Well what do you know? It’s Championship Week and Syracuse is not on the bubble. Simply amazing. It is a nice feeling knowing that no matter what happens in New York City at the Big East Tournament in all likelihood Syracuse will be in the NCAA Tournament. But no one wants to lay a stinker in the BET on the first day they play. Therefore, below is how I think rounds 2-5 will go for the Big East Tournament.
Round 2 – March 11th
12:00pm #16 DePaul v. #8 Providence – Lightning may have struck once in New York City for DePaul, but do you really think it will happen twice in two days? Granted once upon a time it did for Syracuse, but that was a completely different situation. Providence is going to win this one by a decent margin and advance. You have to think every Providence fan is thrilled with this match up. DePaul is feeling good being in NYC though, so this will be closer than Providence would like, but clearly they should win this one.
2:00pm #13 St. John’s v. #5 Marquette – Marquette has been reeling lately, but rest assured that St. John’s does not have the offensive firepower to keep up with this team. This senior laden team of Marquette should end the hopes of the hometown heroes. Marquette is a fine team and St. John’s could take out a weak Georgetown team, but it will have a lot of trouble with Marquette. Look for them to advance.
7:00pm #10 Notre Dame v. #7 West Virginia – Notre Dame has not been good for most of the year, losing to West Virginia on February 18th. Notre Dame only managed eight wins this season, after being ranked pretty highly early on in the season. West Virginia has played well down the stretch. I have to go with West Virginia and Huggins.
9:00pm #11 Seton Hall v. #6 Syracuse – No way am I taking anyone but Syracuse in this game. Syracuse destroyed the Hall for the last game in 2008 100 to 76. It was not pretty for Seton Hall then and it shouldn’t be for them tonight. The Orange will be meeting its old foe.
Round 3 – March 12th
12:00pm #9 Providence v. #1 Louisville – This is an intriguing match up, must like all of the games in this round. Providence lost big to Louisville in the regular season, and the number 1 seed should be able to dispatch pesky Providence with a little effort. Louisville should advance to the semifinals.
2:00pm #5 Marquette v. #4 Villanova – These two teams split during the regular season and should be one of the best games of the tournament. Both teams have high powered offense and both teams have certifiable stars in this top league. Because of the fact that Marquette dropped for straight, and Villanova has seemed unstoppable as of late, save for their Georgetown slip. Villanova will take this one down.
7:00pm #7 West Virginia v. #2 Pittsburgh – This rivalry game will be exciting and emotions will be running high, but Pittsburgh is clearly the better team in this match. West Virginia would have to play a flawless game and manage to stop DeJuan Blair from scoring at will. Not likely. Look for West Virginia’s run to end here.
9:00pm #6 Syracuse v. #3 Connecticut – This is a tough one to call. Ideally Syracuse would win this game, avenge an earlier loss, and then lose tomorrow to rest for the Big Dance. Practically, I just do not think this is the year that Syracuse can again beat Connecticut in New York City, even though it has been Connecticut’s MO to tank it in New York straight out the game. I’m totally willing to admit I’m wrong if we win this one, but I’m calling Connecticut in a close one. I wouldn’t be surprised if Syracuse did win this one however.
Semifinal Round – March 13th
7:00pm #1 Louisville v. #4 Villanova – I know having the top four picks advance is not that sexy, but there is no doubt in my mind that these team are very good and should win their matches. That being said, this is a tough one to call.
9:00pm #2 Pittsburgh v. #3 Connecticut – Another prime time match that is huge. We all know how hard it is to beat a team three times in a season. Well if Connecticut makes it this far, that should exactly be the case. Connecticut has not played well in New York the last few years and Pittsburgh won both of the regular season matches. The same will happen. Give it to Pitt.
Championship – March 14th
9:00pm #4 Villanova v. #2 Pittsburgh – This will probably be a boring tournament final in New York City. However, one of Pitt’s three losses is to Villanova. This team will play tough, but Blair, Fields, and Wannamaker should beat the boys from Philly. As I said, I have a feeling Pittsburgh will be all over Villanova on the neutral MSG court so this should not be close, but you never know. Either way, Pitt should win this one.
Big East Tournament Champion Pick – Pittsburgh
So there you have it. Another year of predictions that are probably wrong, despite me being very close on most of the games throughout the regular season. Either way it should be a fun tournament and I look forward to Syracuse giving us a fun game to watch tonight, along with a lot of other entertaining games to watch. Frankly I didn’t think there would be entertaining games yesterday, but sure enough there were. Either way, look for complete recaps from every day of the tournament, and even though I will be on Spring Break, I’ll break down my bracket and picks for how the Big East will do. Also look for our weekly lacrosse feature coming soon. Until next time, enjoy some quality basketball.