Big East Tournament Preview

By Richard Kent
Updated: March 11, 2008

CONNECTICUT — It’s time to look into our crystal ball for a forecast of this week’s Big East men’s basketball tournament at Madison Square Garden. Remember, you heard it here first.

Wednesday’s First Round

Villanova vs. Syracuse: This is the classic No. 8 vs. No. 9 game. Syracuse always seems to play better in the Tournament and had a great win against Marquette this past weekend. Look for the Orange to win against the guard oriented Villanova team.

West Virginia vs. Providence: West Virginia should win this game but Providence is coming off of a big win against UConn and has the outside shooting firepower to win it. West Virginia to win it though.

Pittsburgh vs. Cincinnati: This is no contest. Cincinnati was awful against UConn this past weekend in Storrs. Pittsburgh has a talent but has a few injuries. Look for Pittsburgh to win it easily and to advance in the next round.

Marquette vs. Seton Hall: Seton Hall had an awful loss to Rutgers this past Sunday. They are certainly talented. They are not playing well. Marquette is very athletic. Marquette is a team who many thought could make it to the Final Four earlier in the season. Look for Marquette to contain Brian Laing of Seton Hall and win this one.

Thursday’s Quarterfinals

Villanova vs. Georgetown: There is no doubt that the Hoyas are playing their best basketball of the season. Roy Hibbert is very difficult to stop inside. They should be able to contain a thin Syracuse lineup. Look for Georgetown to advance.

West Virginia vs. Connecticut: Connecticut has as much talent as anyone in the league. They played West Virginia tough the last time that they played and are fortunate to not be playing Providence. Look for them to win in a laugher behind AJ Price.

Pittsburgh vs. Louisville: This should be a close game. Pittsburgh will try to control tempo and keep the game in the 50’s. Louisville will run. Louisville has a shot at a national title and will not get tripped up in the Big East second round. Look for Louisville to win.

Marquette vs. Notre Dame: This should be a great game. It should be up and down the floor for the whole 40 minutes. Marquette has the athletes and Notre Dame has the better players basketball wise. Look for Marquette to win in a squeaker.

Friday’s Semifinals

Connecticut vs. Georgetown: Connecticut is just as talented as Georgetown but Georgetown went to the Final Four last year and has the experience. Look for Hibbert to control Hasheem Thabeet and for the Hoyas to advance to the Final.

Louisville vs. Marquette: Louisville is the better team but they are both athletic. Rick Pitino wants to win it all this year and his team will certainly be motivated after a difficult loss last year in the NCAA’s. Louisville over Marquette.

Saturday’s Championship

Georgetown vs. Louisville: This should be a real barn burner. This is a repeat of a game that took place last weekend but the stakes are much higher right now. Once again this will be a tempo game. If Georgetown is able to execute its offense look for them to win a close game in the 50’s or 60’s. If Louisville is able to get off to an early lead and force Georgetown to run then Louisville can win in the 70’s. Both teams are legitimate Final Four threats.