Big East Tournament 2012: 4 Biggest X-Factors to Watch

Kevin Van PeltCorrespondent IMarch 6, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12:  Head coach Jim Calhoun of the Connecticut Huskies cuts down the net after defeating the Louisville Cardinals during the championship of the 2011 Big East Men's Basketball Tournament presented by American Eagle Outfitters at Madison Square Garden on March 12, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

With the Big East Tournament set to get under way today, there will be four big x-factors that you will have to keep an eye on.

The Big East Tournament is always one of the most anticipated tournaments of the season due to its high level of play and the pool of talent. The Syracuse Orange lead the way this year with the No. 1 ranking having only loss one game this season.


Fab Melo, Syracuse

Syracuse's only loss came when their starting center Fab Melo was sidelined. Melo is the core of the zone defense as he averages three blocks a game while grabbing six rebounds. His presence on the court cannot be matched. He is 7'0", 255 lbs and makes opponents think twice before entering the paint.


Peyton Siva, Louisville

The Louisville point guard has not done as well as he did last season. This has led Rick Pitino's squad to a conference record of 10-8. Overall, their record is 22-9, so if Siva can play like we know he can, he will make a big difference in the outcome of the game. Siva has quickness and can penetrate into the lane easily and get easy baskets or find the open player. Louisville's Big East Tournament hopes are in his hands.


Jae Crowder, Marquette

Crowder is a type of player who can do it all for the Marquette Golden Eagles. He is a 6'6" forward who plays like a seven-footer. He is very physical under the rim and his very intelligent on the court. He has the versatility to play the low post and to step back and make a three.

On the defensive side of the ball he averages 2.4 steals a game. He has very quick hands and is good at harassing his opponent. Crowder can do it all for Marquette which can help them win the Big East Tournament this year.


Jeremy Lamb, Connecticut

Last year the Connecticut Huskies were college basketball's best. This year they will struggle to even make the tournament. They have a conference record of 8-10 and an overall record of 18-12. If they want to make the tournament, they will need to advance far into the tournament.

Jeremy Lamb has been the Huskies' best scorer all season, averaging 17.4 points a game. He will need to keep his scoring up if UConn has any chance of making it deep into the tournament. His shooting percentage is at 48 percent, which is a great number. If he can keep that up, the Huskies will be a force in the Big East tournament.

This year's tournament should be fun to watch. Keep an eye on those x-factors as you watch the games, as they will be a big part of their team's success.