First Four Out
Seton Hall: Winning right away in the Big East won’t be easy, but Shaheen Holloway might be up to the task. This Pirates team could be absolutely terrifying defensively. Kadary Richmond really came on as the season progressed, and the addition of Saint Peter’s transfer KC Ndefo is huge. Seton Hall should be very switchable defensively and force a lot of turnovers.
Stanford: Harrison Ingram is the reigning Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, and he could take a big jump into becoming one of the Pac-12’s best in 2022-23. But Stanford has a ton of returning talent like Spencer Jones, Brandon Angel and Michael O’Connell. Keep an eye out on Davidson transfer Michael Jones who can shred the nets from downtown.
Providence: Kentucky transfer Bryce Hopkins and South Carolina transfer Devin Carter have the chance to be All-Big East players for Ed Cooley.
Iowa State: TJ Otzelberger probably likes it this way. Iowa State was projected to finish at the basement of the Big 12 last year and surprised everyone on its way to the Sweet 16. Yet again, the Cyclones are outside of the NCAA Tournament picture ahead of the season. Iowa State has a chance to be the best defense in the country thanks to the addition of St. Bonaventure transfer Osun Osunniyi.
Last Four In
St. John’s: St. John’s has a chance to be really nasty defensively. posh alexander and Andre Curbelo are two, hounding point-of-attack defenders, and long, athletic wing David Jones can be a threat in the passing lanes. But can St. John’s shoot? That’s one of the huge questions.
Saint Mary’s: Logan Johnson and Alex Ducas are two of the biggest pieces to return for a Saint Mary’s team that should be extremely competitive. There’s no reason why Randy Bennett can’t have the Gaels extremely competitive in the WCC yet again.
Florida State: This Seminoles team is loaded and primed for a major breakout season if Matthew Cleveland can reach his potential and they can finally stay healthy for most of the year. The injury bug was treacherous last year for Florida State, and it’s not off to a good start in 2022-23. Florida State lost Brown transfer Jaylan Gainey to a season-ending injury. But Cleveland has plenty of help thanks to the return of Caleb MillsCam’Ron Fletcher, Naheem McLeod and Jalen Warley. Keep an eye out for UCF transfer Darin Green Jr. who should be an instant 3-and-D veteran, and freshman Baba Miller could be a superstar one day.
Rutgers: Paul Mulcahy is one of the Big Ten’s best point guards, but he flies under the radar because he doesn’t make a ton of super sexy plays. But Rutgers will go as far as big man Cliff Omoruyi takes it. Omoruyi’s catch radius at the tin is absolutely insane. Throw it anywhere close to the backboard, and Omoruyi can go get it. But he’ll be tasked with creating some more of his own offense in Year 3. Rutgers might not light up the scoreboard, but Mulcahy, Caleb McConnell and Omoruyi form a three-headed monster defensively.