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The Big East is off to a slow start

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Despite all the hype of a resurgent season the Big East is still coming up short, especially the five original schools.

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Happy Tuesday Nova Nation! Villanova is in the middle of its Big 5 gauntlet, coming off a win over La Salle and preparing for tomorrow’s game against Penn. But late last night our attention was turned back to the Big East and possibly Villanova’s greatest rival, Georgetown. I won’t get into the particulars of what has happened, there’s plenty of reading material on that below. But for basketball purposes the Hoyas are losing two of their top five scorers.

The reasons for their departures are more than disappointing, and cast a bad light on the school. I’m not informed enough to talk about those issues, but even though I’m going to stick to the basketball repercussions of this news I’d like to acknowledge that basketball is far from the the most important issue at hand here. That said, let’s move onto what this means for the Big East.

This was supposed to be the year that Georgetown returned to the top half of a conference it helped build. There was a time when the Hoyas were the standard bearer not just for the Big East, but for all of college basketball. Ewing was supposed to set them back on that path, and it looked like that’s where they were heading. But this setback will cost them, both immediately and long term. And it has me asking, what’s up with the old Big East teams?

Villanova has clearly been head and shoulders above the competition for some time, but that competition has been catching up. This season Seton Hall was actually picked to surpass them, and so far they’ve looked capable of doing just that a month into the season. But the only other Big East schools mentioning at this point have are all newer members. Xavier, Butler, Marquette, Creighton, heck even undefeated DePaul, they’re arguably having better seasons collectively than the original Big East schools.

Providence was looked at as a possible dark horse to win the league, but they and Georgetown are just one game over .500 despite playing not that great teams. St. John’s has a decent record, but they haven’t beaten anyone currently ranked in the Top Half of KenPom.com rankings. Even Seton Hall and Villanova, who have played well to start the season, have come up short in their games against top competition.

This was supposed to be a resurgent season for the Big East, and maybe it still will be. But the first step of that is proving the level of your teams in the non-conference, and then playing competively in January and February. The original members of the Big East just haven’t done that so far, and after a month of lackluster play it’s very possible that we’ll be seeing the effects of this slow start when teams are seeded in March.

In other “news”, it’s not a great day to be a Hoya, Collin Gillespie’s importance to Villanova’s success, and Justin Moore wins Big East Rookie of the Week. Enjoy!

Villanova Men’s Basketball

Moore Named BIG EAST Freshman of the Week | Villanova University Athletics
The Wildcats' Justin Moore was selected as BIG EAST Freshman of the Week on Monday.

Cooney: Gillspie key to connecting 'Nova's past with present | City of BasketballLove
For all of the talent and potential that Villanova has, the Wildcats will go as far as Collin Gillespie leads them.

College basketball's biggest underachievers and overachievers in opening month | USA Today
The first month of the college football season is in the books. Duke, Michigan, Kentucky and Virginia are were some of the highs and lows so far.

Georgetown

Georgetown announces James Akinjo and Josh LeBlanc are leaving the Hoyas | NBC Sports Washington
Two key sophomores are leaving the Hoyas in a year that had many expecting the Hoyas to return to the NCAA Tournament.

James Akinjo, Josh LeBlanc No Longer Playing for Georgetown | Casual Hoya
Press release from GUHOYAS.com

Georgetown players face complaints of burglary, assault, harassment | ESPN
Georgetown players Josh LeBlanc and Galen Alexander received restraining orders resulting from accusations of harassment and burglary, while Myron Gardner was accused of sexual harassment and assault.

Georgetown PG James Akinjo, SF Josh LeBlanc to transfer; LeBlanc faces restraining order requests | CBSSports.com
Two other Georgetown players were named in the court documents; Akinjo was not