A Look at Big East Basketball
BIG EAST BACK IN THE HEADLINES, AND LOOKING TO MAKE A STATEMENT THIS SEASON IN COLLEGE HOOPS
The Big East has fallen off the media radar to a degree in recent seasons. ESPN started to emphasize the football conferences more because more money is to be made that way. The Big East basketball contract was picked up by Fox Sports 1, which has done a horrible job of getting anyone to watch them! So…avid fans of the Big East can find the games on TV…but casual fans aren’t stumbling into telecasts the way they used to. The fourth best team of the ACC playing the seventh best will get more ESPN exposure than Big East powers playing each other.
Today we’re going to help get you caught up in the Big East. This will be the first of three conference summaries running in the NOTEBOOK this week. We’ve already talked about the Big Monday leagues…the Big 12 and the ACC. Tomorrow we’ll look at the Big 10. Thursday it’s the SEC. Next week we’ll finish of the “big six” with the Pac 12.
Here’s how the most respected “public” ratings systems have Big East teams rated through this past Saturday’s action. You regulars know we rely on the publicly available numbers from Ken Pomeroy of kenpom.com and Jeff Sagarin of USA Today because NETWORK’S numbers are proprietary for in-house use only.
BIG EAST COMPUTER RANKINGS
Villanova: #1 in Pomeroy, #1 in Sagarin
Xavier: #16 in Pomeroy, #17 in Sagarin
Creighton: #33 in Pomeroy, #39 in Sagarin
Seton Hall: #38 in Pomeroy, #47 in Sagarin
Butler: #42 in Pomeroy, #27 in Sagarin
Georgetown: #48 in Pomeroy, #50 in Sagarin
Providence: #50 in Pomeroy, #42 in Sagarin
Marquette: #114 in Pomeroy, #92 in Sagarin
DePaul: #157 in Pomeroy, #143 in Sagarin
St. John’s: #244 in Pomeroy, #213 in Sagarin
Hello! With all the hype about North Carolina, both computers had Villanova as the best team in the country through Saturday. Xavier is in the Sweet 16 discussion. And, a slew of other teams have good shots to get into the Big Dance. This is a deep conference in 2015-16, with seven of the 10 teams making cases for the Dance. The only real horror story is St. John’s, where Chris Mullin is in way over his head as the new head coach. Nostalgia doesn’t win in the modern game!
Let’s break things down on offense and defense, using Pomeroy’s “adjusted” numbers which account for pace and schedule strength…
BIG EAST ADJUSTED EFFICIENCY RANKINGS
Villanova: #13 on offense, #4 on defense
Xavier: #23 on offense, #22 on defense
Butler: #18 on offense, #136 on defense
Creighton: #34 on offense, #63 on defense
Seton Hall: #64 on offense, #36 on defense
Georgetown: #55 on offense, #65 on defense
Providence: #131 on offense, #19 on defense
Marquette: #218 on offense, #44 on defense
DePaul: #155 on offense, #170 on defense
St. John’s: #311 on offense, #146 on defense
Villanova is strong on both sides of the floor…and will be a legitimate title threat come March. Remember that media darling North Carolina has a suspect defense…and many other powers are soft on one side of the ball or the other. Villanova is for real…and Xavier’s pretty for real as a team aiming for the second weekend of the Dance as well. Below that…issues on defense for Butler, and offense (by Dance standards) for a few.
Joe Lunardi’s new Bracketology won’t be updated until after this article goes up on our website. Last week, he had five Big East teams in the Dance…four of them safely.
BIG EAST BRACKETOLOGY (thru January 18)
Villanova: projected to be a #1 seed
Xavier: projected to be a #2 seed
Providence: projected to be a #6 seed
Butler: projected to be a #7 seed
Seton Hall: projected to be a #12 seed
The computers are more bullish on the Big East than Lunardi. They would have Creighton and Georgetown knocking very hard on the door to make seven entries. Though, in fairness, the computers don’t have Providence anywhere near a #6 seed. Another case of Lunardi ranking off the polls rather than better informed sources. It all usually converges by season’s end.
Be sure you make an effort to catch some Big East baskets this week and then all through February. The lines have been getting softer with the drop in ESPN coverage. Oddsmakers keep their TVs on ESPN during the day on those big screens in the sportsbooks! If you can get in synch with a few teams in this league, you can make that pay off all season long (as skeptics of St. John’s have been doing!)
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Coming up this week in the NOTEBOOK…
Midweek: College Basketball Conference Summary…the Big 10
Thursday: College Basketball Conference Summary…the SEC
Friday-Saturday: College Basketball Previews…Kentucky/Kansas and Oklahoma/LSU
Saturday-Sunday: NBA TV Preview…Golden State at New York
That Kentucky/Kansas game is going to be very interesting. When scheduled, everyone thought it would be two of the top four teams in the country. Kentucky’s been a disappointment (though they impressed vs. Vandy this past Saturday), and Kansas blows hot and cold (like always).
It’s time for you to get your mindset on BASKETBALL now that football is winding down. Link up with PROVEN WINNER and WORLD CHAMPION HANDICAPPER JIM HURLEY!
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