The Big East Conference Tournament features 14 schools for this season's tournament.
Despite wins, losses, and current streaks, each team has components which make them dangerous in the tournament before the tournament. Take a look at each squad below:
1st-seeded Georgetown Hoyas:
One word: Defense. In 18 of their 24 wins, the Hoyas have held their opponents to under 60 points. They do enough on offense with the all-around play of sophomore forward Otto Porter, Jr., and shooting abilities of guards, junior Markel Starks and freshman D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera. From there, their defense, whether zone or man-to-man, is highly active, working to force you into frustrating offensive situations.
2nd-seeded Louisville Cardinals:
For those who wish to cover senior guard Peyton Siva in an attempt to stop the Cardinals, take heed of junior guard Russ Smith who can score from anywhere in the offense. His ability to shoot as well as linking with Siva as Louisville leaders who can penetrate to get the defense's attention and then kick out or call attention and send the ball inside makes him and his teammates dangerous. On both the offensive and defensive ends, teams must attempt to condense the output of junior center Gorgui Dieng who is a nuisance inside, averaging 10.1 rebounds per game.
3rd-seeded Marquette Golden Eagles:
These birds do not adhere to the second half of the "fight or flight" motto. Keeping with the notion of the second half, the Golden Eagles attack with ferocity in the final 20 minutes, no matter what the score looks like at halftime. Give credit to head coach Buzz Williams for perennially being competitive against the long-standing upper tier of the conference with a constant fighting attitude on offense and defense.
4th-seeded Pittsburgh Panthers:
Pittsburgh has one of the best shooting teams in the country, ranked among the nation's top 15 programs. Six players put close to half of their attempts into the net, with each making more than 47% of their tries. The team as a whole is just under 48% from the field through 31 games. With so many successful shooters, the Panthers spread the ball around, with their points coming from a group effort, rather than like some teams who reside on a high-scoring threat and surrounding role players.
5th-seeded Syracuse Orange:
When guards, senior Brandon Triche and sophomore Michael Carter-Williams, condense their own turnovers, this team becomes dangerous. Syracuse is a transition team, and Triche and Carter-Williams have shown how quickly and efficiently they can score when they force teams to have to chase them downcourt. Their best shooter, junior forward C.J. Fair, can score from anywhere on the floor, hitting a three with a defender in his face as well as faking the three and taking you to the rim, getting his shot off no matter how hard he is hit. Put freshman forward Jerami Grant on the floor and tell him to shoot and you gain the "energy" that helped Syracuse to a 4-2 record with senior forward James Southerland. When the "Feisty Four" of Triche, Carter-Williams, Fair, and Grant come to play, the Orange put themselves in the best position to turn the downward spiral upward through the postseason.
6th-seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish:
Notre Dame's success begins and ends with senior forward Jack Cooley. He averages a double-double with 13.6 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. Cooley's regular season rebounding totals separate him from his closest teammate by almost 100 more on the offensive glass and over 70 more defensively. He has swatted away more attempts by opponents than any other Fighting Irish defender and has the best field-goal percentage on the team at 58.2%, more than 10% better than Notre Dame's output as an entire team. But keeping your eyes merely on Cooley can help lead to your demise with junior guards Eric Atkins and Jerian Grant both averaging close to six assists per game, and the Irish second-best in the country in helpers.
7th-seeded Villanova Wildcats:
Statistics do not adequately represent who the Wildcats are once they take the court. This team can shoot when their up against the wall. Playing them in a tight match-up, possession in their hands with seconds remaining is the last place you will want to be. Guards, junior James Bell and freshman Ryan Arcidiacono will take advantage of the open shot and make you pay, while senior forward Mouphtaou Yarou will contest you at the rim on both sides, while also proving valuable at the charity stripe for a big man, making just under 80% of his attempts from the free throw line.
8th-seeded Providence Friars:
Juniors, guard Bryce Cotton and forward as well as Big East Co-Most Improved Player Kadeem Batts, make for an interesting outing every time the Friars take the court. Both can attack the defense inside the arc, while Cotton has proven dangerous from anywhere on the floor. Add in the assisting expertise of senior guard Vincent Council, who now has the most career assists in Big East men's basketball history, and this middle of the conference team shows you that they are not a walk-over.
9th-seeded Cincinnati Bearcats:
The Bearcats maul the boards, grabbing a little more than 40 per game, placing them in the nation's top 10 rebounding squads. To stop them, you cannot simply block out one dominant rebounder. Cincinnati's rebounds are spread amongst four main players, who grab close to or more than five rebounds per game apiece. With the superb shooting that comes from junior guard Sean Kilpatrick from beyond the arc, the Bearcats demand that you play them outside as well as at the basket, making defenses have to cover all areas.
10th-seeded St. John's Red Storm:
St. John's mixes together a strong veteran current with an up-and-coming young current to create a competitive Red Storm. With their top four scorers ranging from one-year to three-year players, head coach Steve Lavin has shown that he knows how to facilitate a positive working relationship between the new and the old. Of these scorers, freshman forward Jakarr Sampson is not someone to overlook, as he has turned early opportunities on the floor into early success, leading the team in rebounds per game, amounting the second-most points per game, and obtaining at least one assist, one steal, and one block on average per game.
11th-seeded Rutgers Scarlet Knights:
Losing 11 of their last 13 games of the regular season may cause some to overlook the Scarlet Knights, but five of those losses were by a separation of two possessions against foes like Georgetown, Marquette, and Notre Dame. Sophomore guard Myles Mack is the best options for Rutgers to try and bridge this two-possession gap with him being the top two scorer for the Scarlet Knights, with the closest teammate averaging almost seven points less than Mack, who averages 13.3. The loss of fellow sophomore guard and leading scorer Eli Carter has placed more pressure on Mack and the rest of the Scarlet Knights as they attempt to make a push in the postseason.
12th-seeded Seton Hall Pirates:
Like their fellow New Jersey squad, Seton Hall has also lost 11 of their final 13 regular season games. Their opportunity for success runs through junior guard/forward Fuquan Edwin. He leads the team in points per game with 16.6 and is their best option from three-point range. Defensively, Edwin and junior center Eugene Teague provide the most assistance on the defensive glass, while Edwin offers possession opportunities for the Pirates as well, stealing the ball more than twice per game.
13th-seeded South Florida Bulls:
Completing the trifecta, South Florida joins Rutgers and Seton Hall as yet another team who has dropped 11 of their last 13. But before this skid, the Bulls withstood Porter, Jr.'s, 21 points and Smith-Rivera's 16, defeating the now top-seeded Georgetown 61-58 back on January 19th. This is not an outside shooting team, though they can hang at times with an opponent for a half. The junior forward Victor Rudd runs play inside the arc, giving the Bulls their best option for a victory, amounting a little more than 12 points per game, while grabbing at least seven boards per match.
14th-seeded DePaul Blue Demons:
Despite ending 2-16 in the Big East for the regular season, the Blue Demons' offense is not as bad as their record states. DePaul averages 71.8 points per game, good for third in the Big East behind Louisville and Syracuse, respectively. Juniors, guard Brandon Young and forward Cleveland Melvin, both bring in at least 16 points per game, while sophomore guard/forward Jamee Crockett and senior guard Worrel Clahar apply pressure on opposing offenses to score due to their abilities beyond the arc. *Connecticut Huskies barred from the 2013 Big East Conference Tournament due to NCAA violations.