Over the next few days, we will be previewing the other nine Big East schools for the 2017-18 season. We start with a look at the Providence Friars, Marquette Golden Eagles, and the Georgetown Hoyas
Head Coach: Ed Cooley
Previous Season Record: 20-13, 10-8 Big East -- Lost to USC in the First Four
Key Players: #24 Kyron Cartwright (5-11, 185) Sr., G; #21 Jalen Lindsey (6-7, 227) Sr., G; #5 Rodney Bullock (6-8, 225) Sr., F
Key Departures: Ryan Fazekas, I guess?
Outlook: Providence will again be led by Kyron Cartwright, Jalen Lindsey, and Rodney Bullock, who, along with Emmitt Holt, make up four senior starters for the Friars. The Friars have extensive experience and return nearly ever meaningful piece of the 2016-2017 team, which was unfortunately bounced early by USC in the NCAA tournament.
Point guard Kyron Cartwright is poised for a big senior season. Last year, he averaged 6.7 apg, best for 6th in the country, en route to being named to second team All-Big East. Rodney Bullock and Emmitt Holt, last year's top scorers, are back as well. All in all, the Friars are going to be tough out and will realistically compete with Seton Hall and Xavier to unseat Villanova.
Head Coach: Steve Wojciechowski
Previous Season Record: 19-12, 10-8 Big East -- Lost to South Carolina in First Round of NCAA Tournament
Key Players: #0 Markus Howard (5-11, 175) So., G; #25 Haanif Cheatham (6-5, 195) Jr., G; #30 Andrew Rowsey (5-11, 180) RS Sr., G
Key Departures: Katin Reinhardt, Jajuan Johnson, Luke Fischer
Outlook: Any discussion about Marquette's upcoming season starts with Big East All-Freshman point guard Markus Howard. Last year, Howard shot a blistering 55% from deep and helped solidify Marquette as the conference's highest-scoring offense, which averaged over 83 points a game. Last year's team was senior-heavy with the team relying heavily on Katin Reinhardt, Jajuan Johnson, and Luke Fischer, all of whom are now gone. In their place, Marquette brings in several recruits who should make an immediate impact, specifically forward Theo John.
Marquette also adds Harry Froling, a 6-11 sophomore transfer from SMU, who is slated to become eligible after the fall semester. Froling averaged 4.3 points and 3.2 rebounds in 14.6 minutes per game for SMU. Finally, Marquette will bring back Andrew Rowsey, a redshirt senior who shot over 44% from deep last year. The Golden Eagles are expected to rely heavily on the outside shot as their new big men get comfortable.
As with any team losing a number of upperclassmen, there will undoubtedly be some growing pains but, based on early pre-season predictions, Marquette is expected to be in the NCAA tournament discussion come March.
Head Coach: Patrick Ewing (1st season)
Previous Season Record: 14-18, 5-13 Big East -- No postseason appearances, descended into madness, fired coach.
Key Players: #15 Jessie Govan (6-10, 270) Jr., C; #24 Marcus Derrickson (6-7, 250) Jr., F; #15 Jagan Mosely (6-3, 205) So., G
Key Departures: Rodney Pryor, L.J. Peak, Bradley Hayes
Outlook: Where do we begin with our friends down south? The Hoyas ended last season with their second consecutive losing season, something that had not happened since the 1970's. The year was highlighted by some brutal upsets, notably one at the hands of Arkansas State, and some head-scratching wins, notably against #13 Oregon. However, after losing 8 of their last 9 games, the Hoyas moved on from John Thompson III and hired Patrick Ewing to take the reins.
While we occasionally entertained ourselves last year by moseying over to CasualHoya to witness the Lord-of-the-Flies-esque descent into madness firsthand, the majority of Villanova fans are aware that the Big East needs Georgetown to return to even a fraction of its former glory. That will not happen this year. In August, the Hoyas withdrew from Phil Knight's PK80 tournament, suggesting that Ewing had elected to punt this year as a rebuilding year. Shortly thereafter, Georgetown was widely mocked when it released its non-conference schedule, which boasted 6 teams with a sub-300 RPI. The Hoyas were picked to finish 9th in the Big East, ahead of only DePaul, which may not even be a guarantee at this point. In sum, Georgetown does not have a shot in hell this year and, even if they did, they do not have the schedule to even make it possible.
With the departure of LJ Peak and Rodney Pryor, the primary scoring options last year, the Hoyas will rely almost exclusively on big man Jessie Govan to create scoring opportunities. However, the X factor for this team is arguably sophomore point guard Jagan Mosely. Mosely had a rough year last season averaging just 4.2 points a game while shooting 24% (?!) from deep. Mosely is going to get a lot of run because there is literally no one else on this team so, if he can establish some consistent play, the Hoyas might be able to surpass expectations and win 3 conference games.