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Villanova is still the class of the Big East (and other things I learned from SI)

Analyzing numbers that will probably turn out to be inaccurate.

These guys are still the king until someone knocks them off.
These guys are still the king until someone knocks them off.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Basically the most interesting thing I have read all week is Sport's Illustrated's projection of the Big East. It's really worth your time to click through if you haven't seen it already. Luke Winn and someone called Dan Hanner have created a system that tries to divine the outcomes of the college basketball season beforehand. Obviously there's a good margin for error involved, but it's the preseason and every little nugget is fun to dig into.

I'll be back later this morning (Lord willing) to take a deeper dive on Xavier's numbers, but here's a little look at what I got out of the rest of the schools:

  • Villanova's still the best, DePaul is still the worst. I agree with this; until someone proves a challenger for their respective crowns, these teams will bookend the conference.
  • St. John's is in for a long year. Everyone in the league has at least three guys projected for triple-digit efficiency except for the Red Storm. They have one. They have a head coach with zero experience and a roster that lost 11 dudes from last year. That 5-13 projected record looks generous.
  • Kris Dunn could be huge... because he needs to be. That 16.9/5.7/6.6 line is the stuff All-American nods are made of, but the supporting cast behind him and Ben Bentil is dreadfully thin. He's going to have to do a lot of winning games by himself.
  • Butler is going to be a problem. They have two power forwards who can score away from the bucket, and Dee Davis isn't around to hound Kellen Dunham to distraction. The Bulldogs were tougher than Xavier in two of their three matchups last year; Xavier is going to have to reverse that trend to win this year.
  • I still wish we had landed DSR. He projects for 17.8/4.5/3.1, an ORtg of 121.3, and 24% usage rate. Those are some really impressive numbers. Kris Dunn is going to get a lot of press, but Smith-Rivera gets my vote for the best player in the conference.
We're less than a month from the start of the regular season and two and a half months from the start of conference play. What jumps out at you about the preseason projections?