Big East Tournament 2013: 3 Players Who Can Make a Difference

Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IIMarch 13, 2013

LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 09:  Peyton Siva #3 of the Louisville Cardinals and Eric Atkins #0 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish battle for a loose ball during the game at KFC YUM! Center on March 9, 2013 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

With the Big East Tournament kicking off for the last time as we know it, there are several role players in the conference that can step up this weekend.

The Big East Conference is going to be looking a lot different next season, and a lot of memorable rivalries will be ending after this season.  With that in mind, this will be the final encore to a tournament that has had some crazy games over the years.

In order for teams to make a run at the conference title, they will need to depend on role players as much as their stars.  Here are three of those guys that can have big games for their teams.


Luke Hancock

With so much size in the Big East, the Cardinals will need someone who can make shots from behind the arc.  Hancock, the transfer from George Mason, can be that guy for Louisville.

Hancock has gone off recently from three-point range.  In his last five games, he has gone 12-for-18 from long range, including an impressive 4-for-5 against the Syracuse Orange.  The Cardinals will need him to ride this hot streak into the tournament in order to beat some of the better Big East teams.


Steven Adams

The freshman from New Zealand was a big pickup by the Pittsburgh Panthers before the season started.  He was a 5-star recruit and ranked No. 5 nationally according to

Adams hasn’t become the star player yet for the Panthers, but he is developing well.  Averaging 7.1 points and 6.2 rebounds per game, it’s clear that Adams is beginning to get a good feel for playing in the NCAA.

Pittsburgh will need him to step up in the Big East Tournament, especially at the free-throw line.  He is only shooting 41.9 percent from the charity stripe, simply struggling to get easy points.

Other than that, he can be a solid contributor for this team, especially on defense.  They will need everyone to play their best basketball to win the tourney, especially Adams.


Eric Atkins

Atkins doesn’t get a lot of national attention, but he has been a very consistent player for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

The junior point guard has had a good season, averaging 11.7 points and 5.9 assists per game.  His assist-to-turnover ratio is at a very solid 2.7. 

What makes him an even more important player to the team is the amount of time he has on the floor.  He averages 38.4 minutes played per game.  He may not be one of the star players for the Irish, but he definitely does a lot to make this team win.  The Irish will need him to continue to play a lot of minutes and keep the offense in rhythm for the entire tourney.