By John Rader on March 11, 2014
Madison Square Garden plays host to the Big East Tournament beginning tomorrow at 7 p.m. ET. The old Big East provided several memorable games and moments; Syracuse's six-overtime win over UConn, Kemba Walker willing his underdog team to the Big East Title and many more. Although the new Big East does not possess some of the big names many are accustomed to, it is still deep and will provide for one of the more exciting conference tournaments.
Both teams enter the tournament struggling. Butler lost seven straight before winning their last two games of the season. Seton Hall lost seven of their last nine including two losses to Butler. Since Butler handled both games of the season series they will have a slight edge.
Prediction: Butler wins 67-56.
DePaul has lost 12 of its last 13 games, nine of which by double digits. Georgetown stumbled a bit down the stretch, but they did beat Creighton in their second to last game. Unless there is a major upset, Georgetown will cruise into the second round.
Prediction: Georgetown wins 80-62.
The teams split their two regular season matchups, including a double overtime thriller back in mid-January. Both teams enter the tournament playing well, but St. John’s long defense will affect the shooting of Providence. They rank first in the nation with 7.6 blocks per game.
Prediction: St. John’s wins 73-69.
Marquette enters the tournament playing well but struggling to win games, losing three straight. But the last two games were decided in double overtime. The teams split their regular season matchups, each team winning at home. Both teams struggled in neutral site and away games, Marquette 5-10 and Xavier 5-8. Basketball in March is about closing out games.
Prediction: Xavier wins 82-81.
Creighton is seventh in the nation in shooting percentage at .496 percent and have potential player of the year, Doug McDermott. Georgetown has played them as well as anyone this season and split the season series. They held McDermott to 17 points per game, 10 off his season average, and limited Creighton to a .395 field goal percentage and a .340 three-point percentage, both well below their season average.
Prediction: Georgetown wins 75-67.
Besides Creighton, no one in the Big East has had an answer for Jay Wright and Villanova. They enter the tournament having won 12 of their last 13 and look poised to make a run in the tournament. While Butler has enjoyed the Cinderella story of late, it’s likely the clock strikes midnight before they get started.
Prediction: Villanova wins 82-65.
The teams split their regular season matchups, but Georgetown won the more recent meeting. The teams are very similar statistically and the last possession will decide the game.
Prediction: Georgetown wins 74-73.
St. John’s is playing very well right now and is capable of beating anyone. Villanova possesses one of the deepest teams in the entire country. The game will come down to the three-point line; if Villanova is making shots from the perimeter, they will win easily as St. John’s will struggle to keep up.
Prediction: Villanova wins 68-62.
This would have all the makings of a classic Big East Tournament Championship at Madison Square Garden. Coach Jay Wright will have the luxury of splitting valuable minutes between eight or nine different players while Georgetown will be playing their fourth game in four days.
Prediction: Villanova wins 67-64.
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