The Big East projects the Hoyas to finish eighth in the conference, according to its annual Preseason Coaches Poll for the 2023-2024 men’s basketball season — a rosier prediction than the team has received in previous years near dead last.
Upon evaluating the teams in the Big East, we have determined that Georgetown will likely slightly outperform its ranking. With a combination of an experienced coach and a new cast of players, hopefully, Hoya fans will have a viable team to watch this season. After the woes of the previous two seasons, we deserve some semblance of competitiveness. Let’s get into it!
1. Marquette Golden Eagles
Marquette’s expectations in the competitive Big East should be sky-high. With the return of 2022 Big East player of the year guard Tyler Kolek to the squad, the Golden Eagles will have their floor general back on the court. Guards Kam Jones and Stevie Mitchell will take many of the backcourt minutes along with Kolek, and those three should give teams headaches with their combination of speed and 3-point shooting. We expect Marquette to come out on top in a Big East Conference that will be a dogfight.
2. Creighton Bluejays
After dancing to the Elite Eight in last year’s NCAA tournament, the Creighton Bluejays appeared to be legitimate title contenders for 2024 — that is, until forward Arthur Kaluma and guard Ryan Nembhard entered the transfer portal this offseason. Despite the loss of two notable starters, Creighton will continue to rely on center Ryan Kalkbrenner as their primary bucket-getter, who averaged a team-high 15.9 points per game.
3. University of Connecticut Huskies
Okay, okay, okay, we know we ranked the defending national champions as the third-best team in their conference. Yes, we know that this will get us in some trouble if they do dominate the Big East — which they very well might! But hear us out. They lost guard Jordan Hawkins and forward Adama Sanogo, who combined for 34 points per game and dominated the NCAA Tournament. Watch out for the freshman class, though, as forward Jaylin Stewart and guards Solomon Ball and Stephon Castle expect to thrive under the tutelage of Head Coach Dan Hurley. With all that being said, Hurley has proven that he can instill championship DNA into his players, and despite the heavily overturned roster, UConn can still be a dangerous force in the Big East.
4. St. John’s Red Storm
The new-look Red Storm is exactly that: new. By adding 12 names to the roster, St. John’s seeks to surround center Joel Soriano, who last season averaged the fourth-most rebounds per game in the NCAA, with fresh talent including transfer guards Jordan Dingle and RJ Luis Jr. A hefty dose of uncertainty dilutes this team’s prospects, however, as Head Coach Rick Pitino’s Red Storm will work on developing their game plan and chemistry essentially from scratch.
5. Villanova Wildcats
Villanova proved last season why former Coach Jay Wright deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. Wright had a 520-197 record during his time leading the Wildcats, and Villanova only mustered a 17-17 record last season. Guard TJ Bamba and forward Tyler Burton will add some much-needed scoring to the roster as new additions, but despite these transfers, there are a few too many dominant teams in the Big East for the Wildcats to finish much higher than fifth.
6. Providence Friars
Sorry not sorry, Providence. With the loss of legendary Friar Head Coach Ed Cooley to Georgetown, the Providence program will face tactical challenges associated with new leadership and the addition of four transfers, three of whom hail from George Mason University alongside succeeding Head Coach Kim English. Regardless of personnel, forward Bryce Hopkins will provide a reliable anchor for the Friar offense with his 15.8 points per game, while guard Devin Carter and forward Josh Oduro will also provide solid upside for the team.
7. Georgetown Hoyas
Surely it cannot get much worse, right? The Hoyas have won just 2 out of their 39 Big East Conference games over the last two seasons. With the departure of Georgetown legend Patrick Ewing (CAS ’85) and the entrance of proven Head Coach Ed Cooley from Big East rival Providence, the Hoyas should have some things to look forward to this season. There has been high roster turnover from last season, which is not necessarily a bad thing when you finish at the bottom of the conference. Transfers, such as sophomore guard Jayden Epps from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and senior forward Supreme Cook from Fairfield University, will hope to come in and make an instant impact in the pick-and-roll game. Temper your expectations, but Georgetown has some talent to watch out for.
8. Xavier Musketeers
The Musketeers were a formidable squad last season, finishing second in the Big East and closing out with a Sweet 16 appearance. But Xavier owes a great deal of this success to their starters, four of whom are now gone. Head Coach Sean Miller also deserves credit for cultivating a fierce rotation, aided by a particularly strong recruiting class, and his return will be essential for piecing together a Frankenstein of old winning ways and new talent.
9. Butler Bulldogs
Butler was disappointed with their ninth-place finish last season and opted for a near-complete teardown spearheaded by Head Coach Thad Matta. With an almost entirely new team this year headlined by former St. John’s guard Posh Alexander, it is unclear how competitive Butler will be, making it tough to be too high on them.
10. Seton Hall Pirates
Seton Hall finished at 0.500 in the Big East last season and has not demonstrated major signs of improvement. Four transfers joined the roster but only one, center Elijah Hutchins-Everett, averaged over 10 points per game, raising significant concerns for a team that struggled with consistent offense last year. The Pirates will be limited by their transfers’ abilities to fill gaps left by three departing starters.
11. DePaul Blue Demons
DePaul will have some trouble navigating the conference that is oozing with talent and perennial powerhouse teams. The Blue Demons lost their three leading scorers Umoja Gibson, Javan Johnson and Nick Ongenda, and will have a tough time making up for the 42.5 points per game lost between the three of them. The Blue Demons hope that their new additions can keep them out of the conference bottom-dwelling in Head Coach Tony Stubblefield’s third year with the team.