MBB : Big East tournament breakdown

first_img Comments 1. Pittsburgh — 27-4 (15-3 Big East)The Panthers are projected as a No. 1 seed by almost every bracket prognosticator. But in their past nine games, the Panthers haven’t been the same dominant team. On the road against a Syracuse team at Madison Square Garden, expect the Orange to get revenge for its earlier loss.Projected finish: Semifinals2. Notre Dame — 25-5 (14-4)Notre Dame is playing for a No. 1 seed. And a Big East championship is what we are predicting from a scrappy but mature Fighting Irish squad. Notre Dame defeats SU in the finals thanks to 3s they failed to make the first time around (33 percent).AdvertisementThis is placeholder textProjected finish: Champions3. Louisville — 23-8 (12-6)Louisville is fighting for an opportunity to move up from a No. 4 seed, where they are slated now by ESPN.com. In a semifinal rematch with Notre Dame, Kyle Kuric won’t find the Garden rims nearly as friendly in the clutch.Projected finish: Semifinals4. Syracuse — 25-6 (12-6)SU is probably playing for a No. 2 seed in the East Region, with stops in Orange-friendly Washington, D.C., and Newark, N.J. A trip to the finals would secure that. But first SU must get by — most likely — St. John’s and Pitt. We think they will before losing in the championship.Projected finish: Finalists5. St. John’s — 20-10 (12-6)Here’s the home team, and for the first time since the days of Marcus Hatten, SJU has a shot at the title. A reason to believe: SJU knocked off four Top 10 teams on this court. But a Top 10 team it didn’t knock off — Syracuse — lurks in the quarterfinals.Projected finish: Quarterfinals6. Cincinnati — 24-7 (11-7)Cincy has proven it can play with just about anybody in the league, surprising those who predicted the Bearcats to finish in the bottom half of the league in the preseason. UC has the inside-outside scoring combination to do some damage in New York City.Projected finish: Second round7. West Virginia — 20-10 (11-7)West Virginia’s miracle finish against Louisville on Saturday gives the Mountaineers a lot of momentum. WVU has a lot of veteran leadership and solid rotation, which usually combine for postseason success in the Big East.Projected finish: Quarterfinals8. Georgetown — 21-9 (10-8)Senior point guard Chris Wright remains day to day and might not be available for the Hoyas until the NCAA Tournament. Without him, guards Jason Clark and Austin Freeman will need to step up their games to an even higher level.Projected finish: Second round9. Connecticut — 21-9 (9-9)The Huskies have lost four of five entering postseason play. But with arguably the league’s best player, Kemba Walker, anything is possible. With two wins, UConn could move into a top-four seed in the NCAA Tournament.Projected finish: Quarterfinals10. Villanova — 21-10 (9-9)The Wildcats are reeling after their fourth loss in a row and sixth of eight overall. Still, as proven earlier this season, Nova has the ability to play with and even beat some of the Big East’s top teams.Projected finish: Quarterfinals11. Marquette — 18-13 (9-9)The Golden Eagles are the 11th and final Big East team currently projected to make the field of 68, according to ESPN.com’s bracketology. They’re currently sitting pretty as a No. 10 seed in the projection, but they could use at least one win to assure themselves of a bid.Projected finish: Second round12. Seton Hall — 13-17 (7-11)The Pirates could make some noise, as they have played good teams well since the return of Jeremy Hazell. He’s looking for a big send-off in his senior swan song.Projected finish: Second round13. Rutgers — 14-16 (5-13)The Scarlet Knights have won two of their last 11 contests. Don’t expect that to pick up in postseason play. Rutgers will be one and done in the Big East tournament.Projected finish: First round14. Providence — 15-16 (4-14)Providence lost only two games out of the Big East before the incredible weakness of the nonconference schedule hit the Friars. Their only win in their last eight games came in a one-point triumph over Rutgers. Their only hope is for Marshon Brooks to win a game single-handedly, which he could.Projected finish: First round15. South Florida — 9-22 (3-15)The Bulls are an abysmal 304th in the nation in points scored. They have scored more than 60 points only once in their last eight games. Though Villanova is struggling, no contest there.Projected finish: First round16. DePaul — 7-23 (1-17)Jerry Wainwright’s best accomplishment as the head coach of the Blue Demons was a shocking first-round Big East win. Something Oliver Purnell likely does not have a chance to do this year against Connecticut.Projected finish: First round Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Published on March 7, 2011 at 12:00 pmlast_img