The Big East Tournament kicks off Wednesday afternoon at Madison Square Garden in New York City, running through Sunday evening. Last year’s champion, the Georgetown Hoyas, have fallen mightily and will enter this season’s edition dead last in the Big East without a single win in conference play.
At the top, Providence, Villanova, and UConn enter the postseason with aspirations much bigger than just the Big East, each entering this tournament with first-round byes. Let’s take a closer look at three teams I can see doing some damage this weekend in the Big Apple.
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Big East Conference Tournament
Dates: March 9-13
Venue: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Top Seed: Providence
- 2021 — Georgetown
- 2020 — N/A
- 2019 — Villanova
- 2018 — Villanova
- 2017 — Villanova
- 2016 — Seton Hall
Favorite to Watch
Villanova (+165 at FanDuel Sportsbook)
Having watched three of the past four Big East tournaments, it’s hard to look away from the experience Villanova provides. Led by one of the top coaches (Jay Write) and players (Collin Gillespie) in the country, Villanova does a lot of things great, including leading the nation in free throw % at 82.5%.
Their defensive effort is also among the best in the country, leading the Big East (#36 nationally), allowing just 63.6 points per game. If their three-ball gets going, it’s going to be tough for anyone else to take home this trophy.
Top Live Underdog
UConn (+350 at FanDuel Sportsbook)
Wright might be the best coach in this conference, but Dan Hurley is not far behind. Taking these Huskies to the NCAA Tournament last season in their first in the Big East (his 3rd at UConn), Hurley has led this 22-8 team to their best record since 2013-2014, a year they went to the Final Four.
Ending the regular season #8 in the country in rebounds per game (8), the Huskies led the Big East in points differential per game at +10.4. Led by senior guard RJ Cole, look for the Huskies to make a run in this tournament and be in the conversation come the weekend.
Best Longshot Play
Seton Hall (+1600 at FanDuel Sportsbook)
Finishing the regular season on a five-game win streak, the Pirates were competitive against Villanova and UConn a few weeks ago, with both games on the road. Led by a senior core headlined by Jared Rhoden (16.2 points per game), the Pirates have the experience to compete with any team in this conference when they’re playing well.
Coming into this week, the Pirates also trail just the Huskies and Wildcats in points differential (+7.2), and are very well positioned to make a run in this tournament.
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