This article is part of our Conference Preview series.
Last year, I claimed that some team from the Big East needed to make some noise in the NCAA tournament. The BEast was in danger of slipping into mid-major territory, but Villanova put me in my place by rolling to a national championship. The Wildcats beat Kansas, Oklahoma and North Carolina on their way to the team's first championship since 1985. It was an impressive run and I won't mention the m-word again. The conference has plenty of returning talent, but Villanova is once again the clear favorite. The Wildcats have won the regular season championship in each of the three seasons since the conference kicked football to the curb (and became my favorite).
TOP THREE PLAYERS
Josh Hart (G)
Hart may not be the flashiest of players, but there is little he can't do. He led the national champions with 15.5 points per game and his 6.8 rebounds from the backcourt were outstanding. The 6-foot-5 senior also plays staunch defense. His three-point shooting fell to 35.7 percent last year after hitting an unfathomable 46.4 percent from long range as a sophomore. Hart will once again be supported by Kris Jenkins, Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges. The team won't have the services of 6-9 freshman forward Omari Spellman, who was ruled academically ineligible, so Darryl Reynolds will be the main man in the paint (and a nice sleeper) as the team tries to replace Daniel Ochefu.
Trevon Bluiett (G/F)
Like Hart, Bliuett is a well-rounded player who had a nice