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The regular season is over. That means that one of the best events in the sports year will be commencing shortly, and another one of the best starts today. The Big East Tournament is sure to be exciting, amazing, and will decide the tournament fate of Syracuse. I’ll do my best to prognosticate the results of this tournament, and hopefully it will be enough for Syracuse to make the Big Dance. Hopefully it will have some of the best games to watch at the very least.

Round 1 – March 12th

12:00pm #8 Villanova v. #9 Syracuse – I do not normally borrow or steal from other websites when penning my articles, but I read a preview and pick of the game on Storming The Floor, and I have to borrow it word for word because it is perfect. “I love Scottie Reynolds as much as the next guy, and Jay Wright's devilish handsomeness bewitches me just like the next man. Still, it's March, it's MSG, and it's Boeheim. How can you possibly pick 'Nova? PICK: SYRACUSE”. I agree, I like Syracuse as they are clearly a bigger team, the 2-3 Zone will be working well, and Villanova is only shooting just over 30% from long range in Big East games. Scottie Reynolds is averaging less than ten points in the last ten games. I give this game to Syracuse, hoping to parlay this into a trip to the dance. Look for Syracuse to advance to the second round.

2:00pm #5 West Virginia v. #12 Providence – Bob Huggins squad has been hot and cold this year. However, they managed to beat some solid teams and Providence is by no means an elite team in the conference. I have to give it to West Virginia. Bob Huggins wins his first game in the Big East Tournament.

7:00pm #7 Pittsburgh v. #10 Cincinnati – Pittsburgh is the most dangerous team in the Big East Tourny every season. There is a reason they continue to get to the final game on a consistent basis. Cincinnati is on a six game losing streak with the latest at the hands of UConn by a margin of 45 points. I’m obviously taking Pittsburgh in this one.

9:00pm #6 Marquette v. #11 Seton Hall – This is the second most interesting match up in the first round. Seton Hall will surely have some fans travel the short distance from Jersey and has the ability to close a game like no other team in the Big East. Marquette on paper is clearly the better team with a lot of dangerous weapons. I’ll take the sexy pick and go with the Hall on this one. There has to be a few upsets right? I could be totally wrong, but I just think Seton Hall will catch a little ‘Cuse magic in the Garden.

Round 2 – March 13th

12:00pm #9 Syracuse v. #1 Georgetown – Syracuse and Georgetown, the pinnacle of Big East games. The last time Syracuse played Georgetown in the Big East Tournament it was in 2006, when Syracuse happened to also be a nine seed on the bubble. Coincidence? Anyway, Syracuse beat up Georgetown at home, and only lost to them by 4 points in overtime in DC. It is MSG and Syracuse will still be against a wall when it comes to the NCAA. They are also playing their best basketball right now. Syracuse will come out and play a big game and take down the Big East Regular Season Champs. I’m picking the home team.

2:00pm #5 West Virginia v. #4 Connecticut – I have to admit, I did not think UConn would be this good this year. I thought they were destined to another year of mediocrity. However Thabeet blocks a lot of shots and AJ Price was a lot better than I think most people thought he would be. While the West Virginia squad will be scrappy and play a nice game, it will be UConn playing well in New York and perhaps surviving their first day in New York in a few years. I so enjoyed my UConn friends getting off the bus in 2006, playing the game, and getting back on the bus to Connecticut. This time I’m picking UConn.

7:00pm #7 Pittsburgh v. #2 Louisville – Pittsburgh is a tough team, especially in the Big East Tournament. Louisville is one great team though. They have proved to be one of the best, only losing four big east games. Louisville just has too many good folks on their team. I’m taking the a$$hole Rick Patino’s squad.

9:00pm #11 Seton Hall v. #3 Notre Dame – Sadly, I do not think this game will be close. Big East player of the year Luke Harangody will come up big in this game, as the Hall is not a huge team. If the Hall makes it to this game it should prove to be one of the boring games in the tournament. I’m taking ND, though I do not want to.

Semifinal Round – March 14th

7:00pm #9 Syracuse v. #4 Connecticut – I love that I’m making the sexy matches in this tourney bracket. Why not right? Who wouldn’t love to see this game in the garden? However, and I hate to pick against the hometown heroes, I think Syracuse just cannot beat UConn this year in this game. I do think Syracuse could beat UConn if we were playing them on day one of the tourny. However, I just think the fatigue will finally get to the ‘Cuse and UConn will have a good enough game that it will not matter what Syracuse does. I’m taking UConn to go to the championship. Believe me though, I do not want to. I’m hoping Syracuse will surprise me as it has surprised a lot of folks this season. However, if they manage to beat Georgetown I think they are definitely in the NCAA tournament, so there is an upside.

9:00pm #3 Notre Dame v. #2 Louisville – This should also be a great game to watch if it materializes. While Notre Dame has a hot shooter and a solid man down low, I just think Louisville is the superior team. Luke Harangody is not as good as people think he is. He sure couldn’t beat the Syracuse 2-3 Zone. However, Louisville I think will head to the finals.

Championship – March 15th

9:00pm #4 Connecticut v. #2 Louisville – While Syracuse fans will be disappointed I put UConn in this game, feel vindicated in knowing that I am picking L’ville. This is the year that Louisville will go deep in the tournament. I think they could even make it to the Elite Eight. Despite Georgetown beating Louisville in DC, I still think that the Cardinals are the best squad. Louisville won a close game by two points against UConn, and I just cannot Calhoun’s Connvicts pulling this potential game out.
Big East Tournament Champion Pick – Louisville

So there you have my Big East Tournament break down and predictions. While I do not have ‘Cuse riding to the championship game like in 2006, I do have them playing their way into the NCAA. In my scenario Joe Lunardi and Doug Gottlieb can shut the hell up. “America’s Bubble Team” will end up in the tournament. I may be having a grand delusion, but I just sense that this year is different than the last. Or they will be in the NIT, but considering the injuries to the team, and the amount of freshmen playing, the NIT is not so bad anyway. We will all find out part of the puzzle today. Congratulations to Jonny Flynn being voted Co-Big East Rookie of the Year. He has certainly earned it and clearly my lobbying on his behalf helped. Enjoy the Big East Tournament, one of my favorite things, enjoy the rest of Championship Week, and Go Orange!

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