BIG EAST Conference preview: Title runs through either Marquette or DePaul

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A countdown to our pick to win it all in the BIG EAST.

Here is your BIG EAST Conference Preview ahead of tip-off on the 2018-19 season. Again, the way through the BIG EAST appears to be through reigning champions DePaul and co-regular season conference leaders Marquette.

Across the conference, big names that helped propel the BIG EAST to prominence are entering their senior year. Four members of the most historic conference in basketball (@elindsay08 for the haters) made it to the NCAA Tournament, another four played in the WNIT Tournament.

Look for the brightest stars to shine even brighter, and for new names to pop up among the newcomers across the BIG EAST.

BIG EAST 101

The BIG EAST Conference was established in 1979 but is in its sixth season post-realignment.  Ten teams across the east coast and midwest compete in the conference headed up by legendary sports executive Val Ackerman. She is the fifth commissioner of the BIG EAST.

Related Story: Val Ackerman chats Women's Hoops, start of the WNBA

Under her leadership, the BIG EAST has continued to grow its reputation for quality competition on and off the court. The BIG EAST Conference celebrated is Third Annual Transition Game program as a way to prepare upperclassmen for their careers ahead. “I like being part of that messaging with students and student athletes, commissioner Ackerman told High Post Hoops last month, referring to the importance of the Transition Game events.

Additionally, the BIG EAST hosted the first-ever Broadcast Boot Camp in January as an extension of the core mission of the conference. To Ackerman, these programs are the foundation of her work as an NCAA commissioner.

“I enjoy that aspect of this work … in college sports because you really are part of the effort to get these young people ready to be the next generation of leaders at a time when our country needs problem solvers, and we need champions, and we need people with positive mantras,” Ackerman said.

“And it’s my hope we can get those out of our student athletes. I think there’s good training that’s as good a pool as we have to solve. You know to sort of take our country to the to a better place is how I look at it.”

The BIG EAST is no doubt building a strong foundation and setting itself apart at a time where the news coming out of college sports programs is often bleak.

However, that is not to take away from what the BIG EAST teams are doing on the court. This year, both Marquette and DePaul broke the top 20 of the AP Women’s college basketball preseason rankings. Take a look at a brief overview of the 2018-19 schools competing for a BIG EAST title come March 2019. Enjoy this countdown to the top team according to the 2018 BIG EAST Preseason Poll.

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