This article is part of our Conference Preview series.
The Big East looks to bounce back from a season in which it only had four teams represent the conference in the NCAA Tournament – just the third time that's happened since realignment occurred starting in the 2013-14 season. That won't be the easiest of tasks, however, with the conference only returning three of its top-10 scorers and many teams going through a bit of a rebuild season. Villanova has more than done its part in representing the conference, winning the National Championship in 2018 and reaching the Sweet 16 last year along with Creighton. The Wildcats' squad won't look quite the same without its star big man, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, but with a trio led by Collin Gillespie, Jermaine Samuels and Justin Moore, Villanova will have plenty of familiar faces and is the clear team to beat in the Big East.
While it's going to be difficult for anyone to challenge Villanova this season, UConn will attempt to do just that with plenty of new faces. Head coach Dan Hurley has his program on the rise in his fourth season. He brings in four top-100 recruits in a 2021 class that is led by Jordan Hawkins (four-star recruit, No. 50 nationally via 247sports), a talented shooting guard that is expected to step into a starting role right away with the departure of James Bouknight to the NBA. Returning to the team is second-leading scorer RJ Cole and the Big East Sixth Man of the Year, Tyler Polley.