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Breaking Down Jon Rothstein’s Big East Basketball Summer Thoughts

In this article, Sam gets mad about Jon Rothstein.

Villanova v Marquette Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Jon Rothstein.

Ron Jothstein.


We meet again.

For those of you not familiar with me or my social media habits (probably a vast majority of you, and I don’t blame you one bit for that), you know that I have, at best, a contentious relationship with Mr. Rothstein’s work. For every instance where he provides well-thought-out, insightful analysis, there exists an equal and opposite instance where he talks like a person who has never watched a game of college basketball in his life.

And that’s where his tweets from Monday, July 2nd come in. On that day, as is his habit during the summer, Jon tweeted a slew of things concerning the Big East.

Let’s start with the power rankings.

First off, as a Marquette homer and undeniable Marquette basketball addict, I’m ecstatic to see Marquette getting that much respect from the media (even if it is Jon, noted contributor to CBS Sports Network). We here in Milwaukee (and throughout the rest of the country who is a fan, whether they be an alumnus or not) have a pretty good bead on this team: It’s the best Coach Wojo has had in his tenure. It’s got the best athletes, the best defenders, the best offensive attack, (insert other superlatives here). Expectations are higher than even the normally high expectations of the Marquette fanbase. Some lingering questions remain, but even the people asking those questions know that this is a put-up-or-shut-up year for Coach Wojo and the Golden Eagles.

And the media outside the regional market is noticing that. Marquette consistently appears in power rankings nation-wide as a fringe top 25 team, which is great to see after a few rough years of rebuilding.

But without getting too much into that conversation, I like that Jon has Marquette ranked second. It’s hard to deny the Golden Eagles’ talents as a group and, with the Big East most likely being a bit down as a whole (at least other than MU), this is the chance for Marquette to challenge at the top a la Xavier last year (hopefully without bowing out in the second round of the tournament a la Xavier).

I’d argue that Marquette is a top 3 team in the Big East. I’d be hard pressed to take Villanova out of the top spot until they prove me otherwise; I’d bet a lot of money on Jay Wright to make this roster just as good as last year, and that’s saying something. Villanova has all of the pieces to be a top 5-10 team nationally all year, and until some other team can dethrone them in the conference, I can’t take the top spot from them.

Marquette is (read as: SHOULD BE) one of three teams in Tier 2 of the Big East this year, and that tier of teams is where I really deviate from Rothstein.

Butler being ranked 9th is criminal. Butler should be in the top half of the league by the end of this year. Kamar Baldwin is a Player of the Year candidate (he’s even on Jon’s First Team, more on that in a moment) and Jordan Tucker joins at midseason. They still have Paul Jorgensen, Nate Fowler, Aaron Thompson, and Sean McDermott. They will be a good squad. On the flip side, St. John’s has a ceiling at about the 3 spot like Rothstein has them here, but until/if Mustapha Heron is deemed eligible and Chris Mullin proves he can coach his way out of a plastic bag without a map and/or Shamorie Ponds going God Mode, I’m not putting them in the top 5. As of right now, I’d flip the two, but I think St. John’s will be better than 9. I’d at least rank Butler above them, but maybe I’m too high on the Bulldogs this year.

The other two teams I’d flip are Providence and Xavier. Xavier is going to be sneaky good with a lot of talent coming back, but losing Trevon Bluiett, J.P. Macura, and Kaiser Gates will hinder them. Until they find the replacement for that amount of offense, I’m not going to rate them highly. On the flip side, Providence gets Makai Ashton-Langford, Emmitt Holt, Isaiah Jackson, Maliek White, and Alpha Diallo back, plus adds two freshmen in David Duke and AJ Reaves. This is a good Providence team, and they might challenge Marquette and Villanova for the top spot.

My personal rankings for the Big East, for those who care/want to hold me to the same standards that I hold Jon Rothstein:

  1. Villanova
  2. Marquette
  3. Providence
  4. Butler
  5. Georgetown
  6. St. John’s
  7. Xavier
  8. Creighton
  9. Seton Hall
  10. A bag of rocks
  11. DePaul

This is the spicy one. This is lacking some HAUSER. No, not Joey Hauser. Let’s not be crazy here, people. Of course, I can see the reasoning where “Sam Hauser played an entire year hurt and won’t come back 100% right away,” but that begs the question: he played that well that hurt and you don’t expect him to be better once he’s healthy? I’ve had a mental duel with myself trying to justify both sides of the argument, and in the end, my Marquette bias won out. Sam Hauser should be on this team. I don’t know who you drop for him (or if you just add him, since Jon named Shamorie Ponds Preseason Player of the Year, which means he doesn’t take up one of the five spots on the first team), but no Sam Hauser on this list is some mental gymnastics I can’t quite figure out.

These next three are pretty chalk. It’s nice to see the Marquette mentions, but we all already knew that Joey Hauser would be a big-time freshman and that Joseph Chartouny and Ed Morrow should be difference makers as transfers. Ho hum. Nothing to see here.

It’s also nice to see Brendan Bailey get a shoutout, even if I’m not sure he’ll be as impactful this season. He’s a fairly big wild card in the impact department thanks to his inability to do much training during his Mormon mission, and with a log jam at most spots, it’s hard to project what he will bring to the lineup immediately.

This is the only other one I want to get contentious about. It irks me that Jamal Cain and Greg Elliott are not on this list. I know, I know, they’ll still be backups to the trio of Chartouny, Markus Howard, and Sacar Anim. I get it. But they made huge strides this past year, and they only will get better. Both are top-level defenders and athletes and should make even larger strides on the offensive end this season, and at least warrant mentioning in this bit. I’d probably replace Myles Cale and/or Nate Watson, but it is difficult to leave both of those players off this list to replace them with Jamal and Greg. If I had to pick one, I like Greg a bit more this season. I think Jamal has the higher ceiling, but he has a lot more in the way of competition at his spot to earn minutes. Greg should be the backup point guard and defensive spell for Chartouny, and with two healthy hands and a year of experience, I like the outlook for him in the immediate future.

Welp. I’m done hating on Rothstein now. Or, at least, until he tweets out something else terrible.


Jon Rothstein Twitter idiosyncrasies: tougher than a weekend at your in-laws.