Big East Tournament 2012: Semifinal Predictions

MichaelContributor IIMarch 8, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08: Russ Smith #2 of the Louisville Cardinals handles the ball against Jamil Wilson #0 of the Marquette Golden Eagles during the quarterfinals of the Big East Men's Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 8, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08:  Brandon Triche #20 of the Syracuse Orange goes to the hoop against Roscoe Smith #22 of the Connecticut Huskies during the quarterfinals of the Big East Men's Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 8, 2012 in New
Michael Heiman/Getty Images

We are down to the semifinals in one of the most competitive tournaments across the country.

In Big East tournament action today, Syracuse knocked off UConn in a classic, tight game, while fifth-seeded Georgetown got taken down by Cincinnati.

As we speak, Louisville just upset second-seeded Marquette at MSG, while Notre Dame and South Florida look on to watch their next opponent.

If Notre Dame takes care of business against South Florida, which looks questionable right now, they will face the Cardinals in the semi finals.

Louisville will look to avenge their double overtime, 67-65 loss to Notre Dame in the middle of the season, while the Irish will look to make a statement. Now, if the Irish take down the Bulls tonight as expected, this game could make for an instant classic.

But, if USF creates even more chaos and upsets the third-seeded Irish, the Bulls will meet Louisville for the second time this season.

Although USF knocked off the Cardinals earlier in the season, I believe Louisville is one of the hottest teams going. If this is one matchup in the semi finals, look for Louisville to book their trip to the Big East Finals.

My prediction for the USF vs. Notre Dame game:

ND over USF 65-61

Now, onto the semi finals predictions.

Louisville struggled throughout the year, but the Cardinals ended the season with a respectable overall record. Rick Pitino's boys are on a roll and doing damage in this year's tourney.


Notre Dame has earned a reputation in the Big East for not playing up to their potential in big games, so we will see if they can produce.

Look for the Cards to squeak out a hard-fought victory against Notre Dame.

In the other semifinal matchup, the Bearcats will have their hands full going up against nearly-perfect Syracuse.

Although Cincinnati showed guts and talent today, I don't see them taking down the Orange.

Here are my predictions for the Big East tournament semifinals:    

Syracuse 70, Cincinnati 59 Syracuse is simply too powerful this season and should take this semifinal matchup. With their victory against the Hoyas today, I believe the Bearcats secured a spot in this year's NCAA tournament.  

Louisville 73, Notre Dame 68 Notre Dame is a fantastic team, but it will not be able to keep up with Louisville and its momentum. This game is also more important for Louisville because it can perhaps ensure a fifth seed on Selection Sunday.