I do not have an ESPN insider account, but through the few Xavier Musketeers basketball blogs I read, I came across this yesterday. For this ranking, ESPN had a panel of their college basketball analyst’s rate programs on a 1-10 scale in five different categories. All five of the categories also had a percentage weight for the overall rating.
The Categories were: Coaching (25%), Current Talent (25%), Recruiting (25%), Program Power (15%), and Stability (10%). The analysts were Andy Katz, Jeff Goodman, John Gasaway, Paul Biancardi, Jay Bilas, and Eamonn Brennan.
ACC – 6
Big Ten – 4
Big East - 3
Pac-12 – 2
SEC – 2
AAC – 2
Mountain West - 2
Big 12 – 1
A-10 – 1
West Coast – 1
Ivy League – 1
The Big East Conference has the third most teams which is awesome for a conference that many consider a shell of its old self. The three teams representing the Big East were Xavier, Villanova, and Georgetown. Xavier was ranked at No. 17, Villanova at No. 18, and Georgetown second-to-last at No. 24.
Out of these three Big East teams, Xavier has the most to prove in the next three years. The Wildcats and Hoyas can still be on a list like this five years from now because of the greater prestige both programs have compared to X. Georgetown has five Final Fur appearances, placing as runner-up three times and winning once in 1984. Villanova has four Final Four appearances with one championship appearance. In that lone appearance they won, beating Georgetown in 1985.
If you take a look at the years Xavier has made a final four or a championship game... there are none. That’s because Xavier has never gotten past the Elite Eight in the two times they have made it that far. This is what is separating Xavier from these perennial powers. If Xavier does not make a Sweet 16 or Elite Eight for a number of years, it will hurt their program immensely. Much more than a drought like that could ever hurt Villanova and Georgetown.
As for the seven other Big East teams, I think a couple of them could be on a list like this in the near future. Marquette is the obvious choice here since they have such a storied history in addition to recent success. Also Creighton since they have momentum from their four year success with Doug McDermott. My last choice would be Providence because of the great job Ed Cooley has done with recruiting and winning (2014 Big East Champs). If Brad Stevens was still with Butler I could see them being on this list currently if they had a good first year in the Big East (which they could have if Stevens was their coach).
Now the last three teams: Seton Hall, St. John's, and DePaul. All of these programs have great basketball history, but are lacking recent success. Few kids today remember the glory days of Pirates, Johnnies, and Blue Demons basketball. That is a problem. A problem that can only be fixed by winning games, making the tournament, and then winning games in the tournament. Seton Hall’s future looks bright with all the high recruits they are bringing in. Saint John’s future can be bright, but that largely depends on Steve Lavin getting his talented team to perform the way they should. DePaul is still in a poor state as a program, but the building of their new arena should help out a lot. The construction of a new arena can serve as a symbolic undertone that DePaul is rebuilding their image as a basketball program which is a great first step.
Who do you think has not only the brightest three year future in the Big East, but the brightest five-year or even ten-year future? Answer the poll below and feel free to comment any of your opinions!