Big East Tournament 2019: Basketball Bracket and Championship Picks

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMarch 12, 2019

Seton Hall guard Myles Powell (13) goes up for a layup against Villanova guard Collin Gillespie (2) and forward Jermaine Samuels, lower right, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, March 9, 2019, in Newark, N.J. Seton Hall defeated Villanova 79-75. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Kathy Willens/Associated Press

If you're looking for madness before the NCAA men's basketball tournament, we strongly suggest tuning into the 2019 Big East tournament. 

The Big East was one of the most unpredictable leagues throughout the college basketball season, and with a few desperate teams entering Madison Square Garden, every game should produce its share of excitement. 

Although Villanova and Marquette are the top two seeds, they are from guaranteed to make Saturday's championship game since they both experienced rough patches of form during conference play. 

Because the Big East regular season was so volatile, almost every team seeded from third to 10th is playing to solidify their positions in the field of 68. 

Recent tournament history suggests some upsets will occur at Madison Square Garden, as the top two seeds have never met in the final since the Big East realigned ahead of the 2013-14 campaign. 




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Championship Pick

Seton Hall over Creighton 

After going over the Big East tournament bracket in depth, we're choosing to embrace the chaos that erupted throughout the league in the regular season.

Since top-seeded Villanova has been susceptible to upsets all season and No. 2 seed Marquette enters on a four-game losing streak, we're not ready to put full trust behind either team to stay alive until Saturday. 

Seton Hall and Creighton are both more than capable of making runs to the championship game and knocking off the top seeds on their sides of the bracket in the process. 

The Pirates are riding high after upsetting Villanova in their regular-season finale, and they'll get a chance to take on struggling Marquette in the semifinals if form somehow holds. 

Myles Powell will be the reason why Kevin Willard's Pirates surge into the championship game, as the guard adds his name to Big East tournament lore with a few standout performances. 

Powell, who averages 22.6 points per game, is a star within Big East circles, but he hasn't received a ton of national recognition during his career. 

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 09: Myles Powell #13 of the Seton Hall Pirates in action against Jermaine Samuels #23 of the Villanova Wildcats during a college basketball game at Prudential Center on March 9, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey. Seton Hall defeated Villanova
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

That will change as the junior guard, who has scored over 20 points in his last four games, takes over the spotlight in wins over Georgetown and either Marquette or St. John's.

Powell's exploits at Madison Square Garden will safely place the Pirates into the NCAA tournament. Currently, the Pirates are a No. 10 seed in projections made by ESPN.com's Joe Lunardi and CBSSports.com's Jerry Palm.

In the championship game, the Pirates defeat Creighton, who enters as the most dangerous team in the Big East with a five-game winning streak and a NCAA tournament berth to play for. 

In Lunardi's most-recent projection, the Bluejays are the third team out behind Indiana and Belmont, while Palm has them has one of his last four in. 

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 03:  Marcus Zegarowski #11 of the Creighton Bluejays is defended by Sacar Anim #2 and Ed Morrow #30 of the Marquette Golden Eagles during the second half of a game at Fiserv Forum on March 03, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Ph
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

In order to leave out any doubt regarding their resume, the Bluejays need to beat Xavier in the quarterfinals and then take down Villanova, who they lost to twice in the regular season.

By avenging defeats to the top-seeded Wildcats in the semifinals, Ty-Shon Alexander, Martin Krampelj and the Bluejays should assure themselves of a spot in the field of 68. 

Of course, the easiest path to the Big Dance for Creighton is to win Saturday's final, but we don't believe any team will be able to stop Powell and the Pirates in New York City. 


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.