The 2013 Big East Tournament will be the last time Syracuse and Pittsburgh face off against their Catholic-school brethren from Georgetown, Marquette, Villanova, and other programs. College basketball betting are in for a treat.
2013 Big East Tournament Preview: Tournament Schedule
First Round – Tuesday, March 12
(13) South Florida Bulls vs. (12) Seton Hall Pirates
(14) DePaul Blue Demons vs. (11) Rutgers Scarlet Knights
South Florida has come on strong of late, beating Connecticut and almost upsetting Cincinnati on the road. The Bulls have the look of a team that can win one game at Madison Square Garden in New York. Rutgers can’t beat the elite teams in the Big East, but it should handle last-place DePaul. The Blue Demons are the 15th-best team in the league, but Connecticut is not playing in this tournament, so DePaul is seeded 14th.
Second Round – Wednesday, March 13
(9) Cincinnati Bearcats vs. (8) Providence Friars
South Florida/Seton Hall vs. (5) Syracuse Orange
Cincinnati has struggled against Providence, but this neutral-court game in New York will give the Bearcats a chance to get things right. Providence is getting better, but the Friars lost this past Saturday to Connecticut and will likely carry the sting of that loss to the Big Apple, giving Cincinnati a psychological edge. Syracuse should wipe out South Florida (or Seton Hall).
(10) St. John’s Red Storm vs. (7) Villanova Wildcats
DePaul/Rutgers vs. (6) Notre Dame Fighting Irish
These two games are the night games on Wednesday. Villanova has overachieved this season under head coach Jay Wright. The Wildcats will be pumped to play this game, while St. John’s has to be lacking in confidence after losing to Marquette in overtime this past Saturday. Notre Dame should slog past Rutgers in what promises to be a very ugly game.
Quarterfinals – Thursday, March 14
Cincinnati/Providence vs. (1) Georgetown Hoyas
USF/Seton Hall or Syracuse vs. (4) Pittsburgh Panthers
Georgetown is not as strong as some people might think. The Hoyas play excellent defense, but if teams can contain Otto Porter, they can contain the Hoyas’ offense. Cincinnati, though, doesn’t score consistently enough to be able to beat Georgetown.
Pittsburgh’s defense will give Syracuse fits, but the Orange are going to be excited about playing in Madison Square Garden for the last time as a member of the Big East. Motivation will probably trump recent form, as Syracuse will edge Pittsburgh in a defensive grinder.
St. John’s/Villanova vs. (2) Louisville Cardinals
DePaul/Rutgers or Notre Dame vs. (3) Marquette Golden Eagles
Louisville is the favorite to win the Big East Tournament. Pressure defense and comparatively more depth will serve the Cardinals well in New York, coach Rick Pitino’s home town. Marquette should be able to score against Notre Dame’s rugged defense in the final game on the Thursday slate.
Semifinals – Friday, March 15
Projected matchups: Syracuse vs. Georgetown and Marquette vs. Louisville
Georgetown has beaten Syracuse twice this season, but Syracuse would love to get revenge in New York. Conference tournaments produce lots of upsets, so Syracuse would make an attractive pick here. Louisville should wear down Marquette in the second semifinal.
Championship – Saturday, March 16
Projected matchup: Syracuse vs. Louisville
This would be a New York kind of matchup: Jim Boeheim, icon of New York State’s foremost basketball program, against native son Rick Pitino. Louisville’s defense would likely cause problems for the Orange’s guards. Louisville should win the Big East title, putting the Cards in the running for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Take them on the betting lines to win the Big East Championship.
Pick: Louisville To Win The Big East Championship