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Big East Tournament Preview

By: Timothy Columnist
Contact Timothy

Big East Basketball Tournament

March 10 - 13, 2004

New York City, New York

Madison Square Garden

Tournament Bracket
Updated with Results

Tournament Favorite > Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh Pittsburgh is the leader in the Big East and therefore the favorite to win the tourney in Madison Square Garden. With the exception of Seton Hall, who they played only once, they have beaten everyone they’ve played in the Big East at least once, so no one has got the Panthers' number.

Tournament Dark Horse > Syracuse
Syracuse No one suspected the Orangeman to get on a roll like they did last year in March, so why not again this year? They have been a little up and down since conference play began, but they do have notable wins over Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Missouri, and Michigan State. Let's not forget about Wooden finalist Hakim Warrick, who is averaging 20 points and 9 rebounds a game. That’s nearly a double-double.

Matchup of Intrigue > Notre Dame vs Connecticut
Notre Dame vs Connecticut If Notre Dame beats West Virginia, this sets up a second round matchup with Conneticut. The Irish beat the Huskies earlier this year. If Chris Thomas can lead his team to a victory over West Virginia and then a victory over Conneticut, it could get the Irish’s bubbled popped and push them into the field of 65.

NCAA Tournament Impact
NCAA Tournament The Big East looks to have 6 teams in: Conneticut, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall, Boston College, and Providence. The one team on the bubble is Notre Dame. With an RPI of 49 and SOS of 24, the numbers don’t look that bad. However, they have 11 losses, which doesn’t look good on your resume. I would suspect Notre Dame needs to win 2 games in New York if they want to dance any further.

Tournament Ramblings
Since 1983, the Big East Tourney has been in New York at Madison Square Garden, and nothing is changing this year. The games start Wednesday and run through Saturday. The championship game is Saturday at 7:00 CDT. All games can be seen on either ESPN or ESPN2. Pittsburgh won last year’s tournament as a number 2 seed. Late breaking news: Emeka Okafor may miss the Big East Tourney in hopes of having him around for the Big Dance.

Projected Winner > Syracuse
Syracuse I'm going to go with my dark horse for this one. Syracuse has some momentum after beating UConn Sunday, and I think Hakim Warrick will be able to guide his team to their first Big East Tournament Championship since 1992. If the Orangemen get rolling again in March, watch out...they could be dangerous in the Big Dance.