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2022-2023 Big East College Basketball Preview

The Big East might be the only Power Conference without football nowadays, but they are every bit a power conference in basketball. With Jay Wright’s retirement, there is a large void at the top that for the first time in years is wide open. Wright is out, but Thad Matta and Sean Miller are in to help bolster the Big East coaching ranks. We have Millers Xavier team as the conference favorite, but with UConn and Creighton close on their heels.

Here are our national ranks so you can see the tiers we have each of these teams on.

1-363 ranking

Big East Basketball Standings

National Rank
20XavierBig East
23UConnBig East
25CreightonBig East
39VillanovaBig East
40ProvidenceBig East
52ButlerBig East
53St John?sBig East
67Seton HallBig East
89GeorgetownBig East
106DePaulBig East
118MarquetteBig East


Instead of an All-Conference team, I?ve listed the Top Returning Players by Peak Adjusted Efficiency for SOS. Most will likely come from this list anyway, but the awards are more team driven. I?m more interested in who is doing the most when they are on the court. The players can?t control the team that was put around them. If they are putting up tangible numbers at top efficiency per possession on bad teams, that is more impressive to me. It?s coming under more pressure and game planning for them, with less viable options around them to take the pressure off. This list encompasses the players that have been the best on a D1 court going into the season.

ADJ effRank
6Ryan KalkbrennerCreighton
8Jack NungeXavier
12Adama SanogoUConn
33Qudus WahabGeorgetown
39Eric DixonVillanova
64Manny BatesButler
67David JonesSt John’s
69Posh AlexanderSt John’s
93Colby JonesXavier
104Clifton MooreProvidence
116Tristen NewtonUConn
128Jared BynumProvidence
135Souley BoumXavier
137Andre CurbeloSt John’s
139Justin Moore*Villanova
162Baylor ScheiermanCreighton
174Zach FreemantleXavier
186Umoja GibsonDePaul

(Last year?s NET, Seed, and Tournament Finish are on the top header line for reference. Deep bench players are not listed, only those in the projected rotation. I also included player ADJ eff rankings. ADJ eff Rankings and qualifying explanation here.)

1. Xavier

Xavier37 NETNITPERChamp
Zach Freemantle6-9, 22510.4ppg, 5.8rpg16.9Sr
Jack Nunge6-11, 24513.4ppg, 7.4rpg28.4Sr
Colby Jones6-5, 19511.6ppg, 7.3rpg19.5Jr
Adam Kunkel6-4, 1768.8ppg, 1.8apg13Gr
Souley Boum6-3, 16319.8ppg, 4.5rpg (@UTEP)22.7Sr
Kam Craft6-4, 1854*Fr
Jerome Hunter6-7, 2154.1ppg, 2.9rpg8.2Sr
Desmond Claude6-5, 1904*Fr
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
8Jack Nunge
93Colby Jones
135Souley Boum
174Zach Freemantle

This team was an NCAA caliber at the large team by the NET ranking even before winning the NIT. Now they add Sean Miller who is a better coach than Steele, so the potential is here. Souley Boum just needs to be more of a facilitator with this group. That?s the only question it seems is the floor general and who can step into that role and get Nunge the ball.

There are no proven facilitators on the roster, but the hope seems to be with Boum looking to score less, he can concentrate on that aspect more with the talent around him here. Maybe, 2.9apg is his career high, and that was in 37 minutes a game. That?s a little weak when you are touching the ball that much to depend on. Even with the coaching upgrade and what they return, they could miss that game manager-type point guard that Odom provided last year.

2. UConn

UConn18 NET5 seedPER1R
Adama Sanogo6-9, 24014.8ppg, 8.8rpg24.5Jr
Andre Jackson6-6, 2106.8ppg, 6.8rpg14.4Jr
Nahiem Alleyne6-4, 1959.6ppg, 2.8rpg (@Virginia Tech)11.2Sr
Jordan Hawkins6-5, 1855.8ppg, 2.0rpg12.5So
Tristen Newton6-5, 20017.7ppg, 5.0apg (@ECU)20.9Jr
Donovan Clingan4*Fr
Hassan Diarra6-2, 1976.2ppg, 1.4apg(@Texas A&M)13.4Jr
Alex Karaban4*Fr
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
12Adama Sanogo
116Tristen Newton
298Andre Jackson

I?m not the biggest believer in Danny Hurley but this roster is legit. Sanogo is a big-time impactful player and adding Alleyne and Newton helps fill it out. Newton especially should be helpful in the clutch. He led many late heroics and multiple clutch game-winners while at ECU. With the seamless leap Jayden Gardner made from ECU to UVA I think moving up bodes well for Newton as well.

Newton and UConn will be in better winning situations than ECU was, and he will be a great tool for Hurley to put the ball in his hands late in the game to ice it or to try to save the close ones that are getting away. Newton is elite at getting to the free throw line and making 88% of them.

Newton?s turnovers were high last season, but so was the pressure without much else around him. As a freshman when he wasn?t asked to be the biggest offensive engine, he was very solid at protecting the ball. With Sanogo they can form a nice one-to-punch that plays off of each other. While Alleyne doesn?t do a lot of things on a basketball court but he is a proven shooter. He will have to be guarded and should help Sanogo and Newton have the space they need to work.

3. Creighton

Creighton51 NET9 seedPER2R
Ryan Kalkbrenner7-0, 23513.1ppg, 7.7rpg29Jr
Arthur Kaluma6-7, 22010.4ppg, 5.4rpg12.8So
Baylor Scheierman6-6, 18016.2ppg, 7.8rpg (@SD St)25.2Jr
Trey Alexander6-4, 1707.4ppg, 3.7rpg11.5So
Ryan Nembhard6-0, 16711.3ppg, 4.4apg11.1So
Shareef Mitchell6-0, 1703.5ppg, 1.3apg6.3Sr
Francisco Farabello6-4, 1834.7ppg, 2.4rpg (@TCU)11.8Jr
Jasen Green6-8, 2204*Fr
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
6Ryan Kalkbrenner
162Baylor Scheierman

It?s a nice team, but I don?t think it?s a top 5 team like some places have picked. Even if Baylor Scheierman can play SF effectively on defense and replace some of what Ryan Hawkins was giving, this was still a 50th ranked type team last year. This seems to be the more correct range for a team with some good continuity and a similar build to last year?s 50th type and 2nd round team.

Watching some of the videos on Scheierman there is no doubt he?s a great shooter and talented offensive player and passer. When he has the ball in his hands, he can dictate a lot. I do question how he is going to stay in front of Big East athletes on defense and if they can hide him at PF the way South Dakota State did. Adding up the rotations it appears he played about 20 of his 33 minutes a game at PF or at least as the 2nd biggest player. He?s a rugged rebounder for what he is, but I?m not sure he can hold up as well at this level there either as more of a tweener on defense. At least not to the level I?m a top 5 believer.

4. Villanova

Villanova6 NET2 seedF4
Eric Dixon6-8, 2609.1ppg, 6.4rpg21.9Sr
Cameron Whitmore6-7, 2205*Fr
Brandon Slater6-6, 2118.3ppg, 3.7rpg15,1Gr
Caleb Daniels6-4, 21010.2ppg,3.8rpg15.3Sr
Mark Armstrong6-2, 1854*Fr
Chris Arcidiacono6-5, 1961.6ppg, 1.0rpg9.3So
Jordan Longino6-5, 2201.8ppg, 0.8rpg7.3So
Branden Hausen6-4, 1804*Fr
Justin Moore*6-4, 21014.8ppg, 4.8rpg(torn Achiles)18.1Sr
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
39Eric Dixon
139Justin Moore*
242Caleb Daniels
258Brandon Slater

This one isn’t fun, it’s mostly because of injury but also Jay Wright. Most previews seem to gloss over the fact Moore tore his Achilles on April 2nd. Is he really to be depended on starting 8 months from now? I don’t think so.

Neptune showed some positive aspects in a mild turnaround at Fordham and at least kicked off the training wheels, unlike Scheyer. Still, there is a big difference between Jay Wright and Kyle Neptune, even before injuries and attrition.

Dixon, Slater, and Daniels can keep them afloat enough to around bubble level if one of the freshmen can step up. Whitmore seems like the best bet, and they will need him to be a big-time and live up to the top 15 billing unless Moore comes back strong way earlier. I wouldn’t expect that given the severity of his injury if he comes back at all to be the same player at that stage of recovery. There are far too many question marks around this team for me to put them any higher.

5. Providence

Providence24 NET4 seedS16
Clifton Moore6-10, 22012.9ppg, 6.1rpg(@La Salle)21.2Gr
Ed Croswell6-8, 2455.3ppg, 4.7rpg22.9Gr
Devin Carter6-3, 1889.8ppg, 3.8rpg(@S. Carolina)17.7So
Noah Locke6-3, 2039.6ppg,2.3rpg(@Louisville)10.5Sr
Jared Bynum5-10, 18012.2ppg, 4.0apg19.1Sr
Bryce Hopkins6-6, 2202.1ppg, 1.4rpg(@Kentucky)12.1So
Alyn Breed6-3, 1803.2ppg, 1.2rpg6.4Jr
Corey Floyd6-4, 205UConn didn’t playFr
Jayden Pierre6-2, 1654*Fr
Quant’e Berry6-5, 1754*Fr
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
104Clifton Moore
128Jared Bynum

It helps a lot to have a returning senior PG as good as they do in Bynum with so many new parts. It’s going to be an asset to have him directing these new guys. I expect Locke to get his shooting stroke back he had at Florida, and the post projects as strong, just not deep. Carter is young and has room to grow a lot between years 1 and 2. Add another solid post option, and I’d feel much better about the depth with covid and injury always lurking.

6. Butler

Butler117 NET
Manny Bates6-11, 2309.8ppg, 5.9rpg (2021@ NC St)22.8Jr
Simas Lukosius6-6, 2306.8ppg, 3.3rpg11.2So
Ali Ali6-8, 20613.9ppg, 2.5apg(@Akron)15.4Jr
Chuck Harris6-2, 19011.4ppg, 2.7rpg11Jr
Eric Hunter6-4, 1706.2ppg, 2.0apg(@Purdue)11Gr
Jayden Taylor6-4, 1908.2ppg, 2.9rpg11.9So
Jalen Thomas6-10, 2307.9ppg, 6.2rpg(@GSU)16.6Sr
Myles Tate6-0, 1706.7ppg, 2.3apg(2021)9.7So
Conner Turnbull6-10, 2153*Fr
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
64Manny Bates
207Chuck Harris

This roster isn’t the best, but Thad Matta has made progress in a short period. If Bates is healthy and can anchor the defense, there is a path for improvement with better coaching. Harris was also better 2 seasons ago. I would expect him to find that shooting stroke again and at least be above average shooting the ball closer to his career average numbers, which will help. It’s a close tie between Clemson and Butler. I think Clemson has the better roster, but Matta is one of the best coaches in the nation that helps split the difference.

7. St. John’s

Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
67David Jones
69Posh Alexander
137Andre Curbelo
David Jones6-6, 19514.5ppg, 7.4rpg22.3DePaul
Andre Curbelo6-1, 1759.1ppg, 4.2apg (2021)18.1Illinois

St. John’s prospects hinge a lot on which Andre Curbelo they are getting. As a freshman, Curbelo was very solid, not spectacular, but a solid player. Now, I’ve seen some mention him as a potential All-American…

Even if you completely ignore last season and only focus on what you saw as a freshman and expect that version so come back that’s a huge leap IMO. Last year he was terrible, but he was injured so there should be some hope. That said it was a concussion and that’s pretty scary for life, forget basketball. How he played when he returned isn’t a great sign. Hopefully, he’s fully healed but this is a tricky situation just assuming he’s back to 100% or ever will be the same. It’s a brain injury.

Even when healthy, Curbelo has a major hole in his game. He is a career 16% three-point shooter as a 6-1 guard. That’s taking wide open dare you to shoot volume too. I think St. John’s has a lot of individual talent but the fit is horrific, especially between the backcourt of Curbelo and Posh Alexander. Alexander is a great player but he’s another 6 foot complete non shooter. 21.7% from three last year. The fit is why I couldn’t rank St. John’s higher.

David Jones is another really good talent but yet another complete non-shooter on the wing as well as a career 27% three-point shooter. If you just look at the model they are probably a top 30 team, but I think the sum of their parts fits together worse than their talent. Montez Mathis is another wing off the bench that will play a lot of minutes and is also a 26% career three-point shooter. I’m not sure how in modern basketball you can play this many complete non-shooters, especially in the backcourt both of which are this small. They will be one of the more interesting teams I’m going to tune into to see. Maybe they will be so good in transition that it doesn’t matter but count me as skeptical.

8. Seton Hall

200KC Ndefo
202Alexis Yetna
Dre Davis6-5, 2207.5ppg, 3.5rpg13.8Louisville
Al-Amir Dawes6-2, 18011.3ppg, 2.3apg15.1Clemson
Femi Odukale6-5, 18510.8ppg, 3.4apg12.2Pitt

In Shaheen Holloway fresh off the biggest Cinderella run in history, out Kevin Willard to Maryland. Seton Hall will also have to replace its top 2 scorers. Soon to be 24 year old Alexis Yetna returns as does Kadary Richmond. The additions of Dawes, Odukale, Ndefo, and Davis will help out a lot. Holloway did very well in the portal in year one. It’s a solid team I think with a pretty high floor, but I don’t expect them to make much noise in the Big East.

9. Georgetown

Georgetown194 NET
Qudus Wahab6-11, 2377.7ppg,5.6rpg(@Maryland)19.7Sr
Akok Akok6-9, 2153.4ppg, 3.2rpg(@UConn)17.9Sr
Brandon Murray6-5, 21410.0ppg, 3.0rpg(@LSU)12.2So
Jay Heath6-3, 17510.6ppg, 3.3rpg(@Arizona St)13.7Jr
Dante Harris6-0, 17011.9ppg,4.1apg12.7Jr
Amir Spears6-3, 18512.7ppg 3.0apg(@Duquesne)13.3So
Bryson Mozone6-6, 20015.8ppg, 5.7rpg(@USC-Up)18.3Gr
Ryan Mutumbo7-2, 2525.1ppg, 3.0rpg21.7So
Wayne Bristol Jr.6-6, 18512.5ppg, 4.3rpg(@Howard 2020)13.5So
Bradley Ezewiro6-8,2461.6ppg, 0.9rpg14.2So
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
33Qudus Wahab

I think you got to like Ewing?s portal work. Getting Wahab to come back really put it over the top for me. He?s one player that had played better under Ewing in the past before he left and Ewing does seem to at least get something out of his bigs. I do not believe Wahab did anything to discredit his ability at Maryland this past season and I had him ranked higher than most.

Shoot Straighter

Ewing is still the coach, but this level of talent will bring expectations, and that’s a good thing coming off an 0-for in the Big East. I think it’s got to be NCAA or bust this season, or he?s likely fired. He fluked his way to an Auto-bid NCAA team once, I think he can get there at large now, possibly with this level of talent. At least he should get this team into the bubble conversation with the talent. Ultimately the talent is there but I don’t have much faith in the coaching.

10. DePaul

Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
186Umoja Gibson
272Nick Ongenda
Da?Sean Nelson6-8, 19013.8ppg 6.6rpg (JUCO)JUCO
Javan Johnson6-6, 2057.1ppg, 2.2rpg12.7Iowa State
KT Ramey6-4, 19011.8ppg 2.3rpg(JUCO)JUCO
Umoja Gibson6-1, 17613.3ppg, 2.1rpg16.6Oklahoma
Caleb Murphy6-4, 18511.4ppg, 3.4apg11USF

Losing David Jones to transfer was a big blow for this program, especially on the heels of Javon Freeman-Liberty leaving for the NBA. I don’t think Umoja Gibson and Caleb Murphy are going to replace them. Gibson is pretty good but Murphy should probably come off the bench on a good team. If any of the returners are going to make a big jump I think Nick Ongenda (8.7ppg, 4.3rpg 16.6 PER) is the most likely candidate. DePaul needs him to become a force in the paint to crack the top 100 or get out of the basement of the Big East IMO.

11. Marquette

Zach Wrightsil 18.6ppg, 8.7rpg in NAIA
Tyler Kolek 6.7ppg, 5.9apg, 11.2 PER
Oso Ighodaro 5.5ppg, 3.3rpg, 18.1 PER
Kam Jones 7.1ppg, 1.4rpg 14.1 PER
Olivier-Maxence Prosper 6.6ppg, 3.3rpg 13.2 PER

When you are raiding the NAIA for your biggest newcomer it’s probably not the best sign things are going well. I think Zach Wrightsil(18.6ppg, 8.7rpg in NAIA) will be fine and not look out of place at all in Big East, but I don’t see a lot of star power on this team. Tyler Kolek (6.7ppg, 5.9apg, 11.2 PER) can pass but who is he passing to? Kam Jones and Oliver-Maxence Prosper seem more like supporting players. I don’t see any of these three in starring roles, but they will have to be on this team. Oso Ighodaro (5.5ppg, 3.3rpg, 18.1 PER) seems to be the most likely candidate to ascend to stardom if there is anyone on this team that can. More off seasons like this, and Shaka Smart will likely wear out his welcome at his second school pretty soon.

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