SBR continues its look at the college basketball futures odds with a preview of the Big East Conference where Villanova and Georgetown appear to be the teams to beat.
Nine coaches in the Big East are breathing a sigh of relief not having to prepare for Doug McDermott when they face Creighton this season. The only one not happy to see the 5th-leading scorer all-time in NCAA men's basketball history and 3-time All-American gone would be Doug's father Greg, the Bluejays' head coach.
McDermott won just about every honor he could last season in leading Creighton to a 27-8 record and 14-4 mark in the school's inaugural Big East schedule. That was good enough for a No. 3 seed at March Madness, and good enough for McDermott to get scooped up with the 11th overall pick in June's NBA Draft by the Nuggets before being dealt to the Bulls.
McDermott's departure leaves Creighton in a rebuilding mode this year and out of the conference race on the college basketball futures odds board. The 'Jays check in at 20/1 to win the Big East, well behind the frontrunners in the battle.
'Nova & Hoyas Top Betting List
If the 2014-15 Big East lineup was a bunch of puppies, it would be a tough choice whether Villanova or Georgetown earned pick of the litter status, and that is certainly reflected in the NCAA basketball odds where the Wildcats are +175 with the Hoyas just behind (+200). That gap is actually a bit larger when you take into account Georgetown's public draw.
Jay Wright has an outstanding group of players in Philly this time, a bona fide Final Four team in my opinion. Four of the five starters from a year ago return, and they won 29 games then. The group is led by JayVaughn Pinkston and Darrun Hilliard along with Ryan Arcidiacono, the Nos. 2-3-4 scorers from '13-'14.
Wright and 'Nova have a chance to prove themselves on a national level early with a tough non-con slate; the Wildcats are part of the Legends Classic in Toledo (Nov. 24-25) with VCU a known opponent and a next-day matchup vs. either Michigan or Oregon, plus they have St. Joseph's, Illinois and Syracuse consecutively in December.
John Thompson III brought a great group of freshmen to G'town while also returning a nice nucleus to build upon. Like Villanova, the Hoyas have some tough early challenges with a Battle 4 Atlantis date against Florida as well as Kansas in December.
Musketeers & Friars Linger In The Shadows
Coming in behind 'Nova and G'town to win the Big East according to the college basketball odds makers are Xavier and Providence. The Musketeers and Friars are priced at +350 and +500, respectively, and both coaches have some big holes to fill from successful teams last season to cash those numbers.
Mack lost three huge pieces of his rotation at Xavier in Semaj Christon, Justin Martin and Isaiah Philmore. The Musketeers added a deep recruiting class and have Indiana transfer Remy Abell eligible to play a big role in the backcourt.
Subtracting Bryce Cotton is huge for Ed Cooley and the Friars, but I like them better than Xavier right now. Kyron Cartwright will have to go through on-the-job-training, but the frosh adds some much-needed depth to this backcourt.
Just In Case You Like Dark Horses
Down in the middle of the pack on the Big East futures odds are Butler and St. John's, both at 8/1 to cut down the nets next March in Madison Square Garden and each carrying their own risks.
Depending on how the Bulldogs handle losing head coach Brandon Miller, Butler might not be the best option for our NCAA Basketball Picks at this point. Officially, Miller is out for medical reasons while Chris Holtmann fills in for the interim. It ain't going to be easy in the early going with a matchup against North Carolina in the Bahamas where Butler could also meet either UCLA/Oklahoma along with Wisconsin, Florida and Big East foe Georgetown in the mix.
St. John's has sort of fallen off the radar, and that's probably just fine with Steve Lavin. I'm not sure the Johnnies have experience and could be undervalued on the college basketball odds when the season begins.