Big East Conference Basketball 2016-2017 Early Projections

Jack Williams, 5:00am September 1, 2016

AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

The Big East won the NCAA Championship last season and the Conference just gets better this coming season. Xavier is deep! Villanova is returning several players from its Championship team and has added more fire power. Who will rule the Big East in 2016-2017? Here is what we think the Big East would like in 2016-2017:

1. Xavier Basketball

Coach: Chris Mack

Off Roster:
Graduated: Remy Abell, Kevin Coker, and James Farr
Possibly Turned PRO: Jalen Reynolds

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Edmond Sumner (PG), Trevon Bluiett (SG), Myles Davis (SG), J.P. Macura (SG), Kaiser Gates (SF), and Sean O'Mara (C)
Key Transfer(s): Malcolm Bernard (FAMU, PF) and RaShid Gaston (Norfolk State, C)
Key Freshmen: Quentin Goodin (Rival Ranked 75th, G) and Tyrique Jones (Rival Ranked 115th, PF)

This team is deep!! Xavier will answer their rebound problems with the additions of two (2) MEAC transfers RaShid Gaston and Malcolm Bernard (FAMU, PF). The two (2) will make this team very competitive in the Big East. RaShid Gaston a transfer from Norfolk State averaged 15.5 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in his final season. He was Norfolk State’s best rebounder and second best point producer. Malcolm Bernard, a transfer from FAMU was the team’s leading scorer and rebounder with 14.4 points per game and 7.1 rebounds per game. And things get even better for Xavier. They will have two (2) top 150 freshmen on the roster in Quentin Goodin and Tyrique Jones. Villanova may have to fight for the top spot this coming season and expect Xavier to make a run deep into the NCAA tournament.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: NCAA Tournament 2nd round exit
NCAA Basketball Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 15+

2. Villanova Basketball

Coach: Jay Wright

Off Roster:
Graduated: Ryan Arcidiacono, Patrick Farrell, Daniel Ochefu, Kevin Rafferty, and Henry Lowe

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Josh Hart (SF), Kris Jenkins (PF), Jalen Brunson (PG), Phil Booth (SG), Darryl Reynolds (PF), and Mikal Bridges (SF)
Key Freshmen: Omari Spellman (Rival Ranked #16, C), Donte DiVincenzo (SG), Tim Delaney (PF), and Dylan Painter(LOI)

The NCAA champions, Villanova, will be returning several players from their successful 2015-2016 season. This includes their top two (2) shooters in Josh Hart (SF) and Kris Jenkins (PF). The addition of five (5) star freshmen, Omar Spellman, will make this team even better this coming season. Spellman is a 6’9” Forward/Center who can run the floor and shoot. The question is how strong is Villanova’s back court this year? Point guard Jalen Brunson started in 38 games last season but averaged only 2.5 assists per game. We can definitely count on Villanova to go to the NCAA Tournament after this coming season.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: NCAA Tournament Champions
NCAA Basketball Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 15+

3. Seton Hall Basketball

Coach: Kevin Willard

Off Roster:
Graduated: Derrick Gordon
Possibly Turned PRO: Isaiah Whitehead

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Khadeen Carrington (SG), Desi Rodriguez (SF), Ismael Sanogo (SF), Angel Delgado (PF), Michael Nzei (PF), Veer Singh, and Rashed Anthony (PF)
Key transfer(s): Madison Jones (Wake Forest, PG)
Key Freshmen: Myles Powell (SG) and Eron Gordon (SG)

Seton Hall lost Isaiah Whitehead to the Pros. However, the majority of Seton Hall’s core starters are returning to lead Seton Hall to another successful season. Seton Hall has added top 150 freshman, Myles Powell to their roster. The 6’ 2” shooting guard can flat out score. Seton Hall may have some depth issues though.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: NCAA Tournament 1st round exit
NCAA Basketball Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 12+

4. Creighton Basketball

Coach: Greg McDermott

Off Roster:
Graduated: Geoffrey Groselle and James Milliken
Transferred: Malik Albert and Marlon Stewart (North Dakota)

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Maurice Watson Jr. (PG), Cole Huff (SF), Isaiah Zierden (SG), Khyri Thomas (SG), Zach Hanson (PF), Toby Hegner (PF), Tyler Clement (PG), and Ronnie Harrell Jr. (SG)
Key Transfer(s): Marcus Foster (Kansas State, SG)
Key Freshmen: Justin Patton (Ranked Rivals #45, C ), Davion Mintz (PG), Kobe Paras (PG), and Martin Krampelj (PF)

With one of the best offenses in the nation last season, it’s hard to imagine that Creighton only finished 9-9 in the conference. Many projected Creighton to at least make it to the NCAA tournament. However, a quarterfinal finish in the NIT is not bad. Creighton will return several of its core players from last season. With their new additions, freshman Justin Patton and Kansas State transfer Marcus Foster, Creighton should get much better as a team. Creighton needs to improve on defense in order to move up in the Big East.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 20-15 (9-9) NIT Quarter Finals Finish
NCAA Basketball Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 12-

5. Georgetown Basketball

Coach: John Thompson III

Off Roster:
Graduated: Bradley Hayes and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera
Transferred: Paul White and Riyan Williams

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: L.J. Peak (PG), Isaac Copeland (PF), Marcus Derrickson (PF), Tre Campbell (PG), Reggie Cameron (PF), Jessie Govan (C), Trey Mourning (PF), and Kaleb Johnson (SG)
Key Transfer(s): Rodney Pryor (Robert Morrison, SG), Jonathan Mulmore (Allegany Maryland, PG), and Akoy Agau (Louisville, PF)
Key Freshmen: Jagan Mosely (SG) and George Muresan (PF)

Georgetown has added some quality recruits that will make them a much better team this coming season. In particular, the additions of JUCO transfer Jonathan Mulmore and Robert Morris Transfer Rodney Pryor. Mulmore and Morrison can both put up a lot of points. The two (2) will make a great back court for Georgetown.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 15-18 (7-11) No Appearance
NCAA Basketball Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 10+

6. Butler Basketball

Coach: Chris Holtmann

Off Roster:
Graduated: Kellen Dunham, Austin Etherington, Jordan Gathers, Roosevelt Jones, and Tyler Lewis
Transferred: Jackson Davis (Eastern Kentucky)

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Kelan Martin (PF), Tyler Lewis (PG), Tyler Wideman (PF), Andrew Chrabascz (PF), Nate Fowler (C)
Key Transfer(s): Kethan Savage (George Washington, SG) and Avery Woodson (Memphis, SG)
Key Freshmen: Kamar Baldwin (SG), Henry Baddley (SF), Joey Brunk (C), and Sean McDermott (SG)

Hopefully, we won’t see a forward running the point this coming season. But looking at the roster, butler may continue to have a problem at the point guard position. The difference is, they won’t have Roosevelt Jones on the roster to bail them out. Tyler Lewis is returning as a graduate student. But how good of a point guard is he? Can he defend and who’s going to back him?

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 22-11 (10-8) NCAA tournament 2nd round exit
NCAA Basketball Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 10-

7. Marquette Basketball

Coach: Steve Wojciechowski

Off Roster:
Graduated: Michael Mache
Transferred: Wally Ellenson
Possibly Turned PRO: Henry Ellenson

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Haanif Cheatham (SG), Luke Fischer (C), Traci Carter (PG), Duane Wilson (PG), Sandy Cohen III (SG) and Jajuan Johnson (SG)
Key Transfer(s): Katin Reinhardt (USC, SG) and Andrew Rowsey (UNC Ashville, PG)
Key Freshmen: Brendan Bailey (Rival Ranked #54, PF), Andrew Rowsey (UNC Ashville, PG), and Sam Hauser

The 2016-2017 season may look just like the 2015-2016 season for Marquette. They have some quality players. But the problem with Marquette is its size. The team’s average height is 6’ 3”. Marquette will probably end up one of the best scoring teams in the country. On the other hand, defense and rebounding may be a problem when conference play starts.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 20- 13 (8-10) No Appearance
NCAA Basketball Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 9-

8. St John's Basketball

Coach: Chris Mullin

Off Roster:
Graduated: Felix Balamou, Ron Mvouika, Durand Johnson
Transferred: Christian Jones (UNLV)

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Federico Mussini (PG), Yankuba Sima ( C), Malik Ellison (SG), Kassoum Yakwe (PF), Amar Alibegovic (PF)
Key Transfer(s): Bashir Ahmed (Hutchinson, SF) and Tariq Owens (Tennessee, PF)
Key Freshmen: Shamorie Ponds (PF), Richard Freudenberg (SF), and Marcus LoVett, Jr. (PG)

This team is big! And I mean big in a lot of ways – size, talent and opportunities. Freshmen Shamorie Ponds, Richard Freudenberg, and Marcus LoVett, Jr. are all high level division 1 ready players. They will be joined by junior college sensation, Bashir Ahmed. He’s a good all around player. He’s going to be helpful both offensively and defensively. The problem with St. John’s is that they are going to be a very young team. However, St. John’s is positioning itself to do big things in the Big East.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 8-24 (1-17) No Appearance
NCAA Basketball Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 8+

9. Providence Basketball

Coach: Ed Cooley

Off Roster:
Transferred: Junior Lomomba
Possibly Turned PRO: Ben Bentil and Kris Dunn

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Rodney Bullock (PF), Jalen Lindsey (SF), Kyron Cartwright (PG), Drew Edwards (SG), Ryan Fazekas (SF), and Ricky Council II (SG)
Key Transfer(s): Isaiah Jackson (George Mason, SG) and Emmitt Holt (Indiana, PF)
Key Freshmen: Maliek White (PG), Alpha Diallo (SF), and Kalif Young

Providence loses two (2) of their top scorers, Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil, to the Pros after the 2015-2016 season. Providence will lose 37 points per game with their departure. The question is, who’s going to replace those points?

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 24-11 (10-8) NCAA Tournament 2nd Round exit
NCAA Basketball Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 4+

10. DePaul Basketball

Coach: Dave Leitao

Off Roster:
Graduated: Cory Dolins, Myke Henry, David Molinari, Aaron Simpson, and Rashaun Stimage
Transferred: Develle Phillips, Oumar Barry, and Frederick Scott (Rider)

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Billy Garrett Jr. (PG), Eli Cain (SG), Peter Ryckbosch (PF), Erten Gazi (SG), Darrick Wood (SG), and R.J. Curington (SG)
Key Transfer(s): Tre'Darius McCallum (Indiana Hills, SF) and Chris Harrison-Docks (Western Kentucky, PG)
Key Freshmen: Algevon Eichelberger (PF) and Levi Cook (C)

DePaul has a good mix of returning players and quality recruits. However, they may not be quite ready to compete for the top spot in the Big East as of yet.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 9-22 (3-15) No Appearance
NCAA Basketball Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 4-

Jack Williams,

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