Big East Basketball Preview – Part 2

Tier 2 of the Big East consists of solid teams that will be fighting to remain off the bubble and a team or two that are just slightly less talented than the first tier. As we near March, expect #7 and #8 to be bubble teams while #5 and #6 are fighting for a better NCAA tournament seed.

5. West Virginia Mountaineers 31-7 (13-5) – Look for WVU to regress this season. Replacing De’Sean Butler, Devin Ebanks and Wellington Smith (50% of scoring) will be a little too tough for WVU to do while expecting to match last season’s success. While losing key forwards, WVU also has back court issues. The lack of a true point guard hurt them at times last year. Darryl Bryant and Joe Mazzulla will likely share the 1 again. Mazzulla, Dalton Pepper and maybe even freshman guard Noah Cottrill will really have to step up in the back court. Look for Pepper to start at the 2.
Any way you spin it, WVU will likely not win 30 games again this season.

6. Marquette Golden Eagles 22-12 (11-7) – Marquette was picked 12th in last season’s Big East Coaches Poll and pleasantly surprised by making the NCAA tournament. Buzz Williams has gained the reputation of getting the most out of his players; something he will have to do again this season to assure a return trip to the Dance. The Golden Eagles lose 3 major players in Lazar Hayward, Maurice Acker and David Cubillan. Returning guards Johnson-Odom and Buycks will have to cover the ground lost in the back court.

Marquette has a superb recruiting class coming in who will hopefully learn on the job. Guard Vander Blue and wing Jamail Jones were both ESPNU Top 100 recruits. JUCO transfer Jae Crowder will also challenge for major minutes.
Do not be surprised if Marquette repeats its 2009-10 performance.

7. Seton Hall Pirates 19-13 (9-9) – After a, how should we put it, eventful offseason, Seton Hall is poised to crack the Big East’s Top 8. The Pirates lose senior guard Eugene Harvey, wing Robert Mitchell and reserve center John Garcia. They are returning 4 starters and are adding the transfer Eniel Polynice from Ole Miss. Most importantly, the Pirates have a new captain at the helm: Kevin Willard.

The Pirates will be led by standout shooting guard Jeremy Hazell, master rebounder Herb Pope, scrappy Jeff Robinson and emerging point guard Jordan Theodore. If the Pirates can add to the season they had last year, do not be surprised to see the Pirates in the Top 8 and playing in the NCAA tournament.

8. Notre Dame 23-12 (10-8) – If you asked me last January how I thought Notre Dame would fair without Luke Harangody, I would tell you, not well at all. But based upon Mike Brey’s ability to invent a brand new Notre Dame in the Big East tournament and NCAA tournament, I’m more confident that the Irish can almost replace ‘Gody. However, Notre Dame also loses point guard Tory Jackson and fellow guard Jonathan Peoples (63% of scoring overall). Irish fans will look upon returnees Tim Abromaitis, Ben Hansbrough, Tyrone Nash and Carlton Scott to pick up some serious slack. Scott Martin, the transfer from Purdue, will also see major minutes.

Notre Dame should be a bubble team, based on how well Mike Brey is able to mesh his returning players together into a cohesive team.

Tier 3 will be released this Wednesday, October 27th. Stay tuned, and be sure to follow me on Twitter for the latest NCAAB news:


One Response

  1. […] of crow I will be eating has been shipped from South Bend. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish exceeded my expectations and then some. Once again, the Big East coaches also slipped up. Bubble team? More like a 2 […]

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