Entering the Big East tournament, there were six teams who locked their NCAA bids while another six were still on the bubble. Marquette, Notre Dame, Seton Hall, USF, Connecticut, and even Cincinnati ended their seasons in hopes of receiving at-large bids but all knew they had some work to do in the conference championship tournament. Some may need just one win, while others could need a run to the finals.
Four of these six teams played in the first round and we saw everything from a last second free-throw to a team blowing a 29 point lead to even an upset. Here's a recap from the first round.
Bubbles that are floating into the next round:
Nine seed USF kept its bubble from popping and floated up to the second round with its easy win over 16-seed Depaul.
In the first game of the night double header, Seton Hall's offense was clicking early as they took a 55-39 lead into halftime against Providence, and then capped that off with a 29 point lead only to blow it all away and barely escape from the 15-seed Friars, 109-106.
In the nightcap, we saw the closest game of the night, in which a last second free throw by 11-seed Cincinnati's Big East Freshman of the Year Lance Stephenson capped off the 69-68 victory over 14-seed Rutgers.
Bubbles that popped:
In the second game, The 12-seed Connecticut Huskies were not as fortunate. their opponent, 13-seed St. John's came out swinging right from the beginning and led the entire game, ending in a 73-51 victory over UConn.
Second Round Matchups
9-seed USF (next four out) vs. 8-seed Georgetown (lock), 12 p.m, ESPN
Prediction: USF 65, Georgetown 71
13-seed St. John's (off the board) vs. 5-seed Marquette (Last 8 in), 2 p.m, ESPN
Prediction: St. John's 67, Marquette 65
10-seed Seton Hall (first four out) vs. 7-seed Notre Dame (last four in), 7 p.m. ESPN
Prediction: Seton Hall 81, Notre Dame 78
11-seed Cincinnati (next four out) vs. 6-seed Louisville(lock), 9 p.m, ESPN
Prediction: Cincinnati 64, Louisville 73