Ten teams in BIG EAST Conference ready to position themselves ahead of UConn’s return
The BIG EAST Conference celebrates 40 years overall and 37 years of women’s basketball in the 2019-20 season. On Media Day, a lot of time was spent discussing the 2020-21 season and UConn’s return to the conference.
UConn is a founding member of the BIG EAST, along with Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s, Villanova, and Georgetown. At its peak, team like Notre Dame, Louisville, and Syracuse also competed in the conference. However, in 2013 several teams including UConn left the BIG EAST.
“When the old BIG EAST started to break up, it left women’s basketball with question marks for sure. Because all of those programs that had helped build the conference were no longer there anymore,” commissioner Val Ackerman told High Post Hoops om Media Day.
However, there are plenty of things to be excited about for the conference as it stands. DePaul is still the overwhelming favorite, but the rest of the field is wide open. With Carolyn Kieger moving on to coach at Penn State, Marquette have apparently fallen out of favor. The preaseason has them finishing the regular season 9th in the standings. However, Megan Duffy and the Golden Eagles have the Preseason Freshman of the Year, Jordan King.
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Teams like St. John’s, Seton Hall, and Creighton look to be contenders come the end of the season. As always, the BIG EAST has attracted transfers that promise to make the season interesting en route to the Conference Tournament hosted once again at Wingate Trust Arena in Chicago.
Without question, UConn returning to the BIG EAST will change the national profile of the conference. Additionally, the Huskies will enter as overwhelming favorites to win the conference title.
A good performance in 2019-20 will be key for middle of the pack teams like Creighton, Providence, and Butler in particular. This season will be important for positioning in the BIG EAST rankings, and potentially with recruits enticed by the opportunity to play against UConn.