Big East and MEAC Conference Tournament Previews
First Round—Mar. 9, Madison Square Garden, ESPN2 & ESPNU
No. 9 South Florida vs. No. 16 Depaul
Depaul has no chance at winning in this game. South Florida is riding a three-game winning streak, while Depaul has lost 12 straight.
South Florida 69, Depaul 61
No. 12 Connecticut vs. No. 13 St. John's
After looking like they got back into the tournament field, the Connecticut Huskies have lost three straight and need a deep run in the Big East Tournament to continue their season. The Huskies will get off to a good start in the first round with a fairly easy matchup against St. John's
Connecticut 73, St. John's 65
No. 10 Seton Hall vs. No. 15 Providence
Providence is really struggling. The Friars have lost their last 10, including a loss to Seton Hall in the regular season finale. Providence is a poor defensive team and Seton Hall is an explosive scoring team. The Friars will not be able to keep up with the Pirates high-scoring offense.
Seton Hall 88, Providence 77
No. 11 Cincinnati vs. No. 14 Rutgers
Cincinnati has a good enough inside game to compromise Hamady Ndiaye and possibly get him into foul trouble. Without Ndiaye, Rutgers has no chance.
Cincinnati 70, Rutgers 60
Second Round—Mar. 10, Madison Square Garden, ESPN
No. 8 Georgetown vs. No. 9 South Florida
South Florida has been playing much better than Georgetown in the last few weeks. This should be a good game, but South Florida matches up well with Georgetown and should be able to beat the Hoyas for the second time this year.
South Florida 77, Georgetown 75
No. 5 Marquette vs. No. 12 Connecticut
Connecticut and Marquette played a close game when they met this season. Most of Marquette's games in in the last month have been close games. Connecticut has really struggled throughout the season in close games. This should be another close game, but the Huskies' poor ability to finish out games will haunt them.
Marquette 69, Connecticut 65
No. 7 Notre Dame vs. No. 10 Seton Hall
When these two teams met during the regular season, Seton Hall was able to control the tempo and outscore Notre Dame. When Seton Hall controls the tempo, it usually wins. Since Seton Hall already controlled the tempo once against Notre Dame, the Pirates most likely will again.
Seton Hall 87, Notre Dame 83
No. 6 Louisville vs. No. 11 Cincinnati
Louisville is starting to play like the top 25 team it was supposed to be at the start of the season. The Cardinals have beaten Syracuse twice, and Notre Dame and Connecticut once in the past month. On the flip side, Cincinnati has lost five of its last six. Also, back when Louisville was struggling and Cincinnati was hot, the Cardinals still beat the Bearcats.
Louisville 79, Cincinnati 73
Quarterfinals—Mar. 11, Madison Square Garden, ESPN
No. 1 Syracuse vs. No. 9 South Florida
Syracuse will dominate South Florida. The 2-3 zone should limit Jones' production.
Syracuse 78, South Florida 71
No. 4 Villanova vs. No. 5 Marquette
This game will come down to rebounding, where Villanova has a pretty big advantage. Both of the regular season meeting were decided by two points, and Villanova won both, so this will be another close game.
Villanova 76, Marquette 72
No. 2 Pittsburgh vs. No. 10 Seton Hall
Pitt has had their struggles away from home. Although Pitt and Seton Hall will be playing on a "neutral" site, Madison Square Garden is much closer to Seton Hall, and the Pirates could have more fans attending the game. Since Pitt has struggled away from home, the Pirates should be able to squeak out a close win and keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive.
Seton Hall 83, Pittsburgh 79
No. 3 West Virginia vs. No. 6 Louisville
West Virginia is superior to Louisville. When West Virginia pulled out that tough win at Villanova, it changed the way I view them. With Louisville playing the best it has all season, this should be a close game. When West Virginia showed that it can pull out the tough, close game away from home, it made me think that it will be able to pull out a win over an inferior Louisville team in the quarterfinals.
West Virginia 76, Louisville 69
Semifinals—Mar. 12, Madison Square Garden, ESPN
No. 1 Syracuse vs. No. 4 Villanova
Syracuse blew out Villanova not too long ago. Villanova has continued to struggle since then, while Syracuse's only loss came in an emotion-filled Freedom Hall. After watching Villanova play Syracuse, the Wildcats just don't have what it takes to beat such a good Syracuse team.
Syracuse 74, Villanova 66
No. 3 West Virginia vs. No. 10 Seton Hall
Seton Hall will not have enough gas left in it to win four games in four days with the style of offense it runs. The Pirates play up-tempo and will not be able to play with their strengths after this many games.
West Virginia 80, Seton Hall 67
Championship—Mar. 13, Madison Square Garden, ESPN
No. 1 Syracuse vs. No. 3 West Virginia
West Virginia will keep this game very close. The Mountaineers will do this by taking care of the ball. West Virginia turns the ball over less than 12 times per game. Syracuse gets to huge leads by forcing turnovers. The Orange are a much better shooting team and tend to take better shots. This will lead the Orange to a Big East Championship.
Syracuse 76, West Virginia 73
The MEAC Tournament belongs to Morgan State. The Bears only loss in conference came by three points to South Carolina State. Star guard Reggie Holmes is hitting stride again, averaging 31 points per game in his last three games. With Holmes being hot, there is now way a different MEAC team can beat them in the tournament.
The MEAC championship game will be televised on ESPN2 on Saturday, March 13.
For more college basketball, follow Jesse Kramer on Twitter by clicking here .
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