Big East Tournament Predictions

MarquetteHoops.com takes you round-by-round through the games at Madison Square Garden and tells you who will win the conference's postseason awards.

ROUND 1

No. 9 Cincinnati vs No. 16 DePaul – DePaul hasn't won a conference game all year. Why should they start now? Pick: Cincinnati

No. 12 Georgetown vs No. 13 St. John's – On paper, Georgetown is the better team. But that didn't stop them from losing the last time these two schools played. St. John's is energized by the chance to play a meaningful game at Madison Square Garden and they bring John Thompson's nightmare season to an end. Pick: St. John's

No. 11 Notre Dame vs No. 14 Rutgers – The better team wins this game. Pick: Notre Dame.

No. 10 Seton Hall vs No. 15 USF – See above. Pick: Seton Hall

ROUND 2

No. 9 Cincinatti vs No. 8 Providence – This is a game Providence needs for a chance at the NCAAs. Playing rested will definitely help them here. Yancy Gates has another big game against the Friars, but the higher seed takes it. Pick: Providence

No. 13 St. John's vs No. 5 MarquetteEven without Dominic James, the Golden Eagles are simply the better team. Look for another solid effort from SF Jimmy Butler. Pick: Marquette

No. 11 Notre Dame vs No. 7 West Virginia – Notre Dame has too much at stake in terms of postseason aspirations to go one-and-done in this tournament. They won't win this tournament or make the NCAA's, but they'll at least win this game. Luke Harangody and Kyle McAlarney pace the Irish. Pick: Notre Dame

No. 10 Seton Hall vs No. 6 Syracuse – The Orange also make the most of playing at the Garden. Seton Hall will turn up the tempo, but the tandem of Rick Jackson and Arinze Onuaku down low for Syracuse will be too much.Pick: Syracuse

QUARTERFINALS No. 8 Providence vs No. 1 Louisville – Weyinmi Efejuku and the Friars will put up a valiant effort, but it will fall short. And what will start as a close game will become all Cardinals by the end. Pick: Louisville

No. 5 Marquette vs No. 4 Villanova – Without James, the Golden Eagles will have a hard time slowing down this potent offense. Corey Fischer will especially take advantage. Pick: Villanova

No. 11 Notre Dame vs No. 2 Pittsburgh – The Panthers have been to the Big East finals 7 of the last 8 seasons, and they aren't going to let what is, for the most part, a slower and less physical team stand in their way. Kyle McAlarney likes playing at the Garden, but he won't like being hounded by whomever Pitt throws at him. Pick: Pittsburgh

No. 6 Syracuse vs No. 3 Connecticut – This should be one of the best games of the tournament, with the crowd split pretty evenly for both sides. The Orange will need to make a conscious effort to box out on defense, or A.J. Price and Kemba Walker will make a living on second-chance threes. Johnny Flynn leads all scorers in a losing effort. Pick: Connecticut

SEMIFINALS

No. 1 Louisville vs No. 5 Villanova – If there's any team that can handle Louisville's pressure, it's the one that has the best active set of guards in the conference. And if Louisville continues to rely on the jump shot, as they have in recent games, they'll be playing to Villanova's game plan. The Cardinals barely eked out a win the last time these two teams play. They won't be so lucky this time. Pick: Villanova

No. 1 Pittsburgh vs No. 3 Connecticut – Hasheem Thabeet may think twice before his next trash-talk after being dealt such blows to his ego as he received from DeJuan Blair this year. They say the hardest thing to do is beat a team three times in one season. Just add that to the growing list of Pitt's accomplishments. Pick: Pittsburgh.

CHAMPIONSHIP

Pittsburgh vs Villanova – We want to say that Villanova will win this one – that Dante Cunningham will get Blair into foul trouble and their shooters will carry the day. Realistically, Blair is a lot smarter now and gets more calls, and Pitt closes out as good as anyone on the perimeter. Villanova can only hope that Levance Fields' back acts up and limits his effectiveness at the point. Otherwise Pitt locks up a No 1 seed in the NCAA tournament with this win and Sam Young picks up his second-straight tournament MVP. Pick: Pittsburgh.

POSTSEASON AWARDS

Player of The Year: DeJuan Blair, Pitt

He played the biggest in the biggest games. Simple as that.

Defensive Player: Hasheem Thabeet, UConn

Paul Gause led the league in steals and Blair played the best defense against the some of the toughest centers in the country. But blocks are sexy and everyone knows it.

Coach of the Year: Keno Davis, Prov

Buzz Williams should win, but Marquette's season-ending four game skid is too fresh in the minds of the voters.

Rookie of the Year: Yancy Gates, UC

He made the biggest contribution to his team's success of any first-year player.

Most Improved Player: Dante Cunningham, VU

Marquette's Wes Matthews and Syracuse's Andy Rautins come close, but neither had the same dominant impact as Cunningham.


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