Big East Tournament Projections: March 7

The Big East Tournament begins next Wednesday night. Here at Big East & Beyond, we will be predicting, previewing, and analyzing every game.

Until the bracket is set on Saturday night, however, Zurg will be updating the potential matchups for you to get a feel for how things will play out.

This Bracket represents all games through March 6, including Villanova’s win at Xavier and Butler’s win at DePaul:

March 6 Big East Bracket

Teams locked in: Villanova’s win at Xavier won the Wildcats their first outright regular season conference title since 1981-82. Jay Wright’s squad has clinched the No. 1 seed, meaning that Creighton has now been locked into the No. 2 seed. Also, Seton Hall will be the No. 8 seed. That is set in stone. Everything else is still up in the air. Let’s take a look at the conference’s remaining schedule:

MARCH 8:

St. John’s at Marquette: 12pm

The Johnnies defeated Marquette, 74-59, on February 1, which was the first win of a St. John’s 6-game winning streak. Marquette is coming off a crushing double overtime loss at Providence (that may have ended its at-large hopes), while St. John’s is very much alive and in need of a win. St. John’s 65, Marquette 59.

Georgetown at Villanova: 2pm

Villanova will have already won the Big East regular season title based on my earlier prediction (SEE: Villanova over Xavier). Georgetown could add another huge win to the resume at the Wells Fargo Center, but I think Villanova will finish strong and end the Big East having only lost to one opponent (twice… by a lot). Villanova 78, Georgetown 64.

Seton Hall at Butler: 4:30pm

Butler is the worst team in the Big East. Seton Hall is slightly better. Butler has the 2nd least efficient offense and least efficient defense in conference play. Seton Hall is 1-2 against Butler and DePaul this season. The Pirates will even that out and head into the Big East Tournament on a two-game winning streak. Seton Hall 74, Butler 71.

Providence at Creighton: 8pm

Providence was Creighton’s first loss of the Big East season way back on January 18. This time around, Creighton is on a two-game losing streak, and Providence has won four of five. However, I expect Creighton to take care of business on Senior Night when they celebrate Doug McDermott, Grant Gibbs, Jahenns Manigat, and Ethan Wragge. Creighton 81, Providence 72.

All of this would lead to a Big East Bracket that looks like this:

March 5 Big East Bracket

St. John’s desperately needs the win over Marquette on Saturday to add fuel to the “At-Large” fire – but a loss would likely knock them to the No. 6 seed on Creighton’s side of the bracket (where the Johnnies could do some serious damage).

In this bracket, DePaul has a more impressive win than Butler (vs. St. John’s) so it gets the No. 9 seed – but if Marquette beats the Red Storm on Saturday, Butler will then have the more impressive win (vs. Marquette) and move up to Villanova’s side of the bracket for a third rematch with Seton Hall.

I will continue to post updates as the remaining games are played, as well as my projected bracket based on predictions of the rest of the week’s schedule.

In closing, here is how I think the projected bracket will play out. By the beginning of the tournament, each Big East & Beyond staff member will post his own predictions and previews of the tournament:

Big East Projection March 5

Creighton will be cutting down the nets at Madison Square Garden in my opinion. Villanova’s kryptonite will take them down for a third time, and Doug McDermott will graduate with a Big East Championship.

Agree? Disagree? Post your comments below – or tweet us @BigEastandBeyond

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