Big East Conference Basketball Preview: Marquette Looms Team to Beat

UConn, Creighton Candidates to Win Big East Basketball Tournament

The Big East Conference will once again be among the nation’s best. With Marquette, UConn and Creighton all in the AP’s preseason top 25, the conference is pretty loaded. That doesn’t even include the likes of Villanova, St. John’s or Xavier. Whichever team walks away with the Big East Basketball Tournament championship will have definitely earned it.

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There’s so many talented college basketball teams in the conference, whoever wins the regular season title is far from a sure thing to win the Big East Basketball Tournament. The tournament usually goes to the team that gets hot at the right time. And there is no shortage of teams who can do exactly that.

While there will be opportunities to bet on the Big East Basketball Tournament in the future, you can wager on which team wins the regular season title now. We’ll look at the logical contenders and their odds in this article.

The Favorites

Golden Eagles logo Marquette Warriors (+230)

Marquette is the favorite in the NCAAB predictions to walk away with the Big East regular season title. It’s hard to fault those who like the Warriors. Marquette is led by returning point guard Tyler Kolek, last season’s Big East player of the year. Kolek can score, dish out assists and grab a few rebounds.

But he’s the one who makes the Warriors go. He’ll have plenty of help in the backcourt from Stevie Mitchell and Kam Jones. Forward Oso Ighodaro had a solid season last year, scoring 11.4 points on 66% shooting and could improve. Marquette is going to be a tough team to play this season.

Huskies logo UConn Huskies (+280)

The team given the best chance to get past Marquette is UConn and the Huskies are a solid team. UConn snagged Cam Spencer from Rutgers and he has a chance to step in right away and contribute. When healthy, Donovan Clingan is a solid center, who can help take pressure off the guards.

Tristen Newton is back after not getting any bites after a good showing at the G-League Elite Camp. And don’t forget prized freshman Stephon Castle. The Huskies will have a target on their back after winning the March Madness brackets last year. But UConn has the pieces in place to make another run at the NCAA championship.

Bluejays logo Creighton Blue Jays (+300)

The Blue Jays aren’t too terribly far behind the top two teams and that’s reflected in the odds. But the Blue Jays could be a better tournament team than regular season team. Creighton’s starting five is probably as good as any in the conference. But there’s a bit of a drop-off after that and the Blue Jays may lack the depth to make a run for the regular season crown.

Ryan Kalkbrenner had a stellar junior season and he’ll be joined by Trey Alexander and Baylor Scheierman. Steven Ashworth arrives from Utah State and plenty is expected from him after scoring 16.2 points per game with 4.5 assists last year. If he’s as good as advertised for the Blue Jays, Creighton will be a team to be reckoned with.

The Outsiders

Wildcats logo Villanova Wildcats (+550)

The Wildcats can be counted on each year to put out a solid team and this year will be no exception. But there are several teams that look stronger than Villanova and the Wildcats have a tough task at hand. Villanova almost certainly will be better than last year’s 17-17 team.

The return of Eric Dixon and Justin Moore almost guarantee that. Then there’s Tyler Burton, who averaged 19 points at Richmond last season and TJ Bamba, who scored 15.8 points for Washington State. Maryland transfer Hakim Hart scored 11.4 points for the Terrapins last season, so there are some scorers on the Wildcats.

Red Storm logo St. John’s Red Storm (+1400)

The Red Storm are going to have plenty of new faces on the team this year. They’ll also have a new head coach in Rick Pitino, who has been doing his best Deon Sanders impersonation by overhauling the roster. Joel Soriano returns after scoring 15.2 points per game and grabbing 11.9 rebounds.

But that’s about it. The Red Storm figure to get plenty of minutes from NCAAB players transferring in, including Jordan Dingle, who scored 23.4 points per game at Penn and RJ Luis, from UMass. If the team can come together in a hurry, they’ll be a decent basketball team. But winning the Big East Conference regular season title is probably asking too much.

The Longshots

Friars logo Providence Friars (+2000)

Kim English arrives from George Mason as the team’s new head coach and he didn’t come empty-handed. Forward Josh Oduro followed English to the Friars and he averaged 15.6 points and 7.9 rebounds for George Mason last season.

Devin Carter is back for another NCAAB season with Providence after scoring 13.0 points per game last year. Garwey Dual is a highly-regarded freshman who could have an impact right away. The Friars could be a pretty good team when everything is said and done. But being good usually isn’t going to cut it in the Big East Conference.

Musketeers logo Xavier Musketeers (+2500)

The Xavier Musketeers will be a pretty decent offensive team. It’s the defense that’s a bit of a concern. A couple of transfers will need to have big seasons for Xavier in the form of Dayvion McKnight, who averaged 16.5 points for Western Kentucky, and Quincy Olivari, who scored 18.7 points at Rice. The Musketeers lost a lot of talent from last season and it will take returning head coach Sean Miller a bit of time to get Xavier back among the conference’s contenders.

Who to Bet On?

It’s not going to be easy for anybody to finish in front of Marquette. But at odds of +230, the Warriors don’t really offer a whole lot in the way of value. It’s tough to make the Warriors one of your preseason NCAAB picks when they’re going off as the favorite.

The UConn Huskies offer a little better value at +280. The Huskies have just as good of a chance at winning the conference regular season title and are going off at better odds. Play UConn at +280 to win the Big East regular season title.

For NCAAB betting news, NCAA basketball odds, and more, visit Point Spreads Sports Magazine.

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