At the start of each of Xavier's Big East seasons thus far, broadcaster Jaden Daly of Daly Dose of Hoops has invited us to participate in a Big East Roundtable. You can find our answers, as well as those of some of our esteemed colleagues, here. Without spoiling the rest of the fun, here's a slightly more in depth look at each answer we gave.
1) Who is the likely Big East champion, and why?
Brad D: It has to be Villanova, right? They lost James Bell, but JayVaughn Pinkston returns and it's not as if they didn't recruit anyone. Until someone consistently beats them, they stay at the top.
This was one of those questions it was easy to answer in just a couple of sentences. Villanova is a step above everyone else in the conference right now. As someone who thinks Xavier's infusion of young talent is going to serve them well, it pains me to say that, but it's true. There is no reason to think that the Wildcats won't win the Big East this year.
2) In your opinion, who are the league's most overrated and underrated teams?
BD: Most overrated team- St. John's. Until they learn to shoot the ball, they'll keeping having the 2013-14 season over and over.
Most underrated team- Is Seton Hall still considered underrated? If so, I'll go with them.
St. John's garnered a lot of hype last year and then crashed and burned when everyone realized they were good at most facets of the game not actually involving scoring points. It's hard to win games when you can't get the ball in the basket, and Steve Lavin's boys were content to jack 17 footers and hope for the best most of the year. This year, they get a lot more hype based on their still considerable athletic ability but show no real development in shooting.
Seton Hall came very close to ruining Xavier's season last year and should only get better. They are a program on the rebound, finally.
3) Which game do you feel is an early contender for the "game of the year" in the Big East?
BD: Villanova at Georgetown on the 19th of January.
As Xavier fans, a lot of the answers that other people gave to this question will excite you. That said, if Villanova can go to Georgetown and win early in the year it will send a very strong message. The Hoyas are probably the second best team in the conference (Xavier is third, for my money) and if 'Nova beats them on their home floor it will be quite the psychological blow.
4) How many NCAA Tournament bids do you see the Big East receiving?
BD: Four: Villanova, Georgetown, Xavier, Seton Hall. I think St. John's could sneak as well.
The reality of the current Big East is that this isn't going to be a seven or eight bid conference. There is one elite team, a handful of very good ones, and then some teams that could sneak in if all breaks right....then DePaul. What that adds up to is a league that should send a solid compliment of teams, but not a jaw dropping amount.
5) Award predictions for Big East Player, Rookie, and Coach of the Year:
BD: Player of the Year: JayVaughn Pinkston- Villanova. This will be much closer than last year.
Rookie of the Year: Trevon Bluiett- Xavier
Coach of the Year: Buzz Williams. He's a genius, right? Oh, wait... Steve Lavin if the Red Storm go dancing, Chris Mack if Xavier is higher than a six seed, Jay Wright in all other contingencies.
In all of the surveys we've been asked to take part in this year, I've listed Bluiett as the frontrunner for Rookie of the Year in the Big East. Isaiah Whitehead from Seton Hall is big part of why they will be better and is also a McDonald's All-American, but I genuinely think that Bluiett is going to blow up this year.
After this question there is also a word association, but please click through to Daly Dose to see that as it contains the obligatory shot at Butler. Faced with these same questions, how would you answer? Do you think Bluiett can be the Rookie of the Year in the Big East?