The 2013 Big East Tournament promises to be one of the most exciting conference tourneys in the nation. There are nine teams that could possibly make the 68-team field, not including the automatic bid given to the winner of this prestigious event.
With so many great programs participating, it’s tough to narrow down a few players that are worth watching every single minute they are out on the court.
We’ve done our best to pick the three most potentially exciting candidates, so let’s take a peak at who to look out for this coming week.
Otto Porter, F, Georgetown
The Hoyas received a huge boost from Porter down the stretch of the 2012-13 regular season, a large reason why they were able to win 12 of their final 13 contests.
Porter finished his campaign having averaged 16.4 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.0 block per game. He shot 50.2 percent from the field, 44.0 percent from beyond the arc and 77.4 percent from the charity stripe.
Those are outstanding numbers for the 6’8”, 205-pound swingman and he’s in the running to be a top-five pick in the upcoming NBA draft.
Before he makes the leap to the pros, however, scouts and GMs will be looking to see how he performs in the conference and NCAA tournaments.
As the No. 1 seed in the event, Georgetown won’t even be playing until the quarterfinals on Thursday. You can expect a well-rested Porter to come out and absolutely dominate the competition, as he did in many big games this season.
Remember, this is a prospect that dropped 33 points against then-No. 8 Syracuse on the road and followed it up the next game with some heroics in a double-overtime victory over UConn.
Don’t sleep on Porter continuing his amazing string of big time performances and earning tournament MVP honors.
Michael Carter-Williams, G, Syracuse
Has Carter-Williams peaked?
That’s the question many Orange fans and casual observers have been asking during Syracuse’s recent skid, as the program has lost four of its last five contests.
In a crushing defeat to Georgetown in the season-finale, Carter-Williams did manage to score 17 of his team’s 39 points (on 8-13 shooting), but only registered two assists.
In fact, since the calendar turned to 2013, MCW has only registered double-digit assist numbers twice—in a win over Rutgers on Jan. 2 and against Providence on Feb. 20.
Considering he’s supposed to be one of the top playmakers in college basketball, this lack of dimes is quite concerning. Couple that with his shaky handle and mediocre shooting ability, and many NBA draft scouts have major cause for concern.
Regardless, this sophomore still has the potential to become a superstar and is just a few good showings away from launching himself up draft boards and putting himself back on the map.
‘Cuse may have struggled to close out the year, but it has a fresh start this postseason and head into the conference tournament as the No. 5 seed.
It’s not the worst position, as a good stretch from Carter-Williams should have this team in the semifinals at worst.
Bryce Cotton, G, Providence
This Friars star may not be a household name yet, but by the end of the tournament everyone should know who Bryce Cotton is.
The junior from Tucson, Ariz. led the Big East in scoring this year, averaging an impressive 18.3 points per game. He also contributed 3.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists per contest.
At 6’1”, 165 pounds, you wouldn’t expect this diminutive player to be such a massive scoring threat. However, he’s an excellent three-point shooter (37.6 percent on the season, with a whopping 8.4 attempts per game) and isn’t afraid to go into the paint for buckets.
Cotton earned All-Big East First Team honors for his efforts, helping Providence reach a respectable 17-13 record and the No. 8 seed in this tournament. The Friars have a tough draw against No. 9 Cincinnati to start things off on Wednesday, but they can beat anyone when their star guard is going bonkers and piling in points.