Believe it or not, college basketball season is right around the corner. And in so much the Big East Conference held its annual preseason gala at the worlds most famous arena, otherwise known as Madison Square Garden, Thursday. They released a preseason player of the year, freshman of the year, and a conference order of finish 1 through 10, which can be found below.
COACHES POLL TIME!@SetonHallMBB is the preseason favorite in #BIGEASThoops, edging @NovaMBB by a single point. @XavierMBB slated third, followed by @MarquetteMBB and @PCFriarsmbb tied for fourth to round out the top-five. pic.twitter.com/vbNJYzaTte
— BIG EAST Conference (@BIGEAST) October 10, 2019
I, Nostradamus, would like to offer up some predictions of my own.
Myles Howard, Seton Harquette
Markus Powell, Marq Hall
I’m hedging my bets here folks, did you get the drift? This should be a two horse race between Seton Hall‘s Myles Powell and Marquette’s Markus Howard. They are two players that you simply cannot take your eyes off of. I have an idea as to how to determine who wins POY,…let them play an old fashioned game of horse.
Kevin Willard, Seton Hall
As a head coach myself (of a youth basketball team), I know my job is easier when I have as many players that can “ring the bell” as possible. Well, Willard has one of the country’s best “bell ringers” (scorers) in the country with Powell, and this year he will guide his team to it’s fifth straight NCAA Tournament appearance (after the school had missed it for 11 straight seasons). A scrappy guard back in his playing days, Willard brings a quiet intensity to the sidelines that his players clearly feed off. This should be a special season for the Pirates, and if so, Willard’s finger prints will be all over it.
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Villanova
Here’s a question for you, who fills Eric Paschall’s Nikes on the Main Line this year? It most certainly will be JRE! Jeremiah Robinson-Earl is a 6-9, 232 pound freshman power forward from Overland Park, Kansas. He is a McDonald’s All-American that’s poised for a big first season at Nova due to his size and advanced skill level. He can play inside and out, fast and slow, finesse or bully ball. But don’t take my word for it, here’s how VU head coach Jay Wright describes his new stud: “Jeremiah is an exciting long, mobile basketball player. He can play any position and does so with great intelligence. His Dad was an outstanding player and he comes from a wonderful family.”
1. Villanova – in order to be the best you have to beat the best and until I see it with my own two eyes, Jay Wright‘s team deserves the benefit of the doubt. This year it won’t be easy however. Junior Jermaine Samuels is about to break out for the Wildcats, you heard it here first.
2. Seton Hall – The buzz emanating from South Orange is palpable. In fact, the anticipation for this Pirates’ season began on May 29 when Mr. Powell officially pulled his name from the NBA draft. Everyone knows how crazy good he is, but will his supporting cast be up for the challenge as well?
Photo: New York Post
3. Xavier – after a slow start in head coach Travis Steele‘s first season at the helm last year, the Musketeers got hot down the stretch and made the NCAA tournament. They return four starters, including do it all forward Naji Marshall.
4. Providence – last year broke a stretch of five straight NCAA tournament appearances for the Friars. However Ed Cooley, who flirted with the Michigan job this spring, should have PC dancing again this year. That’s because PC’s returning four starters of their own, led by all-conference small forward Alpha Diallo.
5. Marquette – Steve Wojciechowski’s Golden Eagles would have been my choice for top dog had the Hauser brothers not stunned everyone by transferring (to Michigan State & Virginia respectively), following last season. But he still has a nice foundation in Milwaukee, and it starts with Markus Howard?
Photo: Sports Illustrated
6. Georgetown – there is an old saying in collegiate sports, that the best thing about a freshman, is that they become a sophomore. Well if that is the case, then Patrick Ewing’s Hoyas should be in for a big season! He had three all- Conference freshman team selections last year in James Akinjo, Josh LeBlanc, and Mac McClung. Those three should be even better, plus they add a highly regarded 7 foot center in North Carolina State transfer Omer Yurtseven to the mix.
Photo: WTOP News
7. Creighton – in today’s college basketball, good guards rule. And the good news for the Blue Jays is that they’re blessed to have two very good ones in Ty-Shon Alexander and Marcus Zegarowski. They also play their home games at the CHI Health Center, with an average attendance of 17,048 fans (sixth best nationally in home attendance), which is an amazing advantage.
8. DePaul – the Blue Demons got some super news this week when Chicago native, and former Illinois Mr. Basketball Charlie Morton, was deemed immediately eligible. Be it ever so humble there’s no place like home, and following stops at Cal & Kansas, Moore is back in the Windy City where he’ll team up with silky smooth Paul Reed and a talented freshman class.
9. Butler – I must say I don’t know much about this year‘s edition of the Bulldogs. What I do know is that Kamar Baldwin is a handful. The lefty will again have to wear many hats for Lavall Jordan‘s team (primary scorer, complimentary distributor, defender, etc.). Here is an idea, Hoosiers was filmed at Hinkle Fieldhouse, so how about running the “Picket Fence” for him in a tight spot this year?
10. St. John’s – the Red Storm gets props for giving Chris Mullin a shot at his alma mater (the ninth winningest program in college basketball history), but it was clear early on that he was not up to the challenge. Enter 59 year-old Mike Anderson, most recently fired from Arkansas. He will bring the “40 minutes of hell” pressure defensive philosophy he learned under Nolan Richardson to Queens with him, but will this team score?
And there you have it hardwood fans, the first My 2 Sense in some time. Did you miss us…don’t answer that!