The 2012 Big East Tournament will begin with a bang on Tuesday afternoon with the Connecticut Huskies taking on the DePaul Blue Demons at noon in a first round game at Madison Square Garden. The Huskies dominated DePaul during their regular season matchup and will need to do that again if they want to repeat as Big East champs with five games in the next five nights.
The game between Connecticut and DePaul begins a pretty busy opening day Big East tournament schedule. The Huskies and Blue Demons will tip-off at noon ET in a game televised by ESPN2 and will be followed by three other Big East games on the ESPN family of networks before Tuesday is over.
The Huskies are firmly on the NCAA Tournament bubble after compiling an 8-10 Big East record to slightly stunt their 18-12 overall record, meaning they'll at least need to win their opening round in the conference tournament to have any hopes at repeating as national champs. If they're going to do that, Jim Calhoun's team will likely need to rely heavily on youngsters Jeremy Lamb, Andre Drummond, Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright.
DePaul likely doesn't have the option of losing in the Big East tournament, however, considering they went just 3-15 in the Big East on the way to a 12-18 overall record. Sophomore forward Cleveland Melvin averaged 17.4 points and 7.3 rebounds this season, but he's the leader of a struggling team as they lost nine straight games before a victory over Seton Hall on Saturday night.