City Sports Report

On the rise again, beware of the Big East

Seton Hall

The success of the Big East no longer can be ignored at the start of the college basketball season.

None of it’s four NCAA tournament teams got past the round of 32 last season. Now in it’s second season, the new Big East is on pace to exceed last year’s disappointing finish, with more than four teams playing well. That’s impressive for a conference that came into the new season with an array of question marks.

Villanova, unbeaten and ranked 7th nationally, continue to lead the way for the Big East as expected. The Wildcats have already picked off ranked teams VCU and Michigan. However, it’s the unexpected from the conference that’s beginning to captivate the nation.

Creighton, despite losing national player of the year Doug McDermott, is off to a 7-2 start. Butler, currently ranked 15th nationally, has a notable win over North Carolina. They’ve done well under interim head coach Chris Holtmann. St. John’s recently returned to the national rankings, landing at No. 24 in the Associated Press Top 25. The Red Storm pocketed quality wins against Minnesota in the semi-finals of the NIT Season Tip-Off and most notably Syracuse at the Carrier Dome.

It’s the play of Seton Hall that’s beginning to garner more national attention for the Big East. I watched the 7-0 Pirates dismantle Rutgers in the Garden State Hardwood Classic. There’s a sense of intrigue in the air with Seton Hall, they’re a young team beginning to grow confidence by the week. Freshman guard Isaiah Whitehead looks very much like the Rookie of the Year the conference is predicting him to be. Seton Hall’s knocking on the door of the AP Top 25, and perhaps something great.

With conference play less than a month away, the Big East is shaping up to be a league to watch this season. They’re on the rise again.

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