Big East 2021 Power Rankings:

Here at The Providence Crier we welcome differing opinions on all things Providence basketball and the Big East.

The Crier and I have separately put together a top to bottom ranking of the Big East, along with providing candid commentary on each selection.

Let us know what you think. It’d be great to read some other’s opinions.

BOC’s Power Rankings

When doing some homework on this, I noticed that there are likely three tiers in the Big East (I almost made 4 tiers – sorry Georgetown). The tiers are as follows, in my opinion:

Tier 1: Nova & Creighton – likely the only two teams to be ranked preseason

Tier 2 (teams listed without any specific order): Providence, Marquette, Seton Hall, Xavier, Saint Johns, Butler, UCONN – Until proven otherwise, I don’t think there is much separating these teams or the justification to move them up or down a tier.

Tier 3: DePaul and Georgetown – I almost dropped Georgetown into its own bottom tier and grouped DePaul with Saint Johns and Butler in Tier 3 of its own, but this is how I see things standing for now.

A general theme for this year is that I think the Big East is top heavy, but, for the most part, relatively down as a whole. The Big East lost a ton of star power last year (Howard, Powell, Bey), and it will take some time for the new faces to emerge on the scene.

Without further ado…

1. Villanova – No surprise here. My sleeper for breakout player is Jermaine Samuels. It is just a matter of time before it all comes together for him. This team has a chance to be special, even with the loss of Bey.

The Crier’s Commentary: Wasn’t Jermaine Samuels your breakout player last year? No qualms with Nova at one for obvious reasons.

2. Creighton – McDermott will have another loaded offense with likely BE POY preseason candidate Zegarowski running the show. Losing Alexander certainly hurts, but they were a year early last year. It should be their year this year.

The Crier: We should be concerned about BOC’s affinity for the Jays. Ever since they survived the David Duke Jr 36 piece, he has had a serious crush on them.

3. Providence – A neutral observer would see the multitude of losses from the senior class and expect Providence to take a significant step back. I don’t see that happening. They return 3 starters, and the other two likely starters (Bynum at point, Horchler at the 4) redshirted last year at Providence. They should know the system by now, so I anticipate a strong year for Providence led by David Duke Jr. He may be the most athletic player in the Big East (just ask Marquette).

The Crier: Agree with everything that is said here but I do worry that we are just assuming Bynum and Horchler will be perfect fits in the starting 5.

4. Seton Hall – Losing Powell was always going to hurt, but Romaro Gill came on in a huge way last year. Seton Hall loses a lot, but the relatively down Big East should allow this team to put it all together without sacrificing a ton of wins. I think Jared Rhoden has a breakout year.

The Crier: “the relatively down Big East”??? Just cause Georgetown, Butler and Marquette will suck doesn’t mean the conference is down.

5. Xavier – Love the trio of Scruggs, Tandy, and Freemantle. This team can go in many different directions, and I’m not feeling as confident about this pick as I am others. I can easily see them finishing as high as 4th, but as low as 9th.

The Crier: Agree with Xavier being a mystery team because of their youth. After Scruggs horrid season last year I felt no need to mention him and my write up.

6. UCONN – If you look at talent alone, you can easily see why media members are putting the Huskies in the 3-5 range. I can understand that logic, but I ultimately think acclimating back to the Big East will have a lasting impact on this team. The grind of the Big East is very real. On top of that, they are incredibly young, and their Big East breakout season may not be until 2021-2022. With all that said, I doubt UCONN fans care where they finish. They should just be happy that the Big East allowed them to come back.

The Crier: BOC loves to call me a UConn “fan” because I wanted them back in the Big East, so naturally he’d rank them lower than I did to try to prove a point. 1000% agree about the grind of the Big East, the Tulanes, ECUs and USFs of the world don’t exist in this conference.

7. Marquette – This team brought in a strong recruiting class, but needs to significantly rebuild after the losses of Sachar, Howard, Bailey, and (still) Hauser brothers. There may be the argument made that this team may be a better overall team this year than last because they aren’t catering to Howard as the only option in the offense. Hopefully, Woj can get the ball moving more effectively on offense.

The Crier: As a Markus Howard hater I should drink the Kool-Aid on them potentially being a better team without the consensus 1st team All-American. It is a ton of points to make up though…

8. Butler – This is another really young team that needs a year to get back on track. The losses of Baldwin and McDermott hurt, and I was shocked to see Jordan Butler declare early.

The Crier: Nothing to argue with here, when your best player is just known for his on-ball defense and sound b-ball IQ you’re going to have a bad time.

9. St. John’s – Anderson had this team playing really well towards the end of the season, and I hope that carries over to this season. St. John’s being good is good for college basketball and the Big East. Dunn was one of my favorite players to watch on this team, and I think the loss of Figueroa may actually be a net positive.

The Crier: All I am reading from BOC is positive things about Mike Anderson’s Red Storm yet he has them at 9th?!?? How rude!

10. DePaul – How far can Charlie Moore carry this team? Another year of being at the bottom of the Big East certainly awaits them. They have two top 100 recruits committed so we’ll see if they stick after another presumably poor year.

The Crier: Think everyone and their mother is in agreement that DePaul will find it’s way into the Big East basement.

11. Georgetown – Hoya fans, please turn away as I list out what the starting line-up should be for the Hoyas next year: McClung (Texas Tech), Akinjo (Arizona), Josh LeBlanc (LSU), Pickett (still with GTown), Omar Yurtseven (Pros). That team this upcoming year would be a preseason top 15 team!!! Seeing all these high quality players leave the program is mystifying, and I feel for Ewing. This may be his last year at the helm for Georgetown, unfortunately.

The Crier: Jeez BOC why do you got to put the Hoya students in a body bag?

The Crier’s Power Rankings:

My belief in there being 3 tiers in the Big East is further validated when seeing Mike list the same teams in Tier 1 (Nova and Creighton), Tiers 2 (we had these teams in different order, but nevertheless had the same teams in the 3-9 slots), and Tier 3 (DePaul and Georgetown).

I’ve provided the Crier’s rankings with general commentary below each team’s spot in the power rankings.

1. Nova– “Despite the loss of Saddiq Bey, the Wildcats are still loaded. Gillespie and Moore make a dynamic backcourt of shooting and playmaking. Robinson-Earl is probably the best big in the conference. Remove Bey and insert 2019 McDonalds All-American Bryan Antoine.”

BOC Commentary: I think the Tulane transfer actually slides into the Bey starting spot, but we’ll see. Regardless, Mike is spot on that this squad is loaded and should be nationally a Preseason Top 3 program.

2. Creighton– “Creighton had a real opportunity at a potential 1 seed in NCAA Tournament then Ty-Shon Alexander decided to remain in the NBA Draft. The loss of Alexander hurts Ballock the most, as he isn’t as great at creating his own shot off the dribble.”

BOC: The Crier was notoriously less bullish on Creighton last year than I was, and it seems to have carried over to this year. Even with the loss of Alexander, I believe this team is, at worst, a Top 15 nationally ranked team.

3. Providence– “One could argue the Friars have the best starting 5 in the conference. David Duke Jr has superstar written all over him. Depth remains an issue, especially if Brycen Goodine doesn’t receive NCAA waiver. Could Jimmy Nichols finally breakout?”

BOC: Mike sent this over to me at 12:30AM last night, so I can only presume his comment around Providence having the potential best starting five in conference is due to excessive drinking. Even the most ardent of Providence fans wouldn’t make that claim with Nova in conference.

4. Seton Hall– “Getting Bryce Aiken from Harvard is huge for Hall to fill the void of Myles Powell. Jared Rhoden showed flashes of being a consistent Big East performer last season. Mamu’s NBA Draft decision will play a vital role in Hall’s outlook. Even with him returning, the frontcourt appears thin. Can Myles Cale have a bounce back year?”

BOC: No comment here. Willard continues to make Seton Hall a program.

5. UConn– “To expect a mediocre UConn team in a mediocre AAC to just jump into the Big East and find instant success is a tall ask. James Bouknight will be one of the better guards in the conference but POY? The health of Akok Akok will be critical, coming back from a torn Achilles isn’t ideal in basketball.”

BOC: Agree. I listened to a podcast a week ago that had two separate folks mention Bouknight as a potential leader in the clubhouse for BE POY. Really? Let’s pump the brakes on the UCONN love fest and see them acclimate to a full season back in the Big East. It isn’t like they set the world on fire in the AAC…

6. Xavier– “The X-Men are really young and that doesn’t always fare well in the Big East but the Musketeers have talent. I’m a big KyKy Tandy guy and expect him to have a breakout year. Zach Freemantle will be a thorn in the side of Big East opposition for years to come.”

BOC: Huge fan of KyKy Tandy, both for his fantastic name and basketball ability.

7. St Johns– “I BELIEVE IN MIKE ANDERSON! Feel as though he is building something with his run n gun style in the Big Apple. A lot of people are talking about Greg Williams being a breakout candidate but why not Marcellus Earlington? He was really having a coming out party in the Johnnies’ game and a half in the Big East Tournament.”

BOC: This is why I love The Crier. I come here expecting to read a run of the mill Power Rankings and find myself a reference to Marcellus Earlington. Never change, Mike.

8. Marquette– “Ohio St transfer DJ Carlton receiving his NCAA waiver might have prevented me from picking the Golden Eagles last. Koby McEwan showed promise late in the season but where is the offense going to come from on a team over reliant on Markus Howard?”

BOC: It’s going to be hilarious seeing the Hauser brothers light it up at Virginia and Michigan State. 2019-2020 will always be the “what if” for Marquette fans with a starting line-up of Howard, Hausers, Sachar Anim, and Theo John.

9. Butler– “Losing Kamar Baldwin and Sean McDermott to graduation was killer for the Bulldogs and I’m not sure they’ve brought in the pieces to replace that production. Butler shocked many preseason prognosticators last season, can LaVall Jordan do it again?”

BOC: Young team here. We’ll see if Aaron Thompson can steady the ship.

10. Georgetown– “There isn’t much in the cupboard in our nation’s capital with Omer Yvertsen’s decision to remain in the draft and Mac McClung’s surprising transfer. Remember when Georgetown faced suspensions, transfers and injuries last season Patrick Ewing kept them competitive.”

BOC: Great point from Crier on how hard this team played last year for Ewing, even when they were riddled by injury. Ewing is good for the Big East, and I’d love to see him have success, but it doesn’t appear to be happening this year.

11. DePaul– “Oh were the days of 2019 when we saw #RankDePaul trending on twitter. DePaul’s Big East track record gives me zero faith they can get out of the cellar. Paul Reed leaving does nothing to help that.”

BOC: New AD in place at DePaul. That seat has to be warm for Leitao.

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