“New” Big East Deserves Your Attention

It’s not your Dad’s Big East, sure, but the Big East is one of the most entertaining leagues in college basketball. Often not given the credit because it’s not the conference of old, the “new” Big East is quickly washing away that stigma. And if the first two days of conference play are any indication, this year the Big East should be more entertaining than ever. Let’s look at a few reasons why the new Big East is still just as good as the old.

Number One Team in the Country

First and foremost let’s start at the top with the number one team in the country: the Villanova Wildcats. Jay Wright’s team has become a target for not just the Big East, but the entire country. That tends to happen when you win a National Championship and live in the Top 5 of the AP Polls week in and week out. Jay Wright’s recent clubs are good enough to be mentioned in the same sentence as any teams in Big East history. It’s hard to say the talent is down when the number one team in the country resides in the Big East.

Next Generation of Coaches

The name’s Boeheim, Calhoun, Pitino and Huggins may not walk the sidelines of the conference anymore, but the current Big East has some of the best minds in the game. In addition to Wright, coaches like Greg McDermott, Chris Mack, Ed Cooley and Steve Wojciechowski are the next generation in the Big East lineage. And that’s still omitting two NBA Hall of Famers who are adjusting to coaching the college game. Fact is, only two of the four former Big East coaches mentioned above are still coaching. Don’t be surprised if the names above eventually join the list of great all-time coaches in the Big East Conference.

Teams That Replaced the Teams that Left Are Better (right now)

Similar to the coaching argument, the teams in this year’s Big East are better than most of the teams that left the conference. The top half of the conference is also better than the top half of most other power conferences. Nova, Xavier, Creighton, and Seton Hall are all currently ranked in the Top 25. Cincinnati, Louisville and West Virginia would definitely be in the top of the league, but two of those three lost to Big East opponents this year. Xavier handled Cincinnati in their yearly rivalry game and Seton Hall topped Louisville, a top team in the ACC, earlier this year.¬†UConn and Syracuse would be a middle of the road teams in this conference at best this year. And don’t even get me started about Pittsburgh. The top of the Big East could go head to head with the top of any conference.

Less Teams = More Parity

A smaller Big East means less of a difference from top to bottom. With Georgetown and St. John’s looking much improved, there aren’t many bottom tier teams to pad your record against. We’ve seen it early on with Patrick Ewing’s Hoyas taking Butler to double overtime. We saw Marquette take Xavier down to the wire. And we saw Seton Hall and Creighton trade punches in a Pirates come from behind win. The first two days of Big East play has been terrific, and with the overall balance and depth of this league, expect it to stay.

The current Big East might not have the Syracuse vs UConn rivalry. It may not have as illustrious of a Big East Tournament as before. That said, this is one of the best conferences in the league. I would put it at number three behind the ACC and Big 12. If you’ve been living with the assumption that the Big East won’t ever be as good as it used to be, smarten up. If you don’t you’ll miss some great basketball.

About James

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of