The preseason poll from our staff writers is in!
1. Villanova (5)
3. St. John’s
9. Seton Hall
Villanova received all 5 votes to finish first in the league, while there was some disagreement elsewhere.
Four out of five writers had DePaul finishing last, as one had Butler slipping to 10th with Coach Miller on his leave of absence.
Compared to the Coaches Poll, the biggest rise was Creighton (Up 4 Spots!), while the biggest fall was Seton Hall (Down 3 Spots!).
Creighton loses National Player of the Year Doug McDermott and three other starters, but there are some familiar faces coming back. Austin Chatman returns after averaging 8.1 points and 4.4 assists last season. I expect Creighton to take advantage of their home court at the CenturyLink and finish at or above .500 in Big East play.
Seton Hall loses Fuquan Edwin, Gene Teague, Brian Oliver, and Patrik Auda from a team that won six games in the Big East. The coaches are expecting an improvement in record, however, with Kevin Willard’s best recruiting class in his time as head coach. Isaiah Whitehead is getting buzz as a potential one-and-done candidate, and Angel Delgado is another freshman likely to end up in the Pirates’ starting lineup. With Sterling Gibbs, Jaren Sina, and Brandon Mobley back, the team should have a shot to be better – but our staff remains skeptical, picking them to finish ninth.
Player of the Year:
JayVaughn Pinkston is the Big East & Beyond Preseason Player of the Year.
JayVaughn Pinkston (2)
It is very early for this kind of consideration, but it will be interesting to see how Darrun Hilliard and JayVaughn Pinkston split time-and-score duties down the stretch in games. Will they split the votes and leave the award for someone else?
It’s likely this won’t be as easy to hand out as last year when there was never a doubt Doug McDermott would win. Only time will tell who the real candidates are – but for now, our staff likes Villanova’s JayVaughn Pinkston.