The 31st Big East Tournament gets underway on Tuesday.
If, for some bizarre reason, you are not interested in watching it, you are in luck—I am going to tell you who will be crowned the champion on Saturday night.
The Syracuse Orange(men).
(Sorry...I can't help but think of Syracuse as the "Orangemen," same way that St. John's will always be the "Redmen" for me.)
There are several reasons I know this to be true.
First is the "everyone gets a trophy" nature of the BET nowadays. With all 16 teams invited, you are guaranteeing that no team that plays on Day One will be your winner. Winning four games in four days was hard enough (only Syracuse in 2006, I believe). If there were a team in the conference actually capable of wining five in five, well, they probably wouldn't be playing on the first day in the first place.
Second is the double-bye. Incredible advantage. Essentially the same point as above. A team can win three in a row in this conference, but four is just too hard. Just ask Syracuse last year. They simply ran out of gas in the championship game against Louisville...a team that had the double-bye.
Third would be the bracket. With Austin Freeman back healthy, Georgetown is a better team than they have shown in the last two weeks. Still, they are not beating this Syracuse team in New York. Georgetown is already a lock for the NCAA tournament, so I don't believe that they will be able to muster the requisite emotion/desperation to defeat the superior Orange(men).
The potential semifinal opponents, UConn, Marquette, and Villanova—all jump shooting teams—are all horribly susceptible to the Syracuse zone. All are capable if the stars align correctly, but I don't see it.
The team most capable of taking down Syracuse is the same team that smacked them around on Saturday—Louisville. The problem if you're a Cardinal fan, however, is that a matchup with Syracuse wouldn't be until the finals...your fourth in four.
This Louisville team has been plagued by the same inconsistencies of play as the rest of the conference, with the exception of...Syracuse. They are not winning four in a row.
The fourth and final reason I see Syracuse cutting down the nets at MSG is pictured at the top of this article. The senior leadership of Andy Rautins and Arinze Onuaku is the determining factor in Syracuse's consistent play and the biggest reason the Orange(men) are my favorite for both the BET and NCAA titles.
There you have it. My bet is Syracuse over Pitt in an ugly final game...maybe 64-57.
P.S. My alternate reality prediction is UConn over Pitt for the title...77-58. Just throwing that out there in case it actually happens.