By Patrick Herion
The change in the weather is just a coincidence; the first sign of spring still lies only a matter of days away with March Madness. As teams begin to punch their tickets to the “big dance,” the perennial powerhouse Big East Conference has yet to name its champion.
Few teams have been as dominant than the Villanova Wildcats during the 2010’s. They have appeared in the tournament for six straight seasons and have won two national championships. It’s their conference to lose.
With the help of Senior guard Phil Booth, the Wildcats won their 12th regular season conference title. Their season has not been an easy one, especially having lost to six unranked teams during the regular season, including a loss to Seton Hall in the final game of the year. All that aside, this team is the easy favorite to win the conference title but let us not forget about another team that may have a chance to win- the Marquette Golden Eagles.
The sleeper in this conference, the Golden Eagles limp into the tournament with four straight losses all to unranked teams. This string of losses took the regular season title away from the Golden Eagles and right into the hands of Villanova. Putting these games aside, the Golden Eagles have had an excellent season finishing in second place in the conference. They beat a total of four ranked teams during the regular season and also split with Villanova.
But what is a tournament without a spoiler?
That spoiler team is the Creighton Blue Jays who have been on fire during their last five games. They come into the tournament with momentum and start it with a difficult game against potential sleeper Xavier- a team that was routed by Missouri in December. Although they may not be the flashiest team in the conference, Creighton plays a difficult game that allowed them to upset Marquette near the end of the season.
The player to watch in this tournament is none other than the conference’s leading scorer Markus Howard of Marquette. He leads the conference in points per game with 25. He has been the heart and soul of the Marquette offense, and received all-Big East honors. If he can get hot, Marquette can potentially win the conference.
This tournament is Villanova’s to lose, that is why I have them winning this year’s Big East tournament. Marquette may give them a run for their money, but ‘Nova still has the best chance to win.
Predicted champion: Villanova.
Edited by Garrett Jones | firstname.lastname@example.org