Due to the fact that on the 25th. As the countdown to the start of the 2020-21 student basketball season continues on 11 November, an ESPN.com panel of experts is preparing forecasts for all the top leagues in the country. After viewing the American Athletic Conference and the upper half of the country, we go to the Great East, where UConn returns to test the seemingly annual dominance of Villanova at the top of the conference tables.
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Great East 2020-21 Supernatural
Player of the year
Medal winner calf: Markus Zegarowski, Creighton
Borgello: Markus Zegarowski, Creighton
Gasaway : Markus Zegarovsky, Creighton
Lunardi: Marcus Zegarowski, Creighton.
Beginning of the year
Medallion: Bryce Oak, Seton Hall
Borzello: D.J. Cardon, Marquette Gasaway: R.J. Cole, UConn
Lunardi: Dawson Garcia, Marquette.
Larger Eastern writers Round Table 2020-21
UConn is back! Number of fickle members, that’s the biggest change UConn fans in the Far East have seen in a long time since Husky beat Providence in the last league game on March 9, 2013? How do you think everything will go at UConn?
Fault! The file name is not specified. We know Dan Hurley has passion. Does he have an NCAA tournament team? Photo by Williams Paul / Icon Sportswire
Myron Medcalfe, senior university basketball writer: When UConn left the company, attention was focused on the number of talented teams in the top league. But the Great East has become a conference without games. In UConn’s last campaign in 2012-13, four teams closed the season with the loss of the regular season record. In the last two seasons only two teams ended the year with the loss of the record. Since the 2016-17 season, only three Big East programs have been removed from Ken Pomeroy’s top 100.
Last year, DePaul closed a league game 3-15, but defeated Iowa, Texas and Minnesota. Georgetown won 5-13 in the Far East, but defeated Creighton, Butler, Syracuse and Texas. St. John’s defeated Arizona and West Virginia and then lost six of the first seven games of the Big East Series. It has always been difficult to reach the top of this competition, then as now. But the new Great East is a real challenge.
Jeff Borzello, University Basketball Specialist: Villanova now runs the competition. Not that the Wildcats were bad the last time UConn played in the league, but now they are clearly the best of the best, and that doesn’t seem to change this season. Two national championships in three seasons and the share of all but one since UConn’s withdrawal from the league have had such an impact on the reputation of the program.
As far as UConn is concerned, I think the return to the Great East will give the program a chance. UConn is the Great East, the Great East is UConn – Husky in America has never been a natural addition. Dan Hurley grew up in the Great East, and players from these regions prefer to play in Villanova and Georgetown rather than Tulane and Houston. Hurley has the best and most talented team since he came to Storrs and will be ready to participate in the NCAA tournament program from day one.
John Gasaway, University Basketball Writer: UConn is back in place. Unlike the newcomers, the Husky’s were founding members of the Great East and all teams in the league except Georgetown, Providence, St. John’s and Seton Hall. (Even Villanova only joined the team in its second year.) The good news for Coach Hurley and his program is that the Great East represents a quantum leap in quality of what Connecticut has experienced in the league game in recent years. Now it should be easier to sell the design, and UConn, who plays in the Big East tournament in Madison Square Garden, will surely please the tire gods.
The bad news is that history and belonging to the Far East itself is not enough to guarantee a place in an NCAA tournament. Look no further than Hoyas, who is still waiting for his first application since 2015. UConn has a chance, and now Husky has to make the most of it.
Joe Lunardi, ESPN Brackettologist: As John writes, UConn was one of the seven founding members of the Great East. Then, as now, the emphasis was on basketball. In other words: The Great East, to which the Huskies are returning, looks more like the league he co-founded in 1979 than the league he discontinued in 2013 with football. It really is a return to the future situation of Storrs, where huskies are in a good position to thrive.
UConn has the right coach, his fans will be fed by the traditional rivalry, and it won’t be long before the deep races of the NCAA tournament are staged by more than one women’s team. It could even happen this year, because I expect that the top huskies in the conference will be very close to Villanova and Creighton. It’s a win-win situation.
It wouldn’t surprise anyone if Villanova awarded Jay Wright his third national title in April this year. What similarities do you see between this team and Nova’s last two champion teams? What are you most worried about these cats?
Fault! The file name is not specified. Collin Gillespie’s play will be one of the most important elements for Jay Wright and Co. Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Boroncello: I think it’s a similar balance. The teams coached by Jay Wright are known for their demarcation skills, and this team had had enough, but the two champion teams had some inner balance. The 2016 team had Daniel Ochefu on the inside, while the 2018 team had Omarie Spellman as the internal threat. This year, in the Jeremiah Robinson Earl group, a double night threat, preparing a break season as a second year.
As for the fears, I wonder if Villanova has such a dynamic attitude towards a man who can fetch a bucket or take control of the game if necessary. Saddik Bey had some big games last season, but he’s gone. Colleen Gillespie may be the one, but he’s not here yet. Who participates in the tournaments of Jalen Branson, Josh Hart, Chris Jenkins or NCAA Donte DiVincenzo? Gillespie may be the best option, but keep an eye on Justin Moore.
Degassing: This Villanova team draws a ton 3, together with the two national championship winners. Wright’s defense is also working at a pace similar to that of the teams on this side of the ball. In the past, however, I have seen more differences than similarities.
Creighton buried the Wildcats last season in terms of field scoring in the Big East game, and I didn’t think that was possible while Wright was still on the field. In fact, Villanova didn’t even win half of his two in a conference game. (Somewhere, Jaylen Brunson and Mikal Bridges frown.) Of course, we are still talking about the rotation that won part of the Big East 2020 title and now brings back eight of the top nine players. A third national championship is also possible, but it seems that Gilespie and the company could make it and set their own course.
Lunardi: I would be very surprised if Villanova would win another title this season. These wild cats, despite our preseason evaluation, are not very similar to the NCAA winners of 2016 and don’t even come close to the real elite winners of 2018. These teams have distinguished seven NBA players, not only in the league but also at a high level. Robinson Earle is probably the next to leave the assembly line, but as a second year he will probably not lead the team to the last four and beyond. Villanova will continue to win because Wright is so good. He also has a list and a system that knows nothing else. I think the Cats will do everything they can to keep the team in the top five.
Medal winner calf: I think Wright’s gift is the coherence he can create in his program. Chris Jenkins’ victory at North Carolina in the 2016 national championship game is proof of the chemistry that Wright’s teams have shown in their best years. I wonder if it isn’t more difficult to make them in the year when the pandemic has removed all programs from normal life.
There is so much that we don’t know about the 2020-2021 season, especially the number of games that each team will play in November, December and beyond. All this chaos could lead to the 2011 NCAA tournament, where the hottest team – or in this case the team that has played most games without a break – will have an advantage. In my opinion, these unknowns are the biggest problem and are different from the two teams that won the titles under Wright.
The two biggest stars of the competition – Miles Powell of Seton Hall and Marcus Howard of Marquette – have ended their sensational careers. Which of your teams will be the hardest to get the upper hand, and which match in this championship (1-1) do you expect the most, now that there are no more classic Powell Howard battles?
Fault! The file name is not specified. Miles Cale will probably see a jump in points now that Miles Powell has gone to Seton Hall. Picture of the Rich Grassle/Sportswire symbol.
Boroncello: I really think both teams will be pretty good, and Kevin Willard and Steve Wojciechowski came out right away and got a replacement. Seton Hall stole Bryce Aiken when his last transfer from Harvard and Markett got the D.J. from Ohio State Transfer. Cardboard boxes that can be replaced immediately. But I’ve moved Seton Hall in my booth, so I think it will be harder for the Golden Eagles to move forward. And that makes sense, because the whole attack was about Marcus Howard. Cardboard, Kobe McEwan and newcomer Dawson Garcia will have to take most of the responsibility this season.
In one fight I go with Villanova Colleen Gillespie against Creighton Marcus Zegarovsky. Two experienced defenders, perhaps the best two players in the league in the top two teams. Gillespie defeated Zegarovsky in two singles games last season, but without Alexander’s Taison, Zegarovsky is likely to dominate the scoring charts a little longer.
Degassing: The Pirates are in a better position than Marquette to survive the loss of one of the best players in the history of the program. Willard’s defense last season was very good and although Romaro Gilla’s defeat will clearly hurt, Ike Obiaga is still in the starting blocks, while Miles Cale and Jared Rodin will still force the shots. In addition, the space could really improve its performance on the defensive glass.
I want to see the whole St. Louis defense game. John versus R.J. Cole at UConn. No real head-on collision, you say? Listen to me. Listen to me. Johnny plays the D like a swarm going around. While their defensive record last season was average, if there’s one thing Mike Anderson knows how to coach, it’s the good old 40 minutes of the infernal ball he learned as an assistant and later as head coach in Arkansas. John made many starts in his first season at the top of Anderson, and Cole has scored more than 1500 points on the board in just two seasons with Howard.
Medal winner calf: Both were superstars who were going to miss the sport. You’re supposed to be watching television. But I think Howard was one of those stars who could turn the game into a storm that was hard to replicate. His departure creates a void that cannot be filled, and I think Bryce Aiken and Seton Hall have a depth that helps them move forward.
One-on-one games? I think it’s Markus Zegarowski against a player who will be named later. There are many candidates, but I think at the beginning of the season it will be clear that he is the best player in the league and one of the best players in the country, and the rest of the East will have to find a way to slow him down. While on the ground last year, Creighton scored an average of 113 points per 100 objects, with 54% of his shots coming from inside the arch and 39% of his 3-point shots at hooplens.com. He’s the power.
Lunardi: Seton Hall is in a better position to continue as his successors are older and more successful. It is also a fact that Markus Howard had the highest occupancy rate of all university basketball players, so by definition Markett has more to replace. And I’m ready for any singles match with Seton Hall Bryce Aiken. The defeat in the Ivy League is truly a victory for the Great East. Expect Aiken to be more than active against people like Colleen Gillespie, Markus Zegarovsky and the St. John’s move. Joseph Yared Bynum in Providence. There’s still a very good competition at stake.
Anonymous cars the size of the Great East…
Jeff Borzello spoke with coaches in the Far East about their expectations for the championship in 2020-21.
It’s another UConn case, man. There are great coaches in America, very good players, but for the last five years you are talking about Miles Powell, Marcus Howard, Jalen Brunson? are the best goalkeepers in the country. Every night they will compete on a different level. They will be very talented and very good, but half of the boys they will depend on have never played at university or in the Great East. I think they’ll be a talented team, but they need time to get everything in place.
Providence is just a bitch to play against. Cooley is in the lead with Izzo according to the number of matches played. He’s got so many things. They’re very difficult to prepare. With Creighton, you know what you get – fast-paced play, mixing in fast-paced races. With Ed, he’s gonna try to beat you in a quick break, then halfway across the field, he’s got a million sets, you don’t know what he’s gonna run. They’ll try to be more physical than you. In defense, they throw 3-2 defenses that they haven’t used in the first 20 games.
Villanova’s strengths are culture and consistency in what they do. If you replace different types from different eras, you always know what they will do and what they will try to do. Your culture will defeat you. With age, boys begin to appreciate, understand and do things in terms of culture at a high level. Last year you looked at them, you thought they were really good, but only young. Justin Moore could have been one of the most underestimated guys in our league, and the Tulane guy [Caleb Daniels] was sitting. Now it’s a matter of figuring out how to connect all these points and bring your team together.
Creighton plays so fast, but he’s under control. McDermott’s such a good offensive coach, he can pick you. He finds a certain weakness in your defense. He puts nine new moves in this game. He’s one of the best offensive minds in college basketball. Zegarowski can get 25 points, but he can also play a game where he scores 8 points but gets 12 assists. He’s a regular at the table. Everything Creighton needs. He plays at an incredible pace, he’s so good at shooting boys, but he can also get his.
James Buknight may be the best player in our league this year. Gillespie and Zegarovsky are very good basketball players, but Buknight has the athletics that sets him apart.
Fault! The file name is not specified. Marquette relies heavily on a D.D. cardboard transfer to get back the back cover that Marcus Howard left behind when he left. Photo by Brian Rotmuller/Sportswire symbol
Seton Hall and Marquette are always ready for a high level victory. Both teams will do things differently. Miles Powell and Marcus Howard were the guys who could take over basketball. You’ve got two guys ready to take some big pieces. Marquette brought in D.J. Cardon from Ohio, he’s a good NBA player Bryce Aiken [Harvard] is a high-ranking guard from the Far East. The two guys can lead their team, make better guys, make clutch baskets. Then you have to draw another level, [Sandro Mamukelashvili] – one of the two best frontline players in our league of universality. Marquette recruited [Dawson] Garcia and Justin Lewis, two young candidates for the same job with Mom. Tyrese Samuel, he’s a great talent. He can handle it. Back on the Marquette list is Jamal Kane, a great year for Theo John. … Both Seton Hall and Marquette can still be important players in our league. But you need a rehearsal. And he’ll be the one who adapts best.
David Duke will be the first player of the Great East team, Nate Watson is a low-stress player, one of the best low-stress players in the country. A.J. Reeves is clearly an excellent marksman, he needs to get around the corner at a young age. When Alpha [Diallo] is gone, he’s got a lot more bullets in his hand. They were transferred, a man from Syracuse, a man from St. Joe’s, a great man from North Florida, Noah Horchler. They’re just cool. Whatever power you have, they’re trying to take it away from you.
At the end of the year, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, was the only province in the world that had a new, more efficient and efficient system. Johns began to embody what Coach Anderson was trying to do. They got the talent by winning the talent that fits his playing style. They are very versatile, very destructive. We need the St. Johns at their own game. It’ll be a track meet, they’ll let you play basketball on the field. They didn’t realize until late. The interesting thing is that KOVID puts everyone on the same playing field. Most teams lost their summers, so on some evenings you just have to play basketball. You may not have all the attack sets, and the only advantage St. John’s has to offer is that it’s a great place to play. The only reason I’m at St. John’s is because they let you play basketball. It all depends on the best air-conditioned athletes who can play basketball.
Greater East 2020-21 Planned order of delivery