As with the women's soccer predictions, things may get slightly off kilter here as we attempt to look at what the three new Big East teams accomplished last year and align them against the returning players and teams. This is made slightly more complicated on the men's side of things, as two of the new teams made the NCAA tournament last year.
Offensive Player Of The Year: Steve Neumann, F, Sr., Georgetown - At first glance, Neumann is an obvious choice. He's the only returning field player from the 2012 postseason all-conference first team, and he finished second in points, fifth in goals, and first in assists last year. A case could be made for both Xavier's Matt Walker (A10 1st team, 2nd in points, third in goals, first in assists) and Creighton's Timo Pitter (MVC first team, first in points and goals, sixth in assists), but I'll stick with the returning player instead of either of the newcomers.
Defensive Player Of The Year: Nick Hagglund, D, Sr., Xavier - Hagglund was the Atlantic 10 Defensive Player Of The Year in 2012, so I'll give the nod to the standout senior as opposed to All Big East second teamers Tim Parker from St. John's or Marquette's Axel Sjoberg.
Goalkeeper Of The Year: Rafael Diaz, Sr., St. John's - Here's how great Diaz was last year: Connecticut's Andre Blake was the clear choice for 2012 postseason Goalkeeper Of The Year (0.54 goals-against average, .840 save percentage, 11 shutouts), and Diaz STILL managed to claw his way onto the all-conference first team with Blake.
All Big East Team
Brandon Allen, F, So., Georgetown
Bryan Ciesiulka, M, Sr., Marquette
Rafael Diaz, GK, Sr., St. John's
Nick Hagglund, D, Sr., Xavier
Eric Miller, M, Jr., Creighton
Steve Neumann, F, Sr., Georgetown
Timo Pitter, M, So., Creighton
Axel Sjoberg, D, So., Marquette
Zach Steinberger, M, Jr., Butler
James Thomas, M, Sr., St. John's
Matt Walker, F, Sr., Xavier
You'll notice that I mentioned St. John's defender Tim Parker above, but he didn't make the eleven listed here. As discussed yesterday with the women's teams, it's hard for defenders to make these all-conference teams. Sjoberg got the nod because of the threat he presents in set pieces that earned him an Offensive Player Of The Week award in 2012. Everybody listed here was either first or second team all conference last year, although I left Xavier's Will Walker (Matt's twin brother) and Creighton's Jose Ribas off the list. That choice was entirely returning player bias, though.
Top 5 Teams:
4. St. John's
Picking the top five teams wasn't hard, as it's just a list of the Big East teams that made the NCAA tournament a year ago. Putting them in order was a little harder. Ultimately, it's hard to not pick Creighton to win the league, as they went on a run to the College Cup semifinals a year ago and return a lot of firepower.