Bracket Brief: Big East Tournament preview
The final Big East-as-we-know-it Tournament begins today with a pair of games that aren't remarkable. However it sets the stage for the five day gauntlet that has become one of the most competitive conference tournaments in the nation.
Today we get Seton Hall-South Florida and Rutgers-DePaul. Tomorrow is when the fun really begins. The Big East Tournament gets bubblelicious with Providence-Cincinnati early in the day followed by Villanova-St. John's in the evening. Villanova looks to be in good shape but it's dicey for Cincinnati and even moreso for Providence. In between Syracuse will face the winner of the Seton Hall-South Florida game. The Orange lost four of five to end the season and an early exit in New York could mean Syracuse is ripe for an early exit in the NCAA Tournament as well.
By winning a share of the regular season title Marquette gets a double bye and won't play until Thursday. The Golden Eagles appear to be locked in to a #4 seed but as we've seen in the past the selection committee always overrates the Big East Tournament so a deep run could vault Marquette to a #3. Also of note is the Georgetown game. The Hoyas face the Providence-Cincy winner which will have bubble implications again. But there's plenty at stake for Georgetown too. The Hoyas, with a deep run, could grab a #1 seed based on what happens to the likes of Indiana and Kansas. One thing is certain, Madison Square Garden will once again provide plenty of storylines heading into Selection Sunday.
Back to today. Three more automatic bids will be awarded as the NEC, the Summit League and the Horizon League hold their championship games. That will bring the automatic bid total to 13.