Another season of men’s college basketball is in the books as we turn the page to the 2023-24 season. In what will be a pivotal year for the Big East Conference, there is an opportunity for the conference to establish itself as arguably the best in the sport. Let’s take a look at where each of the conference’s teams stand.
UConn: The defending champions of men’s college basketball will look to run it back this season. Although a program as storied as Dan Hurley’s at UConn doesn’t rebuild, they reload. Despite losing Jordan Hawkins and potentially Adama Sanogo to the NBA Draft, they bring in tons of fresh talent such as Stephon Castle, Solomon Ball, and Jaylin Stewart. A popular pick to go back-to-back, UConn will look to defend their title and earn national championship number six.
Marquette: The champions of the Big East tournament were this year’s surprise story, going from being projected at the bottom of the conference to hoisting the conference championship trophy in Madison Square Garden. A Second Round loss to Michigan State shouldn’t deter the Golden Eagles; Shaka Smart could potentially return all five starters from last year’s team, including Big East Player of the Year Tyler Kolek. Another year of experience and improvement means Marquette is poised to take the next step.
Xavier: Sean Miller’s squad turned out a very productive year last season with a berth in the Elite Eight. Despite losing key players such as Souley Boum, Adam Kunkel and Colby Jones, that will give room for newcomers to make an impact. Trey Green should slot right into the starting lineup, while Dailyn Swain and Reid Ducharme give the Musketeers added depth. You can’t ask for much more than you had last year, but the X will look for similar success this season.
Creighton: Quite literally a shot away from the Final Four, Creighton will look to reload for another deep tournament run. The main question surrounding the Bluejays is the status of their stars, namely Ryan Kalkbrenner and Baylor Scheierman. Key cogs in the Creighton system, both have the potential to jet for the NBA. Their roster runs deep, but the task gets a lot easier if Kalkbrenner and Scheierman stay.
St. John’s: After a few years treading water in the middle of the conference, St. John’s hooked their big fish: hiring Rick Pitino. The Pitino Era at St. John’s marks a much-needed change and shows a commitment to winning. Expectations are high, so Pitino goes to work recruiting and in the transfer portal. With a new coach, some turnover is expected, with guys like Posh Alexander and AJ Storr hitting the transfer portal. But if there’s anyone that can turn a program around in a hurry, it’s Rick Pitino. Big things are coming to Queens.
Georgetown: The Hoyas are another program that was desperate for fresh blood, firing Patrick Ewing and swiping Ed Cooley away from Providence. Another team with a lot of turnover, the ‘23-‘24 Hoyas will look much different than the previous iteration. Primo Spears, Qudus Wahab and Brandon Murray exit, but the entrances of transfers Jayden Epps and Dontrez Styles gives the program hope. The expectations are much higher than the previous Georgetown products.
Providence: With Providence’s previous coach departing for the aforementioned Georgetown, Kim English has been brought in from George Mason to try to keep the Friars’ ship afloat. Although Jared Bynum has hit the transfer portal, English has brought over a trio of his guys from George Mason with him in the form of Davonte Gaines, Justyn Fernandez and Josh Oduro. A new coach should bring new expectations and a new flair to Friar Basketball.
Villanova: Year one of the Kyle Neptune Era at Villanova was a disappointing one, as the Wildcats fell from the big dogs of the Big East to treading water in the middle. Standouts Cam Whitmore and Caleb Daniels are expected to leave for the NBA, so now Justin Moore and Eric Dixon take over as the team’s leaders. They’ll have a chance to improve after missing the NCAA Tournament entirely last year.
Seton Hall: Shaheen Holloway’s first season as head coach of his alma mater found the Pirates right in the middle of the back, around .500 in both conference play and overall. Seton Hall took some large hits losing Tray Jackson and Tyrese Samuel to the transfer portal, but Holloway will look to recover in recruiting. Adding David Tubek helps, especially with the frontcourt looking a little thin. The Pirates will look to break over the mediocre mark and expand on last season.
Butler: With the return of Thad Matta back to Butler, expectations were high in his first year. Safe to say that did not happen, as the ‘Dawgs suffered through another rough basketball season. They’ve also been hit hard by the transfer portal, as key contributors such as Chuck Harris and Jayden Taylor have elected to take their talents elsewhere. In year two, Thad Matta can rebuild the program with his guys the way he wants to. However, with the Big East’s rapid ascent in the college basketball world, will Matta have enough time to keep up with the rest of the conference?
DePaul: Tough basketball seasons at DePaul have seemingly become the norm, as the Blue Demons are trying year after year to catch lightning in a bottle and turn a season into something. Tony Stubblefield has been attacking the transfer portal, landing Jeremiah Oden and Jaden Henley. They’ll look to stay the course and try their best to make something out of this upcoming season.