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Big East Conference Tournament Bracket Breakdown

Among the many beautiful things about March Madness is the notion that any team can make it. Every conference gets one automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament. Most automatic bids are awarded to the winner of each respective conference tournament. Each article will preview a different conference tournament with a full bracket breakdown.

Bracket Picks

First Round: 
9 Marquette def. 8 Georgetown
7 Xavier def. 10 Butler
6 Providence def. 11 DePaul
Second Round: 
9 Marquette def. 1 Villanova
5 Seton Hall def. 4 St. John’s
2 Creighton def. 7 Xavier
3 UConn def. 6 Providence
Semifinals:
5 Seton Hall def. 9 Marquette
3 UConn def. 2 Creighton
Finals: 
3 UConn def. 5 Seton Hall

The Winner

UConn 
In their first season back in the conference, UConn has a real shot at winning their first Big East title since 2011. An 0-3 record against Creighton and Villanova would normally be cause for doubt but both teams have had their share of recent problems. The Wildcats will be without Collin Gillespie and likely Justin Moore, two of their top three scorers. Creighton’s head coach Greg McDermott was suspended for inappropriate comments made to his team. Though that suspension has been lifted, the negative buzz could affect a team that recently lost road games to Xavier and Villanova. The thing UConn does best is offensive rebound. They have the fifth best offensive rebounding rate in the country contributing to an 11th best 0.987 points per possession. The Huskies safely have a seat at the March Madness table but can bolster their status with some quality wins this weekend.

The Sleeper

Providence
The Big East has been defined by parity lately. Since the start of February, every team has lost at least three games and the longest active winning streak is UConn’s four. With that sense of evenness, comes hope for teams that otherwise might be counted out. The Providence Friars only went 9-10 in Big East play but managed to beat eight different teams. They took down everyone but St. John’s and Georgetown over the course of the season giving them the a blueprint to stop almost any opponent. David Duke and Nate Watson were both named to the All-Big East second team averaging a combined 34 points and 13 rebounds per game. A little chaos around the bracket could ease the potential schedule for Providence to make a sneaky run.

Matchup to Watch

St Johns Basketball Julian Champagnie (redstormsports.com)

St. John’s vs Seton Hall
One of these bubble teams will have their last chance to improve their resume in this matchup. The Red Storm might be without their second leading scorer Posh Alexander who is questionable with a thumb injury. Even if he can’t go, two elite Big East players will duke it out in a close and crucial matchup. Julian Champagnie of St. John’s and Sandro Mamukelashvili of Seton Hall both were named first team all-conference. These teams just squared off Saturday where the Red Storm downed the Pirates 81-71 in a game without Alexander. In the first meeting, the Pirates won 77-68 while never relinquishing a halftime lead. This is the best confirmed matchup on the schedule and has real March Madness bubble implications.

Featured Image courtesy of uconnhuskies.com

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