The Big East Tournament was a good moment in the spotlight for a consistently underrated league that, as usual, has been one of college basketball’s best. The Big East has multiple national title contenders and a few more teams who could make serious noise in the NCAA tournament.
The defending champion is Villanova, which followed up a national title two seasons ago by winning the Big East before an early bow-out in the Big Dance. The Wildcats are as brilliant as ever, but Xavier’s dominant season left Nova as this league’s No. 2 seed.
Providence helped bolster its resume and prove it could handle a quality team away from the Dunkin Donuts Center by beating Creighton and top-seed Xavier, both in overtime. The Friars then took Villanova in the championship game to overtime, too, but the Wildcats prevailed and appear to have a top seed at the big dance all but sewn up.
The Big East has had a strong year, and it’s likely to put six or seven teams in the tournament. Marquette is the team most firmly on the bubble, while Providence could use to win a game or two to solidify its place in the field of 68.
At the top of the Big East seed list, teams like Villanova and Xavier are jostling for NCAA tournament seeding. If one of them wins the tournament, that team is more than probably a No. 1 seed in March Madness. If that team beats the other in the title game, the loser probably won’t do worse than a No. 2 and really shouldn’t do worse than a No. 3.
The more middling tournament teams in the league — like Seton Hall, Creighton, and Butler — are trying to get themselves easier quadrants on the opening weekend.
It’s a 10-team league, and the top six seeds take byes into the quarterfinals. The bottom four have to play first-round games for the right to join them there. Like every tournament, it’s single-elimination. Games run every day from Wednesday through Saturday. Every game is played at the Garden, which doubles at St. John’s (and the Knicks’) home court.
The Bracket and Schedule
A full bracket is here, with TV information enclosed. All times are Eastern. All games are on FS1 until the championship, which is on FOX. All can be streamed at Fox Sports Go:
First Round: Wednesday, March 7
- No. 9 St. John’s 88, No. 8 Georgetown 77
- No. 10 DePaul 69, No. 7 Marquette 72
Quarterfinals: Thursday, March 8
- No. 1 Xavier 88, No. 9 St. John’s 60
- No. 5 Providence 72, No. 4 Creighton 68
- No. 2 Villanova 94, No. 7 Marquette 70
- No. 6 Butler 75, No. 3 Seton Hall 74
Semifinals: Friday, March 9
- No. 5 Providence 75, No. 1 Xavier 72 (OT)
- No. 2 Villanova 87, No. 6 Butler 68
Championship: Saturday, March 10
- No. 2 Villanova 76, No. 5 Providence 66 (OT)