- Jeff Goodman, ESPN Insider
The new Big East is as difficult a league to project as any in the entire country. Butler, Xavier and Creighton have joined seven programs from the old Big East to form a "basketball-centric league" that doesn't have much separation from No. 1 to No. 8. Even the bottom of the league has made strides and won't be a compete walkover.
There's no clear favorite. Creighton brings back a superstar, Georgetown lost its stud, Marquette will be a factor despite significant turnover, and Villanova returns the core from a team that went dancing a year ago. St. John's and Xavier should be improved after sub-par seasons, while coach Ed Cooley could have Providence in the hunt. We haven't even mentioned a Butler team that no longer has Brad Stevens at the helm.
Plenty of questions abound -- and we help answer them in our Big East Preseason Power Rankings.
1. Marquette Golden Eagles
Buzz Williams and the Golden Eagles lost a bunch of last season's team. Vander Blue made a poor decision and decided to leave school early, and the team also lost true point guard Junior Cadougan and fellow starter Trent Lockett. However, this program has been pretty successful since Williams took over five years ago, going to the NCAA tournament and winning at least 22 games each season. Marquette will need Jamil Wilson to step into a starring role, and he's certainly more than capable.
8dESPN The Magazine