Big East Tournament Preview
The road to the Big Dance for teams in the Big East begins on Tuesday with the start of the Big East Tournament.
Early projections for the NCAA Tournament have eight teams coming out of the Big East. What that really means is that for half of the conference the only way they’re going to get into the Madness is to win the Big East tourney.
The favorites in the tourney are of course the Top 4 seeds – No. 1 Syracuse, No. 2 Pittsburgh, No. 3 West Virginia, and No. 4 Villanova.
Syracuse is not entering the tournament the way they’d hoped. Heading into their regular season finale on Saturday Syracuse was the No. 1 team in the nation. They kissed that ranking goodbye after being upset by Louisville for the second time this season.
The Orange were a 1-point road favorite at Bovada and fell to the Cardinals 78-68. Syracuse only lost three times this season (twice to Louisville, and to Pittsburgh), so going on a run to win the tournament shouldn’t be too difficult - as long as they don’t run into Louisville or Pitt.
No. 2 seed Pittsburgh heads into the tourney having won three in a row and eight of their last nine. Their first opponent will be Seton Hall, Providence, or Notre Dame, depending how the cards fall. The Panthers may be hoping for Providence because they lost to both Seton Hall and Notre Dame during the regular season.
West Virginia is also on a three-game winning streak entering the tournament. Their first opponent will either be Cincinnati, Rutgers, or Louisville. No problems there for the Mountaineers, who were a combined 3-0 against those teams this season.
Villanova is slumping badly entering the tournament and needs to right the ship before the Big Dance. The Wildcats are a poor 2-4 in their last six games and lost their finale to West Virginia. They get Connecticut, St. John’s, or Marquette in their opener. The Huskies were the only team from that trio to beat them this season.