Big East Basketball Predictions, Projected Standings

Projected Big East Standings

 

Team

 Record

Outlook

1

 Louisville Cardinals
Louisville

14-4

The nation’s best defense is now married with an improved, high octane offensive attack. Peyton Siva is an improved long range shooter while his backcourt mate–Russ Smith–is the most dynamic guard in the league. These Cards aren’t head and shoulders above the rest of the Big East, but they are the prohibitive favorite to win the conference.

2

Syracuse Orange
Syracuse

13-5

Frontcourt questions besiege the Orange. Heralded freshman center DaJuan Coleman has struggled transitioning to college while sophomore Rakeem Christmas has not made the improvements one assistant coach foreshadowed during the summer. Perimeter shooting remains the team’s biggest bugaboo. A world-class distributor, Michael Carter-Williams is third-world caliber as an outside gunner.

3

Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame

13-5

The Irish run one of the most efficient offenses in the country, spearheaded by Jack Cooley inside. Eric Atkins is an improved scorer, Jerian Grant is a more efficient scorer and freshman Cameron Biedscheid might be the most skilled scorer on the team. With Michigan State transfer Garrick Sherman providing frontcourt depth that last year’s team lacked, Notre Dame 2.0 may be even better than the prototype which took the Big East by storm last winter.

4

Cincinnati Bearcats
Cincinnati

12-6

Cincinnati will pit its backcourt against any other in the league, Louisville’s included. Mick Cronin would be wise, however, to duck and hide from those teams challenging the Bearcats up front. Cincy was taken to task by New Mexico in the paint during the team’s only non-conference loss, a trend that doesn’t figure to stop in the rough-and-tumble Big East.

5

Pittsburgh Panthers
Pittsburgh

11-7

The Panthers are much improved from last year’s outlier, even without Ashton Gibbs and Nasir Robinson. Thanks to a forgiving non-conference schedule, how much improved remains unclear. Jamie Dixon’s squad runs one of the crispest offenses in college hoops, dictated by a two-prong point guard attack–resurgent floor leader Tray Woodall and freshman James Robinson. Pitt’s short-term success will hinge on another freshman: Aussie pivot Steven Adams, who’s been less than spectacular thus far.

6

Georgetown Hoyas
Georgetown

11-7

There are few better wing combinations in college basketball than Georgetown’s Otto Porter-Greg Whittington duplex. Still, the Hoyas are searching for answers offensively. Markel Starks has upped his shooting and Nate Lubick has been great in a handyman capacity, but John Thompson needs more from Mikael Hopkins inside to tap his team’s fairly high ceiling. Of course, Georgetown lacks a true point guard as well, but that’s a secondary concern. Thompson’s Princeton-based system calls for all five guys to spot the open man.

7

Marquette Golden Eagles
Marquette

10-8


This isn’t your older brother’s Golden Eagles. The 2012-13 installment simply cannot shoot. Even with once-ineligible guard Todd Mayo back with the team, Marquette will struggle to score consistently with its one-dimensionality on offense. Still, there’s reason for optimism in Milwaukee. Davante Gardner, slow-footed and all, is one of the best per-40 minute big men in all of college basketball. Junior Cadougan isn’t a stat sheet stuffer, but he’s a consummate leader and steady as a rock in high leverage moments.

8

Connecticut Huskies
Connecticut

9-9

You wouldn’t know that UConn postseason’s opportunity is already dashed by watching the Huskies on a game-to-game basis. Despite losing two key lottery picks and two frontcourt transfers, Kevin Ollie’s first bunch appears to be an upgrade from last year’s title defense team, which sent Jim Calhoun into retirement with a bitter taste in his mouth. The Huskies are uncharacteristically weak inside–Enosch Wolf has at least shown promise–but make up for it with the best backcourt combo in a league replete with great ones.

9

South Florida Bulls
South Florida

9-9

Stan Heath sparked a sudden revival in South Florida last season, culminating in a two-round run in the NCAA tournament. He won’t be so lucky this season. The stingy Bulls defense–a trademark of last year’s blue-collar bunch–was left behind, replaced by a garden variety defense that opponents are having little trouble picking apart. The loss of Augustus Gilchrist inside has been heartfelt and Victor Rudd is really struggling with his shot.

10

Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Rutgers

7-11

Sophomores Eli Carter and Myles Mack have formed their own Boatright-Napier backcourt, albeit a scaled-down version. Kansas State transfer Wally Judge has helped mend the gap left by departing transfer Gil Biruta inside, but the Scarlet Knights are still thin in the frontcourt. Defensive lapses have been a recurring issue for Mike Rice’s team.

11

St. John's Red Storm

St. John’s

6-12

The Red Storm need help on the perimeter in the worst way. Sophomore star D’Angelo Harrison has taken on the burden of carrying the backcourt scoring load, but Harrison can’t do it alone. The Johnnies badly need another player to emerge as a capable outside shooter, be it Phil Greene or Amir Garrett; otherwise, Harrison will be contending with multiple defenders throughout Big East play. If there’s an area that St. John’s has on lockdown, it’s protecting the rim. Freshman Chris Obekpa is a Dikembe Mutombo clone.

12

Providence Friars
Providence

6-12

The  Friars are playing defense under Ed Cooley, which bodes well for the short- and long-term future of the program. Vincent Council is set to return for the Friars’ Big East opener, so scoring should be less of an issue than it was during the non-conference. Bryce Cotton is the most improved guard in the Big East not nicknamed MCW, and LaDontae Henton is a rising star. As stud freshman point guard Kris Dunn eases back from his right shoulder injury, which cost him the team’s first nine games, look out for these Friars. They’re young, talented and hungry.

13

DePaul Blue Demons
DePaul

5-13

Let’s call Oliver Purnell’s bunch “Paul,” because there’s still no “D” (or “De”) in Chicago. To the team’s credit, the effort has been there, and the defense has improved from where it was at this point last season. Nevertheless, the Blue Demons can’t capitalize on their offensive talent without better results on the defensive end. Cleveland Melvin and Brandon Young each deserve better.

14

Seton Hall Pirates
Seton Hall

5-13

Last season for the Pirates began with promise and ended in disappointment. The 2012-13 campaign is following a similar track. Seton Hall is off to an 11-2 start thanks to a favorable non-conference schedule, but the team is still searching for the playmakers necessary to sustain that success in conference play. Fuquan Edwin is a legitimate scoring ace, Southern Illinois transfer Eugene Teague has filled in admirably for Herb Pope and sophomore Brandon Mobley is coming along strong. Beyond that, the Pirates are light on the offensive end, a problem that isn’t likely to subside against Big East competition.

15

Villanova Wildcats
Villanova

4-14

It’s hard to believe how quickly the Cats have fallen, so precipitously that once coaching prodigy Jay Wright may be on his ninth live. A roster laced with talented, second-tier prospects has yet to produce a collegiate star. Ryan Arcidiacono has shown flashes of becoming one, but the freshman has struggled mightily with his scoring efficiency at this level. In the meantime, JayVaugh Pinkston will have his turn to spearhead the attack in a leading role.

Awards and Honors

Player of the Year

Jack Cooley

F/C

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Freshman of the Year

Omar Calhoun

SG

Connecticut Huskies

Coach of the Year

Jamie Dixon

HC

Pittsburgh Panthers

Sixth Man of the Year

James Southerland

SF

Syracuse Orange

Defensive POY

Chris Obekpa

C

St. John's Red Storm

First-Team All-Big East

Player

Team

Pos.

Year

Michael Carter-Williams

Syracuse

PG

Sophomore

Russ Smith

Louisville

SG

Senior

Sean Kilpatrick

Cincinnati

SG

Junior

Otto Porter

Georgetown

SF

Sophomore

Jack Cooley

Notre Dame

C

Senior

Second-Team All-Big East

Player

Team

Pos.

Year

Bryce Cotton

Providence

PG

Junior

Shabazz Napier

Connecticut

SG

Junior

D’Angelo Harrison

St. John’s

SG

Sophomore

Fuquan Edwin

Seton Hall

SG/SF

Junior

Cleveland Melvin

DePaul

SF

Junior

Topics: Basketball, Cincinnati Bearcats, Connecticut Huskies, Depaul Blue Demons, Georgetown Hoyas, Louisville Cardinals, Marquette Golden Eagles, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Pittsburgh Panthers, Providence Friars, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Seton Hall Pirates, South Florida Bulls, St. John's Red Storm, Syracuse Orange, Villanova Wildcats

Want more from Busting Brackets?  
Subscribe to FanSided Daily for your morning fix. Enter your email and stay in the know.

Comments are closed.