Who’s ready for Basketball?
The start of the college basketball season is just around the corner, and Big East Media Day is coming up next week Tuesday! With that in mind, it was time to get the #mubbPAC group of Paint Touches, Anonymous Eagle, and Cracked Sidewalks back together to vote on the various awards and trophies for men’s basketball in the league heading into the 2022-23 season. We’re going to try to approximate the announcements coming out of New York City, so you’ll get a predicted order of finish for all 11 teams, a preseason Player of the Year, a preseason all-Big East team, and a preseason Freshman of the Year.
Let’s just get right to it!
Preseason Big East Player of the Year: Adama Sanogo, Connecticut
Preseason All-Big East Team
Posh Alexander, St. John’s
Caleb Daniels, Villanova
Ryan Kalkbrenner, Creighton
Jack Nunge, Xavier
Adama Sanogo, UConn
Also Receiving Votes: Jared Bynum, Providence; Colby Jones, Xavier; Justin Moore, Villanova; Eric Dixon, Villanova; Ryan Nembhard, Creighton; Tyler Kolek, Marquette; Arthur Kaluma, Creighton; Cam Whitmore, Villanova; Umoja Gibson, DePaul
Here’s the methodology: It’s a ranked ballot for the five man team, 5 points for your top guy, etc. Top five players in points go on the team, and the top guy gets the POY spot. As it stands, Sanogo is the runaway winner here, as he was the only player to show up on all six ballots. To give you an idea of how spread out the voting went here, although the RV department gives you a good picture, Kalkbrenner only appeared on four ballots.
Alan Bykowski, Cracked Sidewalks, on Adama Sanogo: He looks like a walking double-double. Love his size and physicality, though I worry the loss of RJ Cole might leave him without a provider to truly unleash him.
Joe McCann, Cracked Sidewalks, on trying to assemble his top five: My struggle here was: how do I rank Justin Moore? If healthy for a full season, he’s my easy pick for preseason player of the year. He also may not play at all, and if he does he may not be all the way back. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and put him in my top five right behind Sanogo, who averaged just under 15 & 9 last year, and the metrics have Sanogo as the best returning player. I may have Kalkbrenner higher than others, but I just know he’s a menace to play against and will be a big reason Creighton contends.
Preseason Freshman of the Year: Cam Whitmore, Villanova
Whitmore is the #14 player in the Class of 2022, and he got attention from everyone polled, with only one vote not going to him. I’ll let Tim Blair from Cracked Sidewalks explain the situation:
The news on Whitmore’s injury is devastating. At the time of this writing, it is reported that he will be reevaluated in November. Reevaluated, no timetable for a return. If he’s healthy, this is the easiest pick. Since he’s not, I’ll go with Mark Armstrong at Villanova. The Wildcats are thin in the backcourt & need minutes from a point guard. Armstrong will have opportunities.
I suspect that the Big East coaches will already have had their ballots submitted by the time the news of Whitmore’s injury was made public, so it certainly seems like he’ll get the nod when the press release comes out next week. If Whitmore’s evaluation in November means he misses significant time, we may be looking at a situation where he gets the preseason FOY award but comes nowhere close to getting the postseason version of that trophy in March.
Predicted Order Of Finish
1 — Villanova, 59 points
2 — Creighton, 58
3 — Xavier, 57
4 — Connecticut, 52
5 — Marquette, 41
6 — St. John’s, 35
7 — Providence, 26
8 — Butler, 23
9 — Seton Hall, 22
10 — DePaul, 17
11 — Georgetown, 6
The methodology here is simple: Rank your teams, 11 points to first, 1 point to 11th. Yes, Georgetown was picked to finish last on all six ballots. Why is that? I’ll turn the mic over to Phil Bush from the Scrambled Eggs podcast:
Is Ewing still the coach? Oh he is? Can I go lower than 11? No? So then I’ll go with 11.
Villanova won on points, just barely, but as you might expect from the lack of separation, they did not win the majority of the first place votes. Xavier had three votes in the top spot, two went to VU, and the final one went to Creighton. As you can tell, there’s not a real consensus on much here, but I suspect that Andrei Greska over at Paint Touches is very excited to see that our balloting process created multiple tiers amongst the teams. I think Joe McCann had a pretty good insight in what his process was:
What I really wanted to submit here was 1 & 2: Nova and Creighton in some order, 3-10: shrug emoji. 11. Georgetown.
I’ll let Alan and Tim tag-team the thought process for putting the Musketeers in the top spot:
Travis Steele had XU playing like a top-20 team before he remembered he was Travis Steele, and they won the NIT once he got fired. Sean Miller returns the core of that roster while, most importantly, decidedly not being Travis Steele.
Sean Miller walks into a good situation, and capitalizes on it with an influx of talent. Kudos to the X administration for acting decisively and not letting the program go full-Wojo, hot yoga and all.
I am the lone Creighton first place voter, which shouldn’t be a surprise to you if you read my Creighton summer series article. My questions about Xavier merely being better because Sean Miller is there remain, and Cam Whitmore’s injury just makes me doubtful of the Wildcats.
What did we miss? What did we get wrong? Yell about it in the comments, y’all.