The first day of the Big East Tournament ended and just like that, the better seeds advanced. Well, all the better seeds that is except Connecticut. But we'll get to that. The second round is set, so let's catch you up.
Game 1: #9 South Florida v. #16 DePaul
This game was never close after there was a 2-2 tie. South Florida then jumped out on top and finished the first half ahead 30-15. While USF struggled to score in the first part of the second half, South Florida stayed in control and finished with the win 58-49. Both Will Walker of DePaul and Dominique Jones of USF scored 20 points. Jones also added nine rebounds, four assists, and four steals. USF shot 43.3% from the floor, while DePaul continued their losing ways by shooting 29.9%. Interestingly enough, while DePaul hit 6-25 (24%) from behind the arc, USF went 0-8 from the floor. Literally none of USF's baskets were jump shots. For them to beat Georgetown they will have to get it done besides exclusively in the paint.
Next Game: #9 South Florida v. #8 Georgetown 12:00pm EST (ESPN)
Game 2: #12 Connecticut v. #13 St. John's
They say basketball is a game of runs, and UConn suffered at the hands of several that St. John's had. UConn couldn't seem to get a lot of shots fall, especially from behind the arc. St. John's was up 35-22 at the half, and finished fairly strong in the second as well, to end up beating Connecticut 73-51. St. John's Sean Evans had a game high 19 points and ten rebounds. Connecticut chose not to play some of their biggest stars in the second half for extended stretches. Additionally, not only did they play apathetically when in, but looked even worse while sitting on the bench. Although UConn positioned themselves in decent position to make a run at an NCAA bid, they most definitely gave it up in this game, and are firmly off the bubble.
Next Game: #13 St. John's v. #5 Marquette 2:00pm EST (ESPN)
Game 3: #10 Seton Hall v. #15 Providence
In what I predicted would be the best game of the first round, Seton Hall jumped out to a huge lead, only to see that lead evaporate in the second half. In a game which Providence considered defense optional, the Hall was ahead 55-39 at the half. But SHU failed to keep scoring consistently in the second half. Providence made a good run to close the deficit to five points with 22 seconds remaining. Providence outscored the Hall 67-54 in the second half, but Providence failed to bring it closer than three. The Hall escaped after blowing a 29 point lead 109-106. Jamine Peterson had a game high 38 points and 16 rebounds. Herb Pope was Seton Hall's leading player with 27 points and 11 rebounds. Despite the second half collapse, Seton Hall shot 53.7% on the day, as they head to the second round.
Next Game: #10 Seton Hall v. #7 Notre Dame 7:00pm EST (ESPN)
Game 4: #11 Cincinnati v. #14 Rutgers
In the day's sloppiest game, Cincinnati and Rutgers actually played a close one. It was far from a pleasure to watch though. This game went back and forth, as Rutgers had only a one point lead at the half. Then Cincy was able to get some breathing room on the back of some hot shooting. However, Rutgers closed the gap at the end of the game with good shooting from Mike Rosario who tied the game with just over 15 seconds to go. Then Cincy's Lance Stephenson drove in the lane and was fouled with 1.8 seconds left. He made the first to put them up one, and then wisely missed the second on purpose so that Rutgers wouldn't have time to run down any further and get a good look at the basket. Cincinnati escapes with a one point victory 69-68. Mike Rosario of Rutgers led all scorers with 28 points. Also Rutger's Jonathan Mitchell had 15 points and led their team with ten rebounds. Cincinnati's Lance Stephenson and Jaquon Parker each had 13 points, while Ibrahima Thomas had 13 rebounds for their team. Rutgers actually shot better on the day making 43.1%, while Cincy shot 37.7%. Cincinnati pulled away with a huge rebounding advantage 44 to 28.
Next Game: #11 Cincinnati v. #6 Louisville 9:00pm EST (ESPN)
Hopefully the second round will provide more exciting and competitive basketball games. Anything has to be better when you get rid of a few bottom teams right? The basketball continues from New York at noon.