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Big East Basketball Tournament

Current Odds - Preview - Prediction

3/9/10

There is little to discuss when you talk about the best conference in College Basketball in the 2009-2010 season. The Big East is very good from top to bottom, which they have showed all season long with teams like Syracuse, Villanova, and West Virginia, which should make for the most competitive conference tournament in the NCAA. Villanova was the pre season pick to win the Big East, but no one expected Syracuse to come out and play as well as they have. They are arguably the most well rounded team in the country, so if Villanova or anyone else is going to get past the Orangemen it’s going to take a big effort. This is what March Madness is all about, so anything could happen when these teams take the court.

Syracuse got a huge boost when Wesley Johnson decided to transfer from Iowa State to the Orangemen. After sitting out last season Johnson has not missed a beat averaging 15.6 points per game to go along with his 8.6 rebounds per game. He has been a big reason for Syracuse’s success this season, but he is not a one man show. Syracuse is arguably the most well rounded team in the country which makes it difficult for teams to slow them down. They have the guards like Andy Rautins to go along with a trio of big men. They finished their season with a loss to Louisville, but with the Big East wrapped up I wouldn’t put much thought into that loss when it comes to the Big East or NCAA tournament since Syracuse had nothing to gain, and Louisville was playing for an NCAA Tournament bid. It’s going to take a good effort from someone to knock the Orangemen out of this tournament. 

After starting the season 20-1 Villanova has dropped 5 out of their last 9 games which is not the ideal way to come into the Big East and NCAA Tournaments. This team really needs to gain some momentum back before the Big Dance, and the Big East Tournament will give them that opportunity. You also have to take into consideration that their 5 losses came against 5 of the top teams in the Big East. With a leader like Scottie Reynolds we don’t expect that rough end to the season to affect this team when it counts, and we all know that guard play wins in the Big Dance, and Villanova has one of the best guards and leaders in the whole NCAA. 

West Virginia is not a team that gets a lot of recognition when people talk about the cream of the crop in College Basketball, but they probably should. Bob Huggins has the Mountaineers playing some scrappy basketball, and the thing we like most about them is they have proven that they know how to win close games. They have three very strong and athletic forwards with Da’Sean Butler, Kevin Jones, and Devin Eubanks who are averaging 17.1, 13.7, and 12.4 points. When those three are able to get things going and create opportunities for each other this is a tough team to handle.
 

If we had to pick a few teams to watch out for as dark horses we would have to go with Pittsburgh and Notre Dame. Its tough to call Pittsburgh a dark horse since they finished #2 in the Big East standings, but we had to mention them in this article because they have a great chance in this tournament. They hit a little skid in the middle of the year where they dropped 4 out of 5, but since then they have won 8 out of their last 9 to close out the year, and their Coach Jamie Dixon knows what it takes to win tournament games. Anytime you got Luke Harangody you have a chance. He has shown time and time again that he has the ability to single handedly take over games. The Irish won their last four games to close out the year against Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Georgetown, and Marquette, so they have the momentum going for them, and if Harangody gets hot look out for the Irish.

Lastly, if you're looking for a big underdog to back at juicy odds, UCONN is the name. At 25-1 odds they could be worth a peanut investment. They can beat any team in this tournament. The same can't be said for other 55-1 shots around the country. They are also desperate, which can't hurt, as the only way they get in to the big dance is if they make it to the finals of this tournament.

Here are the current odds to win the Big East Tournament

Syracuse 1.5/1
Villanova 3/1
West Virginia 3/1
Pitt 3/1
Louisville 7/1
Georgetown 8/1
Notre Dame 8/1
Marquette 15/1
Uconn 25/1
South Florida 30/1
Cinci 50/1

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