College basketball is back, and a big change in the Big East is one of the biggest headlines as we preview the new season and dissect the odds.
After reaching the Final Four for the third time in seven seasons, Villanova head coach Jay Wright unexpectedly retired and will be seen as a CBS studio analyst this season. What does that mean for New York-area Big East teams St. John’s and Seton Hall?
Big East Futures Odds: Four Contenders Emerge
Taking a look at the futures odds for the conference, oddsmakers have pegged four teams as having a decent shot of winning the regular-season conference championship. Last year, Providence was sixth in the preseason odds at +2000 and went 14-3 to win the league by one game over Villanova. The Wildcats were even-money favorites going into last season, and they did end up winning the Big East Tournament.
This year, the Friars are not expected to repeat. There are four contenders, followed by the New York-area teams. Here are the futures odds for the Big East regular-season championship, courtesy of FanDuel.
|TEAM||ODDS TO WIN 2022-23 BIG EAST REGULAR SEASON TITLE|
|St. John’s Red Storm||+2200|
|Seton Hall Pirates||+5000|
Starting with the Wildcats, the school opted for consistency on the bench and tapped Kyle Neptune as Wright’s replacement. Neptune spent eight years as an assistant on Wright’s staff. On the court, the talent remains. Collin Gillespie and Jermaine Samuels are gone, but five-star recruit Cam Whitmore is coming in to join Caleb Daniels and Eric Dixon for another run at a Final Four.
Creighton used a dominant defense to rout Providence in the Big East tourney and reach the finals before losing to the Wildcats. They also made the NCAA Tournament. Returning big man Ryan Kalkbrenner should keep that defensive focus strong.
Dan Hurley seems to have UConn back on track, and center Adama Sanogo is a big reason why. For Xavier, the Musketeers have swingman Colby Jones returning along with former head coach Sean Miller, who helped put Xavier basketball on the map in the decade of the 2000s.
What to Expect From St. John’s and Seton Hall in the Big East
St. John’s is the first team on the odds board with good value at +2200. In a conference that’s always been based on great defense, the Red Storm are fast. They led NCAAB in adjusted tempo last year, but that didn’t necessarily led to a lot of success. The Johnnies were 8-11 in the league last year.
Scorers Julian Champagnie and Aaron Wheeler are gone, but Posh Alexander returns and is expected to lead the team along with Montez Mathis. Illinois transfer Andre Curbelo should also help replace the production of the departed players and help pace the offense as well.
Most experts are pegging the Red Storm as a bubble team. They will be able to score with the best of them, but in a conference where defense is paramount, expect the top-tier teams to figure out a way to slow down St. John’s. That means they will have to put a premium on defense, so we’ll see how they adjust.
Halloway Turns Saint Peter’s Cinderella Run Into Job With Seton Hall
Former Pirates star player and assistant Shaheen Halloway parlayed his incredible run with 15-seed Saint Peter’s to the Elite Eight last year into a job at Seton Hall. Pirates head coach Kevin Willard left for Maryland, opening the door for the school to bring Halloway home from the nearby Peacocks.
The one thing working against Halloway is a major change in personnel. He does bring KC Ndefo with him from Saint Peter’s, and a whopping seven more players are coming in through the transfer portal. It will be up to the nonconference games to see how the coach can get this new group to gel on the floor before Big East play begins.
At +5000, it might be worth a small flier on the Pirates. Can Halloway capitalize on the unknown and make this team click? Sure, but we’re not saying it’s likely with so much of a veteran presence atop the league.