- Dick Vitale, College Basketball analyst
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It should be another exciting season in the Big East.
Once again, this league is so deep. Think about it... in the preseason coaches poll, Pittsburgh was picked ninth and Marquette was selected 12th. That shows that you'd better come to play in the league.
Villanova was picked No. 1 by the coaches and the Wildcats will have a dynamite season. Jay Wright has the program moving in a positive direction. The return of Scottie Reynolds, who toyed with the idea of turning pro, is a major plus for Villanova. Wright also has a great recruiting class coming in, plus All-Marco Polo Taylor King could provide a spark shooting on the perimeter.
West Virginia was picked second in the conference poll. Huggy Bear, Bob Huggins has the Mountaineers rolling with Devin Ebanks and company. Connecticut is No. 3 in the poll and Jim Calhoun is excited about his squad. Yes, Hasheem Thabeet and AJ Price are gone, but the nucleus of returning veterans is solid. Start with the backcourt tandem of Kemba Walker and Jerome Dyson. Stanley Robinson will be a force up front.
Louisville is a pretty solid club for a squad picked fourth in a conference. Rick Pitino expects big things from Samardo Samuels up front, plus several veteran guards.
You go down the list and see the likes of Georgetown, Notre Dame and Syracuse and you understand how good this league is. Think about players like Greg Monroe of the Hoyas, Luke Harangody of the Irish and Wesley Johnson of the Orange, arguably the most pivotal diaper dandy, and you see talent galore.
This conference has so many good coaches, including Hall of Famers in Jim Calhoun and Jim Boeheim. All 16 of the coaches earn their salary night in and night out.
The Big East may not be as dominant as last season, as there are not the same heavyweight teams. There is depth, depth, depth and teams like Cincinnati, Seton Hall and St. John's have improved, making every contest a battle.
What else is new? That is life in the Big East, baby!