Big East Tournament 2011 Preview

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Big East Tournament 2011 Preview
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The most trying conference tournament in college basketball begins Tuesday as the Big East Tournament kicks off at Madison Square Garden.

As Bob Knight stated a couple weeks ago on ESPN, the Big East Tournament is arguably more difficult to win than the NCAA Tournament. This year's tournament, which fields all 16 teams, features two Top 20 teams in the First Round, which puts the ninth through 16th-placed teams against each other.

The big talk this year is that 11 teams are currently, according to ESPN's Joe Lunardi and other experts, locked into the NCAA tournament. The conference has dominated this year. It features the strongest strength of schedule, the highest RPI, currently nine ranked teams and non-conference wins over Duke, Purdue, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Michigan State among other big names.

This year's tournament will be extremely entertaining. It's hard to pick a winner and a lot of talk surrounds the return to relevance of the St. John's Red Storm, who have won by double digits at Madison Square Garden against Duke, Connecticut and Notre Dame and also have home wins over Georgetown and Pittsburgh as well as a late season road win at Villanova. Steve Lavin has that team in contention again.

There are many teams who can win this tournament or at least interesting. Here we will break down the tourney and pick a winner.

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