All, it is finally March. You know what that means. Big East Tournament time. From 12pm Thursday through the first weekend of March Madness is honestly one of my favorite times as a sports fan. With Providence having a historic season, it is going to be that much better.
Below, we break down the Big East Tournament, give a rundown of the weekend activities, and provide predictions
Big East Tournament Visitor’s Guide
For Providence fans, there are traditionally two pubs that Friar fans frequent for the Big East Tournament: Jack Dempsey’s and Mustang Harry’s. The Crier and I will inevitably be found in one of those two throughout the weekend. Give us a shout if you are around. First round on us.
Even though it is not a PC-specific gathering, I’d also recommend you check out the trio of bars located adjacent to each other: Stout, Celtic Rail, and Feile. The energy in these places before games, during games, and after games during Big East Tournament is electric. There really is nothing like Manhattan during the Big East Tournament.
Wednesday Night: I think Xavier knocks off Butler in a rather easy one for them. St. John’s wins against DePaul, but that one is tough to read. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Johnnies win; however, I could also see DePaul making a Georgetown-like run from last year. Seton Hall beats Georgetown, capping off a historic year for the Hoyas (in all the wrong ways).
Thursday: Providence does the clean sweep of Xavier. It will be tough sledding, but I think the quick turnaround for Xavier at 12pm Thursday after the game against Butler causes Providence to pull away in the second half. In other match-ups, Marquette takes down Creighton rather easily. I think Creighton’s story is incredible; however, they’ll miss Nembhard in what will likely be a high scoring affair.
On the other side of the bracket, Villanova beats St. John’s. This is one I am watching closely. I’ve been bullish on St. John’s all year, and I think they have what it takes to upset the Wildcats. This will be a close one. In the last match-up, UConn takes down Seton Hall in a very physical, low scoring match-up.
Friday: This will probably be the loudest MSG environment for a Big East Tournament semi-final in my recent memory. UConn being back in a historic Friday night match-up against Villanova is all you can ask for. On the other side of the bracket, Providence fans turn MSG into Dunk South. Both games are going to be heavyweight bouts, and I think Providence pulls out a win over Marquette, with Villanova pulling out a win over UConn.
Saturday: Providence slayed one dragon this year already in winning their first ever Big East Conference championship. Now, it is time to slay another dragon by finally beating Villanova in a Big East Tournament championship match. I think Providence pulls it off and beats Villanova in another classic. Friars quiet the critics with a regular season and conference tournament Big East title heading into the NCAA Tournament.
Wednesday: This may come as a surprise but I actually see Butler upsetting Xavier in the first game of the night. Travis Steele is 1-3 in his career in the Big East Tournament and despite a strong performance against Georgetown, the Musketeers aren’t playing great basketball right now. St. John’s have the talent to make a run but their path isn’t great. Could the players see the writing on the wall? Give me DePaul. In the night cap Seton Hall takes care of Georgetown.
Thursday: BOC and I have made it to NYC and so have the Friars. PC has history of blowing Butler out in the tournament and I see the same happening here. The rest does PC wonders and they get the win in the first game of the day. Have a feeling the second game on Thursday will be the most entertaining. Creighton really impressed me this past week, even if they only went 1-1. Alex O’Connell has been pretty good against Marquette, averaging 15 ppg in 2 games. Give me the Jays in Shaka’s Big East tournament debut, in a barnburner. Villanova will take care of DePaul with ease to start the second session. The nightcap between UConn and Seton Hall should be a good one. The two games they played this season were decided by 8 points total. Bryce Aiken was huge in the win vs the Huskies and he probably will miss this one. Yet I like the Pirates getting the upset over the Huskies, Obiagu/Samuels vs Sanogo will decide this one.
Friday: The Friday night semi finals should bring plenty of drama. I expect Coach McDermott to make plenty of adjustments from the first meeting and will give Providence all they can handle. I like the Friars winning a close one against the Jays to advance to the final. Villanova and Seton Hall have played in some great Big East Tournament games of late and expect nothing different in this one. Despite getting swept in the regular season the Pirates are playing great basketball right now. Look for the Pirates to score the massive upset.
Saturday: I know it’s not the final Friar fans would hope for but PC Seton Hall would make a great final. Seton Hall is salivating at the chance to get Providence again. This time they will have more of a full roster, although who knows where Aiken stands, and thus no excuses. PC completed their first goal of winning their first Big East regular season title, their second goal is to cut down the nets at MSG. PC wins the title and the haters shut up.