By Adam Rosen
When the month turns to March, the season has officially begun. Conference tournaments, 31 to be exact, start, and one of the most intriguing is the Big East.
As always, the tournament will be held in the “world famous” Madison Square Garden. When the dust settles, one of 10 teams will be granted an automatic bid for the “dance.” But, there’s a load of talent in this tournament that makes the Big East one of, if not the, deepest conference in Men’s College Basketball.
For the players to watch, there’s the obvious culprits in Myles Powell and Markus Howard, the two consensus best players in the conference and arguably two of the best in the country.
But, look out for Villanova forward Saddiq Bey. Bey is averaging 16 points per game, good enough for fifth in the conference.
Overall, Villanova is the most complete team in the conference, as they have been for the last several years. I think Jay Wright is the best coach in college basketball because of the way he can prepare for games, and without having any bonafide superstars, he’s a master of player development and he always keeps his team in games.
With that, there is no reason to expect any less from them when they show up to MSG for the Big East tournament.
But there are a couple candidates who could potentially upset the Wildcats. Seton Hall is obviously up there, led by Myles Powell, who is second in scoring in the entire conference. They’re currently ranked eighth in the AP poll but, with their recent home loss to Villanova, they should drop in the rankings.
Marquette is a team that consistently makes the tournament, but it’s basically just Markus Howard. If teams lock him up, they don’t have a second option, and they’ll get dominated. They’re not a darkhorse, nor a team I would say can beat Nova.
Butler to me, has the highest chance along with Seton Hall to take down Villanova, but those are teams that I still don’t see as big of a threat as Providence.
The Friars are on the bubble of being a nine or a ten seed in the big dance. They’re overlooked by many, and that’s what makes them dangerous. Right now they stand at fourth in the conference, sitting at 18-12 on the season.
If guard Alpha Diallo, their leading scorer, can get hot and big man Nate Watson can take over in the paint, the Friars can be dangerous and could not only make a deep run in the Big East tournament, but they can also be a bracket buster once the Madness begins.
But for now, Villanova is the clear-cut favorite in my eyes. The Wildcats have owned this conference for a while now, and until further notice, they still own it.
Edited by Emma Moloney | firstname.lastname@example.org