, Deandre Daniels, Andre Drummond
Key Returners: Jeremy Lamb, Alex Oriakhi, Shabazz Napier, Roscoe Smith, Tyler Olander
Even though this team loses the best player in the Big East I feel that Lamb and the other returners will pick up the slack and lead UConn to compete for another national championship. Jeremy Lamb emerged as a great second scorer as a freshman averaging 11ppg and that number should increase significantly next year. The late additions of Daniels and Drummond put UConn on top of the Big East. By the way they return 4 of 5 starters and their sixth man.
2. *Syracuse- Key losses: Rick Jackson
Key additions: Rakeem Christmas, Micheal Carter-Williams, Trevor Cooney
Key returners: Scoop Jardine, Kris Joseph, Brandon Triche, Dion Waiters, Fab Melo, Baye Moussa Keita, CJ Fair, James Southerland
Syracuse should battle with Connecticut for the top spot all season and compete for the title as well. Like UCONN they lose only one starter. Insane depth makes this a team to be reckoned with. Fab Melo also started to turn it around toward the end of last season making the Orange even more dangerous, not to mention their number 10 recruiting class(ESPN.com) in the country.
3. *Louisville- Key Losses: Preston Knowles, Terrence Jennings, George Goode
Key additions- Wayne Backshear, Chase Behanan, Zack Price, Kevin Ware (8th ranked class)
Key returners: Peyton Siva, Gorgui Dieng, Kyle Kuric, Jared Swopshire, Chris Smith, Rakeem Buckels, Mike Marra, Stephen Van Treese
Another very talented Big East team is the Louisville Cardinals. They are solid and should be ranked between 5-15 for the duration of the season. Lville lacks the level of talent of Cuse and Conn, but they return top tier PG Peyton Siva who is one of the best in the country, defensive force Gorgui Dieng, and 3 point sniper Kyle Kuric. This team was plagued by injuries all last year including Swopshire who missed the entire season and received a redshirt. Bottom line Louisville is a very very good team.
4. *Pittsburgh- Key losses: Gilbert Brown, Brad Wannamaker, Gary Mcghee, JJ Richardson
Key additions- Khem Birch, Malcolm Gilbert, Durand Johnson
Key returners- Ashton Gibbs, Travon Woodal, Nasir Robinson, Dante Taylor, Talib Zanna, JJ Moore, Lamar Patterson
After a devastating loss in the tourney and the loss of three great players Pittsburgh fans may be skeptical for next year, but I’m relatively optimistic for 11-12. Those losses hurt but they return Ashton Gibbs who I think will have a huge year scoring to help soften the load. A huge addition is big man Khem Birch who has great defense and athletic skills and can help their defense right away. Overall probably around a 4 or 5 seed in the NCAA tourney.
5. *Marquette- Key losses- Jimmy Butler, Dwight Buycks, Joe Fulce
Key additions- Juan Anderson, Todd Mayo, Derrick Wilson
Key returners- Darius Johnson-Odom, Jae Crowder, Chris Otule, Vander Blue, Junior Cadougan, Davante Gardner, Jamail Jones, Erik Williams
Marquette was one of my sleeper teams from last year and rewarded me by making a run in the tourney. Now with the losses of two starters, Butler and Buycks, Marquette will need someone to emerge as another scorer. One guy who could do that is Vander Blue who had a rocky freshman year but should turn it around. They could take advantage of a weaker Big East and possibly win 11 or 12 games as long as Odom and Crowder play up to their potential.
6. *Cinnci- Key losses- Ibrahima Thomas, Darnell Wilks, Rashad Bishop
Key additions- Shaq Thomas, Jermaine Sanders, Ge’Lawn Guyn
Key returners- Yancy Gates, Dion Dixon, Cashmere Wright, Sean Kilpatrick
Another interesting team with sleeper potential is the Cincinnati Bearcats. Their most talented players are returning so there is reason for optimism. I’m not saying their losses don’t hurt, all three guys were rotation players, but they will be overcome. Cincinnati will improve their record in 11-12, no doubt. Look for Dion Dixon as a potential breakout candidate this year; he is a terrific shooter and will get more scoring looks without Wilks and Bishop.
7. *Nova- Key losses- Corey Stokes, Corey Fisher, Antonio Pena, Isaiah Armwood
Key additions- Tyrone Johnson, Achraf Yacoubou, Markus Kennedy
Key returners- Maalik Wayns, Mouphtaou Yarou, Dominic Cheek, James Bell, JayVaughn Pinkston, Maurice Sutton
After a disappointing year Villanova will need Wayns and Yarou to play well and lead the team if they are to go anywhere. Losing three starters hurts but Wayns is the highlight of their solid returners including Cheek, Sutton, and Bell who will look to step up with larger roles. In the end of the day Nova will probably make the tourney but they are probably a year away from contention.
8. *Notre Dame- Key losses- Ben Hansbrough, Carleton Scott, Tyrone Nash
Key additions- Pat Connaughton, Eric Katenda(probably done for career)
Key returners- Tim Abromitis, Scott Martin, Eric Atkins, Jack Cooley
Notre Dame is another team with a disappointing postseason finish from the Big East. Another recurring theme so far is that all these teams are losing a lot, in ND’s case Ben Hansbrough, Carleton Scott and Tyrone Nash. Those three were essential to the success of this team and will be sorely missed. I’m sure they also weren’t expecting the departure of Scott who took everyone by surprise when he declared for the NBA. I’ll predict a tourney birth for the Fighting Irish since Abromitis and Martin are back for a 5th year.
9. *West Virginia- Key losses- Casey Mitchell, Joe Mazzula, John Flowers, Dalton Pepper
Key additions- Jabarie Hinds, Aaron Brown, Gary Browne, Tommy Mccune
Key returners- Kevin Jones, Truck Bryant, Deniz Kilici, Kevin Noreen
West Virginia will need Kevin Jones to return to level he played at during his sophomore season and big contributions from some of the younger guys to compete in the Big East. Yes, I am not buying the Mountaineers this season. They are losing pieces that I don’t think they can recover from for this year. Flowers and Pepper were two of their best defenders, Mitchell was a knock down shooter, and Mazzula was a solid PG who had some huge games. I think this team will be relying too much on Jones and will lack enough firepower to really compete, but will sneak in to the tournament as an 11 or 12 seed.
10. *Georgetown- Key losses- Austin Freeman, Chris Wright, Julian Vaughn, Vee Sanford
Key additions- Otto Porter, Michael Hopkins, Jabril Tarwick
Key returners- Jason Clark, Hollis Thompson, Henry Sims, Nate Lubick
The last team I have sneaking into the dance from the BE is Georgetown simply because I think Jason Clark is one of the most underrated players in the conference. Clark averaged 12ppg last year with Freeman and Wright scoring a good amount. Now that they are gone I can see him getting around 17ppg. Thompson, Lubick, and Sims will all need to step up as frontcourt players, which I think they can, for Georgetown to see any type of success.
11. St. Johns- Key losses- Everyone
Key additions- Everyone
Key returners- Malik Stith
Experience kills in the Big East and that is something that the Johnnies are lacking. This team pretty much lost everyone of importantance and even though they have a stellar recruiting class they are a year or two away from prominence. This class was hurt since Amir Garrett, Jakarr Sampson, and Norvel Pelle were deemed ineligible for 11-12. As of now they are down to 7 guys on scholarship, Nurideen Lindsay, Gods Gift Achiuwa, and Phillip Greene are the other newcomers. Some potential stars of this 3rd rated class are Maurice Harkless, Dom Pointer, and D’Angelo Harrison.
12. Depaul- Key losses- Jimmy Drew, Mike Stovall
Key additions- Shane Larkin, Charles McKinney, Macari Brooks
Key returners- Cleveland Melvin, Brandon Young, Jerimiah Kelly, Krys Faber, Tony Freeland
A lot of guys returning but DePaul is probably a year or two away. Cleveland Melvin and Brandon Young are the two best players on this team and this will only be their sophomore season. Melvin is one of the most underrated players in the nation, is very versatile, and will establish himself as a NBA prospect soon. But DePaul fans… maybe next year.
13 USF- Key losses- Jarrid Famous, Anthony Crater
Key additions- Jordan Omogbehin, Anthony Collins
Key returners- Augustus Gilchrist, Jawanza Poland, Shaun Norieaga, Ron Anderson Jr
A lot of returning pieces for the Bulls but they are still missing that bonafide scorer, a role that Dominic Jones played two years ago. Last year they were last in the Big East in scoring and will probably have similar problems this year. Someone needs to step up and score 17ish ppg and I think that guy could be Jawanza Poland who is the most well rounded offensively of the Bulls. Augustus Gilchrist will be their main threat down low and should have a pretty good season. The late loss of PG Anthony Crater is huge since they really have no experienced back up at that position. I’m thinking NIT if anything.
14 Providence- Key losses- Marshon Brooks, Duke Mondy, Ray Hall
Key additions- Kiwi Gardner, Brice Kofane(redshirted 10-11), LaDontae Henton
Key returners- Vincent Council, Gerard Coleman, Kadeem Batts
Ahhh the Friars. So frustrating, but I’m optimistic about next year to some extent. While they may be lacking talent, they have a new coach who is committed to playing DEFENSE. This should bring their win total up a win or two for this year, but their future is certainty brighter. Batts, Coleman, and Council have potential to be studs as long as they address the flaws in their game.
15. Rutgers- Key losses- Jonathan Mitchell, James Beaty, Mike Coburn
Key additions- Myles Mack, Kadeem Jack, Jerome Seagears
Key returners- Gilvydas Biruta, Dane Miller
I definitely sound like a broken record by now but here is another team that lost a lot of talent. In this case too much talent to really do anything next year. They lost their best all-around player, Jonathan Mitchell, and their two best perimeter guys in Beaty and Coburn. Big Gil IMO is an eventual NBA player but he will need to have a hell of a season for Rutgers which I don’t think he is ready for. Look for him to have around 15ppg. Myles Mack and Kadeem Jack should have immediate impacts as well.
16. Seton Hall- Key losses- Jeremy Hazell, Eniel Polynice, Jeff Robinson
Key additions- Isaiah Hill, Aaron Cosby, Kevin Johnson
Key returners- Herb Pope, Jordan Theodore, Fuquan Edwin
Herb Pope better revert to his play from two years ago when he was an absolute beast on the boards if Seton Hall wants to go any where. Jordan Theodore solidifies the one spot for the Pirates but they lose a ton of scoring with Hazell and Robinson. Fuquan Edwin played well of the bench last year and should do well as their top wing player this season. I see Seton Hall challenging Rutgers for last and that’s about it.
*means I think they will be a tourney team.
I think Syracuse takes the Big East next season. I like their talent, depth and their experience. They are deep at EVERY spot. Rick Jackson is a loss, but they have more than enough bodies down low to replace him by committee I think.
What kind of numbers do you guys expect of Drummond?
Syracuse has depth, but not at the 4/5. I think that those positions are sushi raw for Syracuse and that UConn has the clear advantage. Kris Joseph is a solid wing guy with experience, but I think Jeremy Lamb should have an even better year for the Huskies. Plus, I really like the combination of Napier and Boatright at the point, they may both be young but they have insane speed. Cuse has a lot of depth on the wing and I like Scoop Jardine quite a bit, but I do not think this team is impossible to overcome. UConn has some versatility in Roscoe Smith and DeAndre Daniels at the 3/4, while they may be young, and Cuse may have more depth, I think UConn has much more skill at key positions. Think that Syracuse's front court is going to struggle more to make up for Rick Jackson by committee, while UConn gained the necessary pieces to have expectations as high as winning the conference.
I think Drummond will be good for around a double double. I think 14 and 9 would be pretty reasonable expectations. Would be surprised if it were any less and probably thinking that it would be more if anything.
I actually made player projections that I was going to post later and had Drummond for 14 and 7 so its very close to mikeyv's prediction.
Didn't they get accepted into the ACC?
Ya but you have to give the Big East 27 months notice before leaving
^^^I heard that happens in 2014, its not immediate, but yes they will eventually be part of the acc along with possibly other big east teams from what im hearing rutgers,and notre dame i think are the 2
I like your list. sadly my favorite team rutgers is near the bottom, and I completely agree with you, they lost a lot of talent, hopefully they can overachieve and set a nice foundation going foward, Mike rice is doin a good job imo, better then fred hill did atleast
I agree UCONN has to be the favorite Jeremy Lamb(looks to have a monster season) and Andre Drummond should be a nice duo
Great Post Dude!!!
UConn was a 1 man gang last season..If they can get Drummond and Lamb on the same page they could repeat as champs...
Could this be the year Fab Melo and Yancy Gates play up to their potential? Both guys have lottery potential,but neither seems interested in working on their skills...
"Syracuse has depth, but not at the 4/5."
They have C.J. Fair, James Southerland, and Baye Moussa Keita at the 4 spot. None of them are standouts, but they are experienced PF's who all provide different things. Fair is a long and athletic guy who plays hard and with energy despite being short for the position and not having perimeter skills. Southerland can stretch and hit jumpers, and Moussa Keita is a high-level shot-blocker and rebounder. Kris Joseph can slide and play the 4 spot in spurts too, although it is only in spurts.
At the C spot they have Rakeem Christmas, Fab Melo and Moussa Keita can play here as well (especially if he has added weight). They don't have a prolific scorer down low at all, but they do have guys who will largely be older and they have the depth to throw bodies at teams, at the very least more so than any other team in the conference besides possibly Pitt.
UConn has flat out better players at the 4/5. Ohio State went 34-3 last year playing 7 players. They had Jared Sullinger, who was an incredible beast, but other than Dallas Lauderdale, no true 4 or 5 they played very often. UConn may not be deep, but they are much better than Cuse at that position. Cuse may have a lot of fouls, so "depth" and they have guys returning, but I remember you saying you did not think Tony Woods was that good. Well, they have a bunch of Tony Woods, while UConn has Alex Oriakhi and Andre Drummond, plus two guys who could swing to the 4 in Roscoe Smith and DeAndre Daniels.
They also have Michael Bradley, Tyler Olander and Enosch Wolf, so they have bodies as well, but I expect Oriakhi and Drummond to run things in this conference, and I think that their back court will step up accordingly with Lamb, Napier and Boatright. I even like Niels Giffey. Now, as much as I love depth, it does not always beat flat out talent. UConn has some versatility to match-up with Syracuse and I feel that while Syracuse will have some improved performers in their back court and on the wing, their front court could have issues. I think they will miss Rick Jackson more than you would think.especially on defense. I know Christmas and Moussa Kitta block shots, but they also foul like nobodies business. Moussa Kitta averaged more fouls per game in 14.6 mpg than Rick Jackson did in 35.6 mpg. I really do not know much about Southerland, but he better improve a lot. CJ Fair seems like the best option they may have as a stretch 4, but he is not exactly who you want banging in the post. Cuse has a good team, and they have a number of players who can play the 4/5, but that does not mean they have the depth you want at the 4/5. Believe me, I am sure coach Boeheim wishes he either had Rick Jackson back, or had Alex Oriakhi and Andre Drummond. Right now, I am not liking Cuse's options at the 4/5, I think you can understand what I am saying.
Syracuse and Pitt. I would love to see UConn and Louisville follow.
Does anyone know when Syracuse and Pitt will start playing in the ACC?
" UConn has flat out better players at the 4/5. Ohio State went 34-3 last year playing 7 players. They had Jared Sullinger, who was an incredible beast, but other than Dallas Lauderdale, no true 4 or 5 they played very often. UConn may not be deep, but they are much better than Cuse at that position. Cuse may have a lot of fouls, so "depth" and they have guys returning, but I remember you saying you did not think Tony Woods was that good. Well, they have a bunch of Tony Woods, while UConn has Alex Oriakhi and Andre Drummond, plus two guys who could swing to the 4 in Roscoe Smith and DeAndre Daniels."
I mean, if you have 3 players at each position returning, that counts as depth. Especially considering they are all a year older and contributed rotation time as Fr. (Fair, Moussa Keita, and Melo). Add in Christmas and Southerland who is a Jr. and they have bodies. The only Tony Woods in the group is Fab Melo, that could or could not change depending on his progression this offseason. UConn has better starters, sure, but that doesn't mean they have better depth and it doesn't mean that Syracuse depth should be discredited, especially considering how young the Orange were in the frontline a season ago.
Also, I didn't use a "depth beats talent" theory at the 4 and 5 spots to determine who was better. I was looking at the teams as a whole. You picked out the 4 and 5 spots as if they didn't have bodies, and now try to make it seem as if I'm using that line of thinking. They do have depth though, in all honesty they have the same depth they had last year when they played a 5 man frontline rotation. All the guys listed, except Christmas, who is a Fr., played rotation minutes, on the tourny team this past season. Syracuse's perimeter is as experienced and talented as just about any core in college basketball, and they have just as much depth as the frontline does. And by that, I mean they can play 3 deep at every position, save PG. Not meaning they have starters, and they have little depth.
I did say "depth", so I apologize, as they do have bodies. But, the reason I brought up Tony Woods is that, besides CJ Fair, I think Syracuse's 4/5 spots "are not very good". I think that is a legitimate concern for this team, at least as far as maybe beating a team like UConn or winning the Big East. They need a lot of big men to step up, and I do not know if they are up to the challenge. I know you are looking at the team as a whole, but I chose the 4/5 after you said they could replace Rick Jackson by committee. I think that is easier said than done.
They have great guards and wings, and are much deeper than UConn their, plus I like their length at guard off of the bench. Dion Waiters should take a much bigger role and I think that CJ Fair is a decent option at 4. They have their 1-3 returning, so that is solid. But, you could make an argument that they lost their most valuable player from last year. UConn did as well, absolutely. But, I think they have returning players that I have a lot more faith in.
Jeremy Lamb is going to be incredibly improved, more so than anyone on Syracuse. I also believe that Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright are an incredibly fast and solid PG combo. Also, when it comes down to it, I think that Alex Oriakhi and Andre Drummond are going to be an incredibly imposing front court. I also have about as much faith in Roscoe Smith and DeAndre Daniels as I would with any 4 man on Cuse. Rakeem Christmas is a great prospect for Syracuse, but I think this guy will take time to play a big role. He has an incredibly limited offensive game. Meanwhile, I think Drummond and Oriakhi, will work well on both ends of the court. I am not just looking at the 4/5, but I think that it could the key difference between this team and Syracuse. That, in turn, could mean that UConn could beat a technically deeper, though not as talented Syracuse team. I have absolute respect for why you made your choice, but I think, barring injuries, UConn's front court could be the reason they win the Big East over Syracuse. Either winning is a definite possibility, but I have more faith in UConn at this point.
i stated it above June 2014
Ok actual standings from end of year... better luck next year
3 Notre Dame
8 West Virginia
10 Seton Hall
13 St Johns
I had high hopes for UConn as well, they just never really got an identity. Meanwhile, Cuse's level of depth was much greater than I had anticipated. Waiters became a legit star and a lot of the bigger bodies really stepped their game up. Will be really interested to see how the Big East tournament plays out, will Cuse continue to assert their dominance or will someone step up to the plate? I still think this conference has a number of strong teams for March this year. They may not win it again, but I think the Big East will do really well in the NCAA tournament as a whole.