With the 2012 Big East Tournament kicking off soon, the excitement over which players will steal the show is as high as it could possibly be.
In one of the deepest conferences in all of college sports, the Big East brings several teams to the table that could not only win the Big East tournament, but win the NCAA tourney as well.
All of the following players will play huge rolls in this tournament, but only one will lead their team to Big East glory.
Kris Joseph, Syracuse
At over 31 minutes a game, no Syracuse Orange player sees the court more often than Kris Joseph. And with the stat line he stuffs, it’s no wonder.
Joseph leads the team with 14.1 points per game, while averaging five rebounds and almost two assists per game. Add in his steals and blocks and you have one of the better defenders in the nation.
The Orange only lost one game this year because of stellar team play. While it may be Joseph that gets credit as the MVP of this tournament, there will be a locker room full of players that played a key part in the win.
Jae Crowder, Marquette
The Marquette Golden Eagles need the development of a star like Jae Crowder to be a serious contender this season, and they got it in spades.
The senior has averaged over 32 minutes per game while putting up 17.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.4 steals and a block per game. If that’s not the definition of versatile, I don’t know what is.
Pairing Crowder with fellow senior Darius Johnson-Odom will make Marquette a serious threat in the Big East tourney and the NCAA madness afterwards.
Jack Cooley, Notre Dame
The key fact to comprehend Notre Dame Fighting Irish junior forward Jack Cooley’s importance to the team is the fact that he leads the team in points (12.5) and rebounds (9.2) per game. If that’s not the key to your team, nothing is.
Cooley has the size and speed to be a serious threat in this tournament, but he will have to prove that he can average big minutes and stay effective when needed.
If the Fighting Irish can continue to play their suffocating defense while giving Cooley the offensive looks needed to get them a series of wins, Notre Dame will be incredibly tough to beat.
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