Here's the thing: It's going to be kind of difficult to do this year.
- The top four teams from last year's Big East are now all gone. That tends to knock down the number of possible candidates for a all-conference team.
- Amongst those teams remaining, only two players out of the ten that earned postseason all-conference honors last season return for the 2013-14 campaign.
- The two teams moving from the Atlantic 10 to the Big East - Butler and Xavier - didn't have particularly great seasons, at least from an individual honors point of view.
Preseason Player Of The Year: Brittany Hrynko, G, Jr., DePaul - Hrynko was the 2012-13 Most Improved Player in the Big East and she improved to the point where she is the only returning player on last year's postseason all-conference First Team. She was also named to three Weekly Honor Rolls last year, more than any other returning player. Amongst the players from returning teams, she ranked third in points scored (14.7 ppg) and second in assists (4.8 apg). I do want it noted for the record that I had picked Hrynko as my POY before she appeared on the Big East's Media Day Center page.
Preseason All-Big East Team:
Sarah Nelson, F, Sr., Creighton
Katherine Plouffe, F, Sr., Marquette
Daress McClung, G/F, Sr., Butler
Marissa Janning, G, So., Creighton
KaDeidre Simmons, G, Sr., Seton Hall
I'm not particularly excited about these choices. Plouffe is the other returning player to earn all-conference honors along with Hrynko, so she was an easy pick. Nelson and Janning were both all-Missouri Valley First Team, with Nelson adding All-Defensive Team honors and Janning was named MVC Freshman of the Year, so those seem pretty solid. McClung was second team all-Atlantic 10 and finished 2nd in points (16.4 ppg) and fifth in rebounds (9.0 rpg), so that should translate to Big East honors. Simmons is a shot in the dark, although she averaged 11.5 points, 3.9 assists, and 2.0 steals last season, so she's pretty good at the all around game, even if her Pirates weren't any good at all (11-20 overall record.)
Top Five Teams:
Other than the Bluejays, I'm not excited about this prediction. Creighton went 25-8 last year and advanced the second round of the NCAA tournament, and they bring back two of the best players from the MVC. That's a solid pick to win the league. DePaul gets the #2 slot just for Hrynko. Marquette went on a run towards the end of the year to vault them into the WNIT, and they only lose Sarina Simmons from last year's team, while gaining two freshmen and redshirt freshman Ashley Santos from injury. Butler was a WNIT team last year bringing back a solid squad, and Villanova was an NCAA team a year ago. Losing Laura Sweeney's 14 points and 7 rebounds is a blow, but someone has to be fifth, and it's probably not going to be Seton Hall, Providence or Georgetown. St. John's got left out because of the departures of Nadirah McKenith and Shenneika Smith, and Xavier finished under two games .500 last year.