For the 30th straight season, Madison Square Garden will play host to the Big East Tournament, which begins on March 6th. While Syracuse is the clear favorite at this point, UConn proved last season that anything can happen when tournament play tips off.
Big East Tournament Info
Tournament Site: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Tournament Dates and TV Coverage:
- First Round: Tuesday, March 6th at 12:00, 2:00, 7:00, and 9:00 (ESPN2/ESPNU)
- Second Round: Wednesday, March 7th at 12:00, 2:00, 7:00, and 9:00 (ESPN)
- Quarterfinals: Thursday, March 8th at 12:00, 2:00, 7:00, and 9:00 (ESPN)
- Semifinals: Friday, March 9th at 7:00 and 9:00 (ESPN)
- Championship: Saturday, March 10th at 9:00 (ESPN)
Seeding/Bracket Notes: The top four seeds receive a double-bye to the Quarterfinals on Thursday, March 8th. Seeds five through eight receive a bye to the Second Round on Wednesday, March 7th.
Big East Tournament Outlook
With less than two weeks remaining in the regular season, Syracuse has all but sewn up the top seed with a 14-1 conference record. The Orange have relied on their tremendous depth this season, with 10 players averaging double-digit minutes and seven of them averaging at least 6.8 points. Senior Kris Joseph (14.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg) leads the team in scoring and is the only Syracuse player logging over 30 minutes per game, while Dion Waiters has been college basketball’s best sixth man and averages 12.0 points in just 23.6 minutes per contest.
Six other teams have three, four, or five losses as they battle for the double-bye to the Quarterfinals, so the remaining regular season games will prove critical for tournament positioning.
Marquette has the second-best profile of any team in the league and has won 10 of their last 11 games. Senior leaders Darius Johnson-Odom (18.6 ppg, 2.9 apg, 40.3 3P%) and Jae Crowder (16.7 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 2.3 spg) give the Golden Eagles an impressive one-two punch.
Notre Dame head man Mike Brey deserves serious consideration for Coach of the Year after helping the Irish overcome the early loss of star forward Tim Abromaitis. After a slow start, the Irish have won eight straight with essentially a six-man rotation.
Georgetown and Louisville should also be tough outs in the tournament. The Hoyas have been one of the season’s biggest surprises thanks to an efficient defense and a solid mix of youth and experience. Louisville is finally hitting their stride after an early glut of injuries and poor shooting. The Cardinals have won seven of their last eight, with the lone loss coming by one point to Syracuse.
Throw in teams like Cincinnati, Seton Hall, and West Virginia who have shown flashes this season, as well as a talented but underachieving UConn squad and upstart South Florida, and you have a loaded field that should be good for five fantastic days of hoops. Be warned though, you are likely in for a nauseating number of references to how this will be the last Big East Tournament as we know it based on the pending departures of Pitt, Syracuse, and West Virginia.
Big East Tournament History: Past Champions and MVPs
|Date||Big East Champion||Score||Runner-Up||MVP|
|1980||Georgetown||87-81||Syracuse||Craig Shelton, Georgetown|
|1981||Syracuse||83-80*||Villanova||Leo Rautins, Syracuse|
|1982||Georgetown||72-54||Villanova||Eric Floyd, Georgetown|
|1983||St. John's||85-77||Boston College||Chris Mullin, St. John's|
|1984||Georgetown||82-71*||Syracuse||Patrick Ewing, Georgetown|
|1985||Georgetown||92-80||St. John's||Patrick Ewing, Georgetown|
|1986||St. John's||70-69||Syracuse||Dwayne Washington, Syracuse|
|1987||Georgetown||69-59||Syracuse||Reggie Williams, Georgetown|
|1988||Syracuse||85-68||Villanova||Sherman Douglas, Syracuse|
|1989||Georgetown||88-79||Syracuse||Charles Smith, Georgetown|
|1990||Connecticut||78-65||Syracuse||Chris Smith, UCONN|
|1991||Seton Hall||74-62||Georgetown||Oliver Taylor, Seton Hall|
|1992||Syracuse||56-54||Georgetown||Alonzo Mourning, Georgetown|
|1993||Seton Hall||103-70||Syracuse||Terry Dehere, Seton Hall|
|1994||Providence||74-64||Georgetown||Michael Smith, Providence|
|1995||Villanova||94-78||Connecticut||Kerry Kittles, Villanova|
|1996||Connecticut||75-74||Georgetown||Victor Page, Georgetown|
|1997||Boston College||70-58||Villanova||Scoonie Penn, Boston College|
|1998||Connecticut||69-64||Syracuse||Khalid El-Amin, UCONN|
|1999||Connecticut||82-63||St. John's||Kevin Freeman, UCONN|
|2000||St. John's||80-70||Connecticut||Bootsy Thonton, St. John's|
|2001||Boston College||79-57||Pittsburgh||Troy Bell, Boston College|
|2002||Connecticut||74-65*||Pittsburgh||Caron Butler, UCONN|
|2003||Pittsburgh||74-56||Connecticut||Julius Page, Pittsburgh|
|2004||Connecticut||61-58||Pittsburgh||Ben Gordon, UCONN|
|2005||Syracuse||68-59||West Virginia||Hakim Warrick, Syracuse|
|2006||Syracuse||65-61||Pittsburgh||Gerry McNamara, Syracuse|
|2007||Georgeton||65-42||Pittsburgh||Jeff Green, Georgetown|
|2008||Pittsburgh||74-65||Georgetown||Sam Young, Pittsburgh|
|2009||Louisville||76-66||Syracuse||Jonny Flynn, Syracuse|
|2010||West Virginia||60-58||Georgetown||Da'Sean Butler, WVU|
|2011||Connecticut||69-66||Louisville||Kemba Walker, UCONN|
|2012||Louisville||50-44||Cincinnati||Peyton Siva, Louisville|
Click to see Andy’s complete Championship Week Preview.