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Big East Coast Bias Twitter Mailbag #4 - May the Fourth be With You

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome! This is the FOURTH installment of our weekly Twitter mailbag!

Here's a consistent weekly thing where we take YOUR questions on Twitter on a week-to-week basis.

So, let's get cracking, shall we?

Robert O'Neill: Sure! Right now, seven of the ten Big East schools have at least one recruit in the class of 2016. Seton Hall, Providence, and Creighton being the three that do not. I'll keep my explanations somewhat brief, if you need me to go more in depth, leave a comment.

1. Butler: I like Joey Brunk a whole bunch, and think he'll thrive under Chris Holtmann. They also did a great job landing Kamar Baldwin and Henry Baddley in the same day, plus Howard Washington is an underrated piece. Butler gets a bit of a bump, also, because they are essentially done recruiting their 2016 class and it's September.

2. Villanova: You could put Xavier here, because they have two four-star guys in Tyrique Jones and Quentin Goodin, but I give Villanova the edge because they have top 20 player Omari Spellman. Plus, they're Villanova, they're gonna add to that.

3. Xavier: See above. Frankly, the 2016 recruiting classes, at this moment, are like the Big East itself in that you have tiers. Any of these three teams could be in any of the three spots, plus the fourth and fifth team are interchangeable.

4. Marquette: How will Marquette top their top ten national 2015 class? Well. They probably won't. But that's because they don't really need to top it. They need to build on it. That's what they've done so far with Sam Hauser, their one commit.

5. St. John's: Provided that Kassoum Yakwe remains a 2016 player (which seems likely), this class has a nice foundation. I assume they'll be adding Shamorie Ponds (Sorry Creighton and Providence fans) and they have an outside shot at Rawle Alkins. If all those pieces come their way, this class will be much higher than five next time we do this.

6. Georgetown: Jagan Mosely is a nice start. Georgetown will move up next time we do this, as well.

7. DePaul: Devin Gage is alright. The bigger story here is that Dave Leitao is already recruiting the Chicago area better than Oliver Purnell ever did.


Christopher Novak: Xavier, Butler and Villanova are in the top three for me and you really could go in any order. 'Nova has arguably the best commit of any Big East team in power forward Omari Spellman. But in regards to the sum of all parts, I think X is in the lead here. Quentin Goodin and Tyrique Jones is a terrific combo of players who should no doubt make an impact in Cincy in years to come. Butler is damn near filling out an entire roster with a great crop of three-to-four-star commits with Joey Brunk leading the way in my opinion.

I think it wouldn't and shouldn't shock anyone if Marquette winds up ascending up the rankings. I don't know if they're going to have as big of a hit as they did with their excellent 2015 class but Wojo will make his mark. Chris Mullin and St. John's are after damn near everyone and if they can reel in a big fish, such as, say, Rawle Alkins it will definitely let people know that the Johnnies are out here trying to do big things. Georgetown, too, is just getting started and Jagan Mosely is definitely not the only piece they'll get.

Lastly, as of now, Devin Gage and DePaul remain at the bottom but we'll see how Dave Leitao does.

Robert O'Neill: I think we're still a couple years away. The conference, in it's current form, really just established itself last season with the six tournament teams. The next step is taking those six, or so, teams every year, and having more than one of them make the second weekend. At the same time, expansion becomes more likely if schools like Dayton, St. Louis, VCU, etc. maintain the level of success they've had the past few years.

Christopher Novak: Gimme 3-5 years, for the reasons above. I actually agree with Rob here, which will change with this next question...

Robert O'Neill: I'll assume you're not counting the Gavitt Games, because that's already as established thing. To be honest with you, I think what needs to happen is teams like Butler and Xavier need to start scheduling bigger nonconference games. Villanova plays Virginia this season (and next season), Georgetown plays UConn, two of Duke/Wisconsin/VCU, Syracuse, St. John's played Duke last year, they play Syracuse this year. Seton Hall plays Wichita State again this year. So the east coast portion of the Big East is doing a good job with national recognition. Butler schedules a lot of local teams, which is nice, but I firmly believe they could reach out to big schools and gauge interest in doing a home-and-home at Hinkle.

Xavier is almost in the same boat to me. A lot of local teams, which is great, plus Missouri and Auburn, who aren't exactly the cream of the crop in the SEC.

If you're like me and you think that the top four teams in the Big East are Villanova/Georgetown/Butler/Xavier, then I'd love to see the latter two try and get into bigger noncon matchups.

Christopher Novak: I'm going to completely disagree with my colleague up here.

This isn't about Butler or Xavier at all.

They might just "schedule local teams" but their nonconference schedules are typically pretty good. The 'Dawgs, at the very least, are afforded a yearly opportunity with the Crossroads Classic to play a team from the power conferences (Indiana, Notre Dame, Purdue). Aside from that, why do they get looked over? Because the top schools still don't view them at a high level. It's exactly why Boise State gets passed over often by the big power schools in football, and why it took the NCAA Tournament for Wichita State and Kansas to finally play each other... and also why Ohio State ducks Dayton and, you guessed it, Xavier here. They aren't afforded those opportunities because power schools are still really freaking arrogant when it comes to this kind of stuff, and they know they have nothing to gain and everything to lose. Point is: Don't blame Butler and Xavier for the lack of "brand names" on their schedules.

Now... onto the question. It's an interesting one. The Gavitt Games should give 'em a nice boost and I suspect that if things pan out as they are, the more nonconference opportunities that involve matchups of Big East's past should generate bigger things for the conference's brand. Because that's what the conference was known for. Any college basketball fan with a pulse knows, understands and respects the rivalries of the past and knows that they helped turn the conference into what it once was: a dominant force in the realm of college hoops. If we start seeing bridges be mended and see the likes of Georgetown, Villanova, St. John's and even Providence play the Syracuses and Connecticuts of the world, and win those matchups, it will be a big boost for the Big East brand to provide nostalgia-inducing matchups with great rivalries and rich histories and provide results for the conference's benefit as well.

The big thing here is not only having these nonconference matchups, but winning them as well. The fans certainly win out when these teams play but if the Big East wants that ever-annoying "r word" (*cough* respect *cough*) then the results have to play into it as well.

Christopher Novak: If this were before he departed for Blacksburg, I'd want nooooooooooooooo part of Buzz Williams, man. No way. Currently, I'd stay far away from John Thompson III and Chris Mullin. I guess... I'd take on Dave Leitao because DePaul? IDK.

Robert O'Neill: Oh man... I don't think i'd wanna tangle with any Big East coach. They all have access to top-notch athletic facilities, and I bet they use them. They're in better shape than I.

Christopher Novak: Have to agree there, and I'll give Butler-Xavier the duke there as well.

Robert O'Neill: I'd give Butler/Xavier a slight edge because of geography, but I could see Marquette/Butler too.

Christopher Novak: Wednesday, January 13 when St. John's squares off with Georgetown. That one is going to be a doozy, I think.

Robert O'Neill: Absolutely St. John's vs. Georgetown. I love that, whether coincidental or not, it's Mullin's MSG conference debut. Have to assume Lou Carnesecca and John Thompson Jr. will be in the building.