Big East Conference Tournament: Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and Other Possible Champs

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Big East Conference Tournament: Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and Other Possible Champs
Michael Heiman/Getty Images

The Big East tournament is unlike any other.  

Because of the ultra, ultra, ultra competitiveness of the conference's teams, the Big East tournament's descent on Madison Square Garden every year is a mini-NCAA tournament on its own.  Currently the league boasts seven of the top 22 ranked teams in the nation and 10 teams have reached the 20-win mark already.

The SEC has five, the Pac-10 has three, the ACC has four, the Big 12 has five, the Big Ten has three and the Mountain West has four.  

The Big East has twice as many 20-win teams as any other major conference.  Current projections have the conference sending a record 11 teams into the field of 68 at this year's NCAA tournament, good for better than 16 percent of the entire field.

With so many national title contenders in this conference alone, the Big East tournament offers fans an early chance to see these titans clash before the Big Dance even starts.  

Several teams have a shot at taking the Big East, which makes the field wide open.  Because of the top-heaviness of the league, upsets are rampant and high seeds don't always win.  Here's the tournament seeds of each Big East champs for the last five years: four, one, seven, one, nine.

Three of the last five years, a fourth seed or lower has won the Big East tournament, which makes this tournament the most fun of them all to watch.  

With so many strong teams contending this year, it's hard to know which ones are for real and which ones will fold.  

Here are the five true threats to run the table at the Garden this weekend.   

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