Big East national media projections 2020-’21

Photo by Ryan Messier

This is a Marquette focused blog, so I usually keep most posts MU-centric. But it never hurts to take a broader look at the landscape going into a season, to better gauge individual results as the season starts up.

So I rounded up 30 full Big East projections, from reputable national sites to lay some markers down. The results are below.

From a quick look, the consensus seems to form around there being 4 tiers of teams: two at the top, 2 at the bottom and the rest split in the center. The middle in particular seems to have a bit of a logjam, so let’s break down the tiers individually.

Tier 1: Villanova, Creighton

Another year, another national title contender for Jay Wright’s crew. It’s not just that Nova is a blue blood now, they are in the top echelon of those blue bloods. They may not get all the shiny toys Duke and Kentucky get, but they do put up better, more consistent results.

As for Creighton, I had been hyping them up as a national title contender this season since January, assuming everyone returned.

Of course, Ty-Shon Alexander chose to go pro, which limited their title aspirations a bit. But that team will still be really, really good, and ridiculously fun to watch.

Tier 2: UConn, Seton Hall, Providence

The prodigal son returns, and Connecticut fans on social media have not been shy to say as much. Whether that brashness will coincide with wins is still to be seen, but James Bouknight should be one of the best players in the conference and anything less than a tourney bid would be disappointing.

Seton Hall has been lumped into every Marquette preview I’ve read due to the Powell/Howard connection, so I won’t go that route. Bryce Aiken should be excellent and Mamu was quietly their best offensive player last season, but losing Quincy McKnight will have far reaching ramifications that I haven’t seen any previews touch on. Not only did he run the offense splendidly, his length and quickness defensively were wildly underappreciated.

Providence loses a whole bunch of key guys, but coach Ed Cooley has done great job of filling in some needs with impact transfers that should have them dancing once more.

Tier 3: Marquette, Xavier, Butler, St. John’s

As a whole, this group has the most question marks. You can pretty much tell me any one of them will finish 6 through 9 and I would believe it.

Marquette and Xavier had a bit of a leg up on the other two, but not enough to vault them into the next tier. Both project to be very bubblicious come Tourney time, though neither would really shock anyone if the bottom dropped out.

Butler has a history of outperforming their projected finish and St. John’s looks to be a completely different team in Mike Anderson’s second season. But national consensus has them closer to Tier 4 than Tier 2.

Tier 4: DePaul, Georgetown

In the 30 projections I was able to find, the Blue Demons and Hoyas finished 10th and 11th in 23 of them, and never higher than 8th. Frankly, seeing either of these teams be close to NCAA contention would be quite shocking and have Leitao or Ewing as frontrunners for BE Coach of the Year.

National Projections

It’s not enough to just see how the Big East will shake out domestically, I like seeing where the conference sits nationally. So I grabbed 10 sites that ranked all 357 teams and averaged them.

Once again, Villanova and Creighton are in a class of their own. They are head and shoulders above the rest of the conference.

But unlike the conference finish projections at the top, there are 5 teams jumbled tightly together around the top 50. Finishing 3rd in the conference sounds like quite a feat, but using the national projections, that would only require you to be in the top-40 this year. For reference, 6 teams finished in the top-40 of KenPom’s ratings last season.

So all of that is to say, the national consensus points to a Big East that has a ton of parity 3 through 9. Buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

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Categories: Analysis

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