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Big East Tournament 2019: Bracket, TV Schedule, Dates and Predictions

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistMarch 10, 2019

If Villanova is going to assert itself in the Big East tournament, Phil Booth will have to play well.
If Villanova is going to assert itself in the Big East tournament, Phil Booth will have to play well.Matt Slocum/Associated Press

The Big East tournament seems to belong to Villanova or Marquette this season.

It's not that the Wildcats and Golden Eagles have been so dominant this year, but the rest of the Big East hasn't established any consistency.

Villanova clinched the Big East title with a 13-5 conference record—one game better than the 12-6 Golden Eagles.

Georgetown, Seton Hall, Xavier and Creighton all tied for third place at 9-9. 

The Hoyas and Pirates head into the conference tournament with momentum, having beaten Marquette and Villanova, respectively, in their final regular-season games Saturday.

Georgetown won 86-84 on the road, while the Pirates picked up a 79-75 home victory.

Georgetown was led by freshman guards James Akinjo, who scored 25 points, and Mac McClung, who netted 23. The Golden Eagles closed the season with four straight losses.

Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski hopes to reverse that in the Big East tournament, which gets underway Wednesday.

"We better try to figure it out," Wojciechowski said, per the Associated Press. "But regardless, when your offense isn't going the way you want it to, you have to play defense. I thought their freshman guards just had their way with us."

Seton Hall closed the regular season by beating Marquette and Villanova in back-to-back games. 

Myles Powell scored 20 to lead the Pirates, while Myles Cale added 19 to help key the win over Villanova.

"We just beat two ranked teams. We beat Kentucky. We beat Maryland," Powell said, per the AP. "The list goes on. We can play with anybody in the country when we are playing our basketball." 

         

Big East Tournament Schedule, March 13-16

All Times ET. 

FOX College Hoops @CBBonFOX

The @BIGEASTMBB Tournament stage is SET. https://t.co/z2uIwFCAZ9

Wednesday, March 13

No. 8 Providence vs. No. 9 Butler (7 p.m., FS1) 

No. 7 St. John's vs. No. 10 DePaul (9:30 p.m., FS1)             

        

Thursday, March 14

No. 1 Villanova vs. Winner of No. 8 vs. No. 9 (Noon, FS1) 

No. 4 Xavier vs. No. 5 Creighton (2:30 p.m., FS1) 

No. 2 Marquette vs. Winner of No. 7 vs. No. 10 (7 p.m., FS1) 

No. 3 Seton Hall vs. No. 6 Georgetown (9:30 p.m., FS1)                

          

Friday, March 15

Semifinal No. 1 (6:30 p.m., FS1) 

Semifinal No. 2 (9 p.m., FS1)                

          

Saturday, March 16 

Championship (6:30 p.m., Fox) 

           

Villanova may have won the league title, but this year's team doesn't resemble last year's national champions.

The Wildcats have lost four of their last six games, and they have been struggling on defense. Villanova is allowing an average of 66.7 points per game, ranking 56th in the nation.

If Villanova is going to get its act together in the postseason, look for guard Phil Booth to take charge offensively. He leads the Wildcats with 18.7 points per game, and he is handing out 3.9 assists per night. Forward Eric Paschall is adding 16.6 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.

Marquette will have to depend on guard Markus Howard, who has averaged 24.9 points this season and is connecting on 90.7 percent of his free throws. Howard is getting scoring help from forward Sam Hauser, who's dropped 15.1 points and taken down 7.1 rebounds per game. 

Howard and Hauser are the only Golden Eagles averaging in double figures. Howard has scored 30 points or more nine times this season.

Jesse Govan is averaging 17.9 points per game for the Hoyas, and he is contributing 7.7 rebounds per night. McClung and Akinjo are averaging 13.0 and 12.9 points per game, respectively.

Powell is Seton Hall's go-to scorer, and he is averaging 22.7 points per game. Cale is Seton Hall's only other double-digit scorer, and he is averaging 10.1 points.

              

Predictions 

Expect Villanova and Marquette to catch their collective breath and find their stride in the quarterfinal round with easy victories.

The Wildcats should keep it going against the winner of the Creighton-Xavier game.

Marquette may not be so lucky against the Seton Hall-Georgetown winner. While the Hoyas will scrap hard, the Pirates will emerge with the quarterfinal win and upset the Golden Eagles to reach the championship round.

Seton Hall is filled with confidence and will take a halftime lead in the title game, but Villanova will gather itself in the second half and win the Big East tournament.

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