Big East basketball has been entertaining so far this season, and with conference play heating up the conference is gaining new projected tournament teams every week. The narrative of a weak Big East in the 2022-23 season has flipped as the conference looks incredibly deep.
In the most recent AP Poll which was released on Jan. 9, four Big East teams were featured amongst the 25 teams. Topping them all is No. 6 UConn, but N0. 12 Xavier is slowly approaching the top 10. Marquette returns to the rankings at No. 25, and Providence becomes ranked for the first time at No. 19.
UConn has asserted themselves as the top dog in the Big East early on, but the wheels have fallen off since losses to Xavier and Providence. Speaking of Xavier and Providence, they are the two hottest teams in the Big East, both being 6-0 in conference play. Xavier hasn’t lost since a tight 4 point loss to Gonzaga at a neutral sight. Providence hasn’t skipped a beat either, pulling off impressive wins against Marquette and UConn. Marquette has been impressive as well, being top 2 in the Big East in Adjusted Net Rating
Creighton has noticeably become unranked, sitting at only 3 Big East wins and 9 wins on the season. Villanova collapsed at the beginning of the season, and is trying to build momentum but is currently on a 3 game losing streak. St. John’s started off their season strong, but has lost 5 of their last 6 games. Seton Hall has had the definition of an up and down season, with a virtually nonexistent offense.
DePaul hasn’t been horrible but not good this season, sitting slightly their projections at the beginning of the season. Butler has not been able to figure it out so far in Big East play, despite their 11-8 record. Georgetown has just been horrible throughout the entirety of the season, as Patrick Ewing’s job has come even more in question.
UConn forward Adama Sanogo has emerged himself as one of the conference’s top players, averaging 17.4 ppg and 6.7 rpg. St John’s forward Joel Soriano is averaging 16.4 ppg and 12.0 rpg, and has been the workhorse of the Red Storm’s offense. Providence forward Bryce Hopkins, the transfer from Kentucky, has showed out in his first season for the Friars putting up 16.0 pig and 9.1 rpg. Xavier guard Souley Boum, the transfer from UTEP, has also impressed since joining the Musketeers, leading all Big East guards in ppg.
For the reaming of the season, watch out for Bryce Hopkins in the Big East Player of the Year conversation. As Providence continues to get better throughout the season, he will be an X-Factor in their success. Also look to see Creighton turn around their season and end up ranked in the final AP Poll. UConn should continue to big amongst the top tier teams in the nation, and will end up being a 1 or 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. My pick right now to win the conference tournament is Xavier, who have proved to can play with almost anyone in the country.
Mid-January End of Season Projections:
UConn – NCAA Tournament 2 Seed, Big East Regular Season Champions
Xavier – NCAA Tournament 2 Seed, Big East Conference Tournament Champions
Providence – NCAA Tournament 3 Seed
Creighton – NCAA Tournament 5 Seed
Marquette – NCAA Tournament 6 Seed