BIG EAST Places Six In The Postseason
For the second straight year, six of the 10 BIG EAST teams will be playing in the postseason. Five -- Villanova, Xavier, Seton Hall, Providence and Butler -- are going to the NCAAs and Creighton is playing in the NIT. In the three seasons of the BIG EAST’s 10-team alignment, eight of the 10 teams have played in at least one NCAA Tournament. The BIG EAST has averaged five NCAA bids in the last three years.
Villanova, Xavier Take No. 2 Seeds
Villanova, the BIG EAST regular-season champion, and second-place Xavier each earned No. 2 seeds in the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats are 29-5 overall, while the Musketeers are 27-5. Seton Hall, the BIG EAST Tournament champion, is a No. 6 seed. Providence and Butler are No. 9 seeds.
Seton Hall Captured BIG EAST Tournament Crown
For the first time since 1993, Seton Hall won the BIG EAST Tournament title. The third-seeded Pirates edged No. 1 seed Villanova 69-67 in the final at a soldout Madison Square Garden on Saturday, March 12. The Hall’s Isaiah Whitehead won the Dave Gavitt Trophy as the Most Outstanding Player. Seton Hall has won 12 of its last 14 games. Head coach Kevin Willard shared BIG EAST Coach of the Year honors with Villanova’s Jay Wright. The Pirates are making their first NCAA appearance since 2006.
BIG EAST Finished Non-Conference Play With A 96-30 Mark
Villanova’s 83-67 win over Temple on Feb. 17 completed the BIG EAST’s non-league schedule for the regular season. BIG EAST squads compiled a 96-30 (.762) mark against non-conference competition. Last season, the league was a combined 94-30 (.758) in the 2014-15 regular season.
Providence’s Dunn, Marquette’s Ellenson Win Player, Freshman Honors
Providence guard Kris Dunn won BIG EAST Player of the Year honors for a second straight season. Last year, he shared the award with Villanova’s Ryan Arcidiacono. This season, Dunn averaged 16.3 points, 6.4 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 2.7 steals in the regular season. He was also named BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season. Dunn is the only guard in BIG EAST history to be named Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the same seasons. Marquette forward Heny Ellenson was picked BIG EAST Freshman of the Year. He ranked third in the league in scoring with a 16.8 mark and was first in rebounding at 8.0. He was named BIG EAST Freshman of the Week eight times. He also made All-BIG EAST First Team, the first freshman to earn that honor since Syracuse’s Carmelo Anthony in 2002-03.