Creighton has a great opportunity to potentially be the no. 2 seed in the Midwest region for the NCAA tournament. Therefore, they must take care of business in the Big East Tournament. They very well could be without their best player Marcus Zegarowski for the entire tournament. Ty-Ashon Alexander will need to elevate his game to a higher level and handle the basketball consistently. They also need Mitch Ballock to be the consistent secondary scorer. The x-factor for Creighton is Christian Bishop with his athleticism and ability to be a major scoring factor around the basket. For Creighton, health is their biggest concern entering the Big East Tournament in preparing for the NCAA tournament.
Jay Wright has had inconsistency with this team throughout the season, but is still primed to have a potentially great postseason. The key for Villanova is having Collin Gillespie leading the way at full health and distributing the ball on offense. The Wildcats also need very good play from their freshmen in Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Justin Moore who are emerging. In addition, getting consistent scoring from Jermaine Samuels will be important for Villanova’s success. The x-factor for Villanova is Cole Swider who can come off the bench to stretch defenses with his shooting. If Villanova can find the consistency they are very talented with an opportunity to win the Big East Tournament and advance deep into the NCAA tournament.
3. Seton Hall
Kevin Willard’s team must deliver in the Big East Tournament to set themselves up for the NCAA Tournament. They need Myles Powell to be very consistent as their scorer, as well as continue to get major production from Sandro Mamukelashvili with his versatility to score inside and out. The ball pressure of Quincy McKnight is key for Seton Hall along with the rim protection of Romaro Gill. Next, the x-factor for Seton Hall is Jared Rhoden whose versatility on the wing is very important for Seton Hall’s trajectory. If Seton Hall gets the best from Myles Powell they will win the Big East Tournament and advance far in the NCAA tournament.
Ed Cooley has his team playing as well as anyone in the Big East. The play of Luwane Pipkins has been sensational as he has elevated Providence to the next level. In addition, Alpha Diallo must continue to provide versatility and scoring on a consistent basis. They also need consistent shooting from A.J. Reeves with David Duke providing great energy on the perimeter for Providence. Next, Nate Watson will be a crucial part with his ability to score inside for Providence. The x-factor for Providence is going to be Emmitt Holt off of the bench with the physicality he can bring. Providence has a great opportunity to compete for the Big East Tournament title with their elevated play.
Lavall Jordan’s team has not been as consistent as of late as it was earlier in Big East play. Kamar Baldwin is the lead guard who must play at a very high level for Butler to have an opportunity to advance deep in the Big East Tournament. In addition, they will need the best from Aaron Thompson with his perimeter defense and steadiness on offense. Sean McDermott has to shoot at a consistent rate throughout this tournament. The x-factor for Butler is Jordan Tucker with his scoring ability off the bench. Butler will advance in the Big East Tournament if Baldwin is playing exceptionally well.
Marquette has one of the best players in the country who can outscore anyone in the country in Markus Howard. The supporting cast needs to be productive for Marquette to get back on track in the Big East Tournament. The defense of Marquette needs to play at a high level to advance in this tournament, as well as getting consistent play from Brenden Bailey and Sacar Anim as secondary scorers and shooters. The x-factor with Marquette is Jamal Cain who can bring versatility off of the bench being a solid defender. Now, the cast around a dynamic Markus Howard must elevate to advance in the Big East Tournament.
Travis Steele must win a game or two in the Big East Tournament to make the NCAA tournament. In addition, the interior play of Naji Marshall and Tyrique Jones need to have huge games as matchup problems with their size and physicality. Furthermore, Jason Carter needs to continue to produce around the basket as well with his mobility offensively. Also, Quentin Goodin will need to be consistent in this tournament. The x-factor for Xavier is KyKy Tandy off the bench with his ability to shoot the basketball.
Patrick Ewing has worked his magic with this Georgetown team with all the injuries and departures. Jamarko Pickett will need to play very well with his scoring from the high post area and interior. Also, Terrell Allen has helped fill the void of Mac McClung on the perimeter and will need to continue to do so. Qudus Wahab has been vital with the injury of Omer Yurtseven and protecting the basketball effectively. The x-factor for Georgetown is Jahvon Blair with his scoring ability to potentially take over a game. Georgetown will be a tough out for anyone in this tournament with their overall tenacity.
9. St. John’s
Mike Anderson is looking to continue to build on his first season at St. John’s and build towards the 20-21 season. L.J. Figueroa will need to be exceptional on both ends of the court for St. John’s to advance in this tournament. Julian Champagnie has emerged as a go-to scorer on the perimeter. In addition, Marcellus Earlington must continue to impact the interior for St. John’s. Now, the x-factor for St. John’s will be Rasheem Dunn with his ability to affect multiple areas on the court. St. John’s is building for the future with this tournament.
Dave Leitao is on the hot seat for DePaul and is entering the Big East Tournament with something to prove. If they are going to do anything it will be Charlie Moore leading the way with his ability score and distribute the basketball. Depaul needs very good shooting from Jalen Coleman-Lands. In addition, the interior of Jaylen Butz and Darious Hall must play well on the boards. Now, the x-factor for DePaul will be Nick Ongenda off the bench with his great size. A new era of DePaul basketball could be coming soon after this tournament.
Team to Watch- Providence
Player to Watch- Luwane Pipkins
Prediction- Seton Hall over Providence
Images Courtesy of, Anonymous Eagle, Associated Press, New York Post
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