Now that the dust has settled from the 2009 NBA draft and it’s almost time for football, the following is how I hold the pre-season 2009 Big East Basketball rankings. Short previews for the top 8 teams are provided with Villanova entering as the pre-season number 1. Defending regular season and tournament champion, Louisville, comes in at number 4.

2009 Big East Basketball Rankings #1-8

 

 

#1 2009 Big East Basketball Team – Villanova

The Wildcats became the team to beat in the 2009-10 season when Scottie Reynolds pulled his name from the 2009 NBA draft. Coupled with a Top 5 2009 NCAA recruiting class led by Maalik Wayns, the Wildcats enter the season as the favorite.

 

#2 2009 Big East Basketball Team – West Virginia

West Virginia lost Alex Ruoff, but have PG Joe Mazzulla returning to go with an outstanding 2009 recruiting class. If Mazulla has problems returning at the start of the season, it could open the way for incoming freshman Dalton Pepper to get more minutes at the 2 guard early in the season. A greatly improved Devin Ebanks is back at PF and Deniz Kilicli from Turkey is expected to start at the center position. West Virginia will be in the running for the conference championship and comes in just behind Nova at Nr 2.

 

#3 2009 Big East Basketball Team – UCONN

 

Coach Calhoun lost a lot of talent from last year, but Kemba Walker will start out the season playing PG. SG Jerome Dyson will be back and will be joined by freshman Darius Smith. Freshmen Alex Oriakhi replaces Thabeet in the paint if he can beat out senior Gavin Edwards for the spot. The Huskies won’t have the depth they did last season, but enough experienced talent returns to rank them Nr. 3.

 

#4 2009 Big East Basketball Team – Louisville

Rick Pitino lost a lot with T-Will and Earl Clark departing for the NBA. The Cardinals are led by Samardo Samuels who will have to play more consistently in 2009-10 for Louisville to be near the top of the Big East again. Edgar Sosa will return at the PG position for Louisville backed up by incoming freshman Peyton Siva. Reginald Delk is eligible this season after previously being at Mississippi Sate and is expected to be the favorite to play the shooting guard position. The Cardinals performance next season is going to depend on how quickly the young players can come up to speed to play quality college basketball.

 

#5 2009 Big East Basketball Team – Syracuse

The Orangemen lost Johnny Flynn, Eric Devendorf, and Paul Harris to the pros which has left them coming in at Nr. 5 for the upcoming season. Scoop Jardine and Bradon Triche will be competing to take over the PG role for the 2009 season and Andy Rautins will likely become the SG. Wesley Johnson becomes eligible to play at the SF position this season after transferring from Iowa State and junior Rick Jackson will be back at the PF position. Syracuse enters the 2009-10 season with a lot of potential and we’ll just have to see how quick the team learns to work together.

 

#6 2009 Big East Basketball Team – Georgetown

Greg Monroe is back. He has to get more aggressive for Georgetown to have a great year. Junior Chris Wright takes over at the PG position and SG Austin Freeman will be back. The Hoyas also have freshman Hollis Thompson coming in to compete for the SF position and G-Town could make a play at the Big East championship if they click early as a team.

 

#7 2009 Big East Basketball Team – Cincinnati

 

The biggest news for Cincinnati was the signing of Lance Stephenson. If Lance is eligible to play, then I bump the Cincy up to Nr 5 in the conference. Coach Cronin also has SG Deonta Vaughn coming back who will likely move over to the PG position. Yancy Gates is back at Center for his sophomore year and Stephen Toyloy is expected to be the PF this season. Overall, 8 of the top 10 players from last season’s squad are back.

 

#8 2009 Big East Basketball Team – Pittsburgh

Pitt lost a lot with Levance Fields, Sam Young, DeJuan Blair, and Tyrell Biggs. Freshman Dante Taylor will be expected to fill in immediately at PF with juniors Gilbert Brown and Bradley Wanamaker battling it out for the SF position. Redshirt freshman Travon Woodall comes in as the favorite to start at the PG position for Pitt. The Panthers will be down a fair bit from last season overall, but still have talent that can pull some upsets in Big East action.

 

2009 Big East Basketball Rankings #9-16

 

#9 2009 Big East Basketball Team – Notre Dame

#10 2009 Big East Basketball Team – Seton Hall

#11 2009 Big East Basketball Team – Marquette

#12 2009 Big East Basketball Team – St. John’s

#13 2009 Big East Basketball Team – Providence

#14 2009 Big East Basketball Team –  South Florida

#15 2009 Big East Basketball Team –  Rutgers

#16 2009 Big East Basketball Team – Depaul

 

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