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November 2, 2006
Big East Preview: Season of change
• Preseason Top 25
• All-Big East Team
• The College Basketball Wire
Get the inside scoop on your favorite team:
No conference may be undergoing more change than the Big East - at least in terms of personnel.
A season after expanding to 16 teams and having a record eight reach the NCAA Tournament, nearly every squad looks different – much different.
Eighteen of the top 20 scorers are gone. Thirteen teams lost their leading scorer. Connecticut and West Virginia lost five starters apiece.
However, all the departed players are being replaced by an overwhelming amount of talent.
Connecticut landed one of the nation's biggest and best recruiting classes, an eight-man group that ranked No. 3 in Rivals.com's 2006 team rankings. UConn's incoming class includes five players that received at least four stars from Rivals.com.
Villanova (six) and West Virginia (seven) combined to sign 13 recruits. Cincinnati put together a seven-man class as well, full of five junior college transfers.
Syracuse is one of the few programs to return a veteran-laden squad, but its best player may be a freshman. Five-star guard Paul Harris was selected the league's preseason rookie of the year by the coaches.
Gonzalez and Cronin both have previous head-coaching experience in the mid-major ranks - at Manhattan and Murray State, respectively. Hill has been a lifelong assistant, working on Big East staffs at Rutgers, Seton Hall and Villanova.
Find out what kind of impact all the newcomers will have in our 2006-07 Big East preview.