- When: March 8th-11th
- Where: Madison Square Garden
- On: FS1
The 38th Big East Tournament will kick off tomorrow at the World’s Most Famous Arena, Madison Square Garden (3 tournaments weren’t at MSG). The bottom four of the standings will kick off a slate of two games that will be played Wednesday night on FS1. Thursday will have a full day of action with an afternoon and evening session that have potential to be great games, again all of FS1. I for one will be taking a half-day of work so I can watch all of the games. Well, if we are being 100% honest I actually thought the Friars would have a good chance at playing in the 2:30 game and wasn’t going to miss it. As Friar fans the Big East Tournament wasn’t always a good time. You don’t have to look too far back to those Keno Davis days of the Big East Tournament, it was a dark time. Either you’d win the first game and then get absolutely destroyed in the second, or just flat out get destroyed in the first game. The past three Big East Tournaments have been fantastic for Friartown. It started with the 2014 Big East Tournament championship for the Friars and then in 2015 and 2016 they won the first game and then lost a competitive bout against Nova. The Providence Friars have 5 wins in their last 3 Big East Tournaments. All this success at MSG I could totally get used to. I have a couple big storylines to get to for the tournament and then we will get to my predictions!
- Will Nova Avenge Last Year’s Tournament?– Although Nova has dominated the regular season recently in the Big East, they always haven’t in the Big East Tournament. Im sure Josh Hart, Kris Jenkins and Jaylen Brunson still have a bad taste in their mouth from their championship defeat last year to Seton Hall (although winning the NCAAs totally made up for it). I see Nova getting by whomever their first opponent will be but I bet Seton Hall or Marquette will give them a game. It should be interesting.
- Will the Big East Get 7 Bids?- In the final weekend of the Big East regular season all of the bubble teams took care of business. It appears according to the analysts the 7 teams are all safe, sans a Xavier loss to DePaul. Every year though there are teams that get snubbed, so if I were one of the bubble teams I wouldn’t be comfortable losing their opener.
- Will We Have a New Winner?– DePaul, Marquette and the three newbies (Creighton, Xavier and Butler) have yet to hoist a Big East Tournament Championship. Will this be the year one of them breaks through? I don’t love DePaul or Xavier’s chances but Marquette, Butler and Creighton all have a good shot.
- Can Butler Get on The Board?– The Butler Bulldogs have yet to win a Big East Tournament game but a great season has earned them the 2 seed this year. I like Butler’s chances on beating either DePaul or Xavier in their opening game. We shall see if Butler can exorcise their MSG demons.
The Opening Round
8 St. John’s Red Storm Over 9 Georgetown Hoyas
A young St. John’s Red Storm will be able to win their first game on their home court, giving them something to look forward to next season. For the Hoyas there will be more questions.
10 DePaul Blue Demons Over 7 Xavier Musketeers
The first upset of the tournament, I see the third time being the charm for Blue Demons over Xavier. Win or lose it will be interesting to see if they keep Dave Leitao. I see them wanting a fresh new start with a new arena. For Xavier they pull off what most thought would be impossible, having to sweat out a NCAA Tournament birth.
The Second Round
1 Villanova Wildcats Over 8 St. John’s Red Storm
The Johnnies joy of winning their opening game will quickly dissipate at the hands of Nova in the noon game. Villanova shouldn’t have any problem with St. John’s.
5 Seton Hall Pirates Over 4 Marquette Golden Eagles
This has the potential to be a great game for the 2:30 matchup. I see Seton Hall’s big three of Delgado, Rodriguez and Carrington being too much to handle for Marquette’s solid group of 5. For Marquette their victory over Nova in the regular season should carry them over the hump for a NCAA Tournament bid.
2 Butler Bulldogs Over 10 DePaul Blue Demons
Butler finally gets off the schneid and wins their first ever Big East Tournament game. Billy Garrett Jr’s college career will come to an end in the second round.
3 Providence Friars Over 6 Creighton Bluejays
This game is going to be epic but you already knew that considering Gus Johnson and Bill Rafftery will be on the call. There will be a lot of great players on display in the nightcap. The Friars win their 7th straight in a thriller.
1 Villanova Wildcats Over 4 Seton Hall Pirates
Villanova avenges their loss to the Pirates in last year’s championship game. I expect the Seton Hall Pirates to make this game much closer than their two games in the regular season. Delgado has to be a beast though for Seton Hall to do so.
3 Providence Friars Over 2 Butler Bulldogs
The Butler Bulldogs end their Big East Tournament win streak at one game. The Friars defensive intensity will show to be too much for Butler to handle. The Friars will be rolling going into the finals vs Villanova.
1 Villanova Wildcats Over 3 Providence Friars
The Friars Big East win streak will end at 8 games in a competitive final vs Villanova. Villanova will just end up making too many plays down the stretch, just like they did in their first two games. The Wildcats avenge last seasons championship loss to the Seton Hall Pirates, potentially having a shot at the #1 overall seed in the NCAAs.
Tournament MVP: Josh Hart, Villanova
Josh Hart solidifies his Big East career with a stellar tournament.
Tournament X-Factor: Isaiah Jackson, Providence
The emergence of Isaiah Jackson has occurred during their 6 game-winning streak, with his ability to drive to the basket and play great D off the bench.
The Dark Horse Team: Seton Hall Pirates
I am really in love with Seton Hall’s big three of Angel Delgado, Desi Rodriguez and Khadeem Carrington. If they can play team basketball they can be a very dangerous team.
Enjoy the Tournament Everybody!