There’s one last day of regular season action in the Big East. All 10 men’s basketball teams will be playing on Saturday, each participating in their 18th games of the season. When we hit approximately 4pm on Saturday afternoon, the season will be over.
That means we’d better make some postseason award picks now before the league sneaks them out Sunday morning or something. They’re a crafty bunch, and while the Big East tournament won’t begin until Wednesday, we’re best off getting our picks in nice and early.
Here we go, then......
Player of the Year: Josh Hart, Villanova
Second in the Big East in scoring, fifth in the league in rebounding, 13th in assists. Leads regular season champion Villanova in the first two categories, trails Jalen Brunson by just 1.2 helpers in the third. Hart has won four Player of the Week awards this season, no one else has more than two.
This should be pretty easy, almost to the point where it should be unanimous. I can’t even identify a very serious alternate candidate.
Freshman of the Year: Shamorie Ponds, St. John’s
Five Freshman of the Week awards, with no one else in the league having more than three. Fifth in the league in scoring, leads all freshmen. #1 in the entire Big East in steals per game at 2.1 per game, one of just two players averaging two or more. Ponds has the third highest minutes per game average in the league, too, although I don’t know how much we should give him credit for that.
This one could go a lot of different ways and I wouldn’t be surprised. Teammate Marcus LoVett isn’t that far off Ponds’ pace, Creighton’s Justin Patton is the best freshman rebounder in the league, and, of course, there’s Marquette’s Markus Howard who is leading the resurgent Golden Eagles in scoring this season and leads the Big East in both made threes per game and three-point shooting percentage.
Coach of the Year: Jay Wright, Villanova
No Ryan Arcidiacono, no Daniel Ochefu. Omari Spellman was ruled ineligible before the season started. Phil Booth only played in VU’s first three games. Darryl Reynolds missed Nova’s last five games.
None of it mattered. Villanova clinched the regular season title with space to spare and as of this writing, they’re the only team on Bracket Matrix to be a #1 seed on every single one of the 119 tournament projections out there.
If you want to vote for Butler’s Chris Holtmann, knock yourself out. I’m voting for the guy who somehow has his team primed to repeat as national champions.
All-Big East Team
Trevon Bluiett, Xavier
Rodney Bullock, Providence
Angel Delgado, Seton Hall
Josh Hart, Villanova
Kelan Martin, Butler
Hart is a freebie inclusion since he is Player of the Year. Delgado is averaging a double-double, the only guy in the league doing that, and on top of all of that, he’s been on the Weekly Honor Roll 10 times this season, four more than anyone else. Martin and Bluiett are two of the three players who have earned Player of the Week awards more than once that aren’t Josh Hart. Martin’s barely top 10 in the league in scoring and rebounding, but this list needs a Bulldog. Bullock is the dude who has six Weekly Honor Roll appearances, the most in the league behind Delgado, and that has to mean something.
I firmly expect to get at least two of these wrong. I feel like Hart and Delgado are locks. There’s a ton of possible candidates for the other three spots. Creighton’s Marcus Foster has been Player of the Week twice and is leading the league in scoring. Georgetown’s Rodney Pryor is #3 in scoring. Villanova’s Jalen Brunson is top 15 in scoring and #2 in assists. Providence’s Kyron Cartwright is averaging 2.5 assists more than Brunson. Butler’s Andrew Chrabascz might not have the overall counting stats to make it work, but he’s the heart and soul of the Bulldogs this season.