Big East Tournament 2021: Bracket, TV Schedule, Dates and Predictions

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMarch 7, 2021

Connecticut guard James Bouknight (2) scores next to forward Isaiah Whaley (5) during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Seton Hall, Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Kathy Willens/Associated Press

The UConn Huskies' return to the Big East tournament could be one of their most successful postseason ventures in recent memory.

UConn enters Madison Square Garden as the No. 3 seed, but it is playing some of the best basketball of any team in the country.

The Villanova Wildcats and Creighton Bluejays took first and second in the Big East regular season, but they experienced some struggles of late.

Villanova won four of the past five Big East tournaments, but its title defense will be more difficult than in previous years with Collin Gillespie out of the lineup.


Big East Tournament Bracket and Schedule

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UConn Makes Run to Final

UConn flipped from a team struggling to win conference games to one of the hottest teams in the country in the past month.

The Huskies won six of their final seven regular-season games. The run was spurred by the return of James Bouknight, who scored 20 points in four of his last five appearances.

Bouknight completed the regular season with 21 points and five three-pointers in a blowout win over the Georgetown Hoyas. The star guard has a solid supporting cast around him, led by R.J. Cole and Adama Sanogo.

In five of their past six victories, the Huskies won by double digits, which leads you to believe they will handle their business against the lower seeds in any matchups.

UConn split its regular-season contests with Creighton and lost to Villanova by eight on February 20, when Gillespie was still leading the Nova offense.

Creighton may be vulnerable in New York since it lost two of its past three contests by a combined 20 points to the Xavier Musketeers and Villanova. The Bluejays bounced back with a win over the Butler Bulldogs on Saturday, but that result does not carry much significant since Butler is near the bottom of the conference.

Bouknight should be able to counter Marcus Zegarowski's impact in the Creighton backcourt, and if the supporting cast continues to play well, the Huskies could take down the Bluejays and advance to the Big East tournament final.


St. John's Pushes Villanova, Makes Run at NCAA Tournament Berth

St. John's is one of the most intriguing teams to watch during Championship Week.

The Red Storm won three of their last five games, with one of the two defeats coming at the hands of Villanova.

According to ESPN's Joe Lunardi, St. John's is one of the "next four out" teams, but it does have a chance to make a push toward the field of 68.

Mike Anderson's team faces the Seton Hall Pirates in a head-to-head bubble showdown Thursday and then should have a shot at Villanova in the semifinals.

Villanova mustered 52 points in its first game without Gillespie, and the Red Storm beat it in the first of their two meetings February 3.

If St. John's outclasses Seton Hall in the quarterfinal and could beat, or challenge, Villanova in the semifinals, it could make a push toward the field of 68.

St. John's still needs some help to reach the Big Dance, but if a few other bubble teams lose and it earns a quality result against Villanova, it could make a stronger case to be chosen by the selection committee.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.