The Big East isn’t as strong as it has been in recent years. This is a league that can get six or seven teams into the NCAA Tournament in a great year, but the only two teams that have locked up their bids at this point are Villanova and Marquette. No other team is better than .500 in conference play, and that will put an even greater priority on playing well at Madison Square Garden over the course of four days in mid-March. March Madness bids will be decided here, and you can bet on all the action at BetDSI.
Big East Tournament Odds
Big East Tournament Favorites
Villanova – It hasn’t been the easiest title defense for the Wildcats, but the program that has won two of the last three national championships is the favorite to take down the Big East. They have won three of the last four Big East tournaments, and Jay Wright’s bunch is playing well once more after losing four straight road games in February. Villanova must pick up a road win in their season finale at Seton Hall to stake a claim for the No. 1 seed, but if they don’t get it, the Wildcats may lose out on the top spot.
Marquette – The Golden Eagles were in prime position to win the Big East, but a loss on the road to Nova followed by a home loss to Creighton left them a half-game back of the Wildcats. Now, Marquette must go on the road and beat Seton Hall on Wednesday and take care of business at home against Georgetown on Saturday to have a shot at the No. 1 seed. They have the best defense in the conference according to Ken Pomeroy’s numbers, and they will need to rely on it heavily down the stretch.
Big East Tournament Contenders
St. John’s – There’s going to be a lot of love for the Red Storm coming into the conference tournament. As the lone school left in New York, they will have partisan crowds cheering them on, and they have shown they can beat the top teams in the conference. The Red Storm beat Marquette in both their previous meetings and came from 14 down to beat Nova a few weeks ago, but this team has to avoid the upset. They are below-.500 in conference play after getting swept by lowly DePaul, and they have a propensity to play to the level of their opponents.
Xavier – A few weeks ago, I was writing about the dramatic decline of Xavier and how the Musketeers were unlikely to make the NCAA Tournament at 11-13. Since that low point, the school has turned it on, and they have now won five straight. At 16-13, the Musketeers need to at least make the conference championship game to have a realistic chance at an at-large bid, but they have knocked off Seton Hall, Villanova, and St. John’s in consecutive games, so they must be feeling good about their chances.
Georgetown – This is my dark horse to win the Big East. The Hoyas have turned a corner, and I think Jessie Govan has a very good chance to lead Georgetown to the conference title and win MVP honors. Big men like Govan can dominate over the course of a few days with guards wearing out over the rigors of back-to-back games (remember Seton Hall’s Angel Delgado a couple years ago), and I can see him putting up big numbers in leading the Hoyas to a few upsets.