Big East Awards and Tournament Predictions

Can we get an encore this week?  The 2020 Big East season was certainly one to remember.  It featured the senior seasons of two of the best scorers in conference history – Markus Howard who broke a two decade old record, and Myles Powell who provided the league with so many moments.

As a conference, the Big East was also one of, if not, the best in college basketball.  With potentially seven teams in great position to receive bids, and Seton Hall, Villanova, and Creighton all with legitimate final four hopes, the conference has provided challenge after challenge all season long.

The Big East Tournament has a history of giving us some of the best conference tournament games each season and this year has all the makings to be just as special.

Without further ado, your Big East Awards and tournament predictions:

 

First Team

Markus Howard – Marquette

Myles Powell – Seton Hall

Kamar Baldwin – Butler

Saadiq Bey – Villanova

Naji Marshall – Xavier

 

Second Team

Ty-Shon Alexander – Creighton

Marcus Zegarowski – Creighton

Collin Gillespie – Villanova

Omer Yurtseven – Georgetown

Alpha Diallo – Providence

 

Freshman of the Year – Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Villanova

Coach of the Year – Ed Cooley, Providence

Defensive Player of the Year – Romaro Gill, Seton Hall

Player of the Year – Myles Powell, Seton Hall

 

First Round – Wednesday, March 11

Georgetown vs St. John’s – 7:00 pm – FS1

One of the best remaining rivalries since the Big East split up, St. John’s and Georgetown can always be counted on to deliver some quality basketball at Madison Square Garden.  While St. John’s certainly has the talent to get the job done and also have been playing especially well, I’m actually going to take the Hoyas.  Omer Yurtseven’s inside presence is too much for the Johnnies.

Prediction: Georgetown-77 St. John’s-72

DePaul vs. Xavier – 9:30 pm – FS1

DePaul started the season as hot as anyone, but as Big East play unfolded, the Blue Demons started to fold with it.  Xavier meanwhile is right on the bubble in terms of the NCAA Tournament.  Tyrique Jones and Naji Marshall have been big all season long, but I’m actually going with DePaul.  Expect big things from Charlie Moore and Paul Reed if they do take care of business.

Prediction: DePaul-78 Xavier-70

 

Quarterfinals – Thursday, March 12

Creighton vs. Georgetown – 12:00 pm – FS1

It looks like Marcus Zegarowski – one of Creighton’s most important pieces – may be out for the entire Big East Tournament, and especially this one.  With that being said, Ty-Shon Alexander and Mitch Ballock are more than capable of providing instant offense.  It may just be a bit closer than expected.

Prediction: Creighton-80 Georgetown-71

Providence vs. Butler – 2:30 pm – FS1

One of the more intriguing matchups in the quarterfinals pits Kamar Baldwin’s late game heroics versus Ed Cooley’s in game adjustments.  The difference to me here is the physicality from Providence.  Alpha Diallo and Nate Watson, among others, are complete animals on the boards.  If Butler isn’t knocking down threes, it could be hard for them to match the Friars on the glass.

Prediction: Providence-74, Butler-67

Villanova vs. DePaul – 7:00 pm – FS1

Where DePaul’s offense was enough against Xavier, it won’t be nearly as efficient against a Jay Wright coached Villanova team.  Saadiq Bey and Collin Gillespie also prove to be a bit too much, as Nova rolls.

Prediction: Villanova-85 DePaul-72

Seton Hall vs. Marquette – 9:30 pm – FS1

Myles Powell versus Markus Howard.  Does it get any better than that?  The top two scorers in the Big East and two of the top players in the country face off in the final quarterfinal of the night.  I’ve got a Pirates win, mostly because they’ve shut down Howard in both meetings this season.  Both teams are in need of a win to get hot before tournament time, and the Pirates are just too deep.

Prediction: Seton Hall-71 Marquette-67

 

Semifinals – Friday, March 13

Creighton vs. Providence – 6:30 pm – FS1

On paper, Creighton should win this game by a few possessions.  However, I’m still banking on Zegarowski being out, so I’ll keep on that Friars train.  After all, like against Butler, Providence will have the edge on the boards against Creighton, and with Zegarowski out, will have one less shooter to worry about.  Ed Cooley, welcome back to the finals!

Prediction: Providence-72 Creighton-70

Villanova vs. Seton Hall – 9:00 pm – FS1

The two rivals split the season series, each winning on each other’s home court.  This game is a neutral one for both, but one where both teams can get a lot of fans there due to how close they are to New York.  Game wise, I see a big performance from Powell.  He hasn’t had the games he’s capable of recently, but the Garden seems to bring out the best in him.  Hall in a classic.

Prediction: Seton Hall-80 Villanova-77

 

Finals – Friday, March 13

Providence vs. Seton Hall – 7:00 pm – FOX

The Hall has struggled against Providence this season, most recently losing at the Dunkin’ Donuts center a few weeks back.  I see a close game between these two in this matchup, and I see Seton Hall taking it.  Powell continues his hot streak and the Pirates win the Big East Tournament for the first time since 2016.

Prediction: Seton Hall-69 Providence-64