Four Corners: Which conference tournament are you most looking forward to?

March 09, 2010

Deep Big East is beast
David Teel

Newport News

Daily Press

We love the ACC's storied past and envy the Mountain West's Las Vegas locale. But any conference tournament in which Georgetown is the No. 8 seed is an embarrassment of riches.

Such is life in the bloated Big East, where all 16 teams descend upon Madison Square Garden. Three consecutive days of noon-to-midnight basketball will test any fan's endurance, but when the fare includes Syracuse, Villanova and Pittsburgh, and Wesley Johnson, Scottie Reynolds and Greg Monroe, it's worth it.

Notre Dame, Seton Hall, South Florida and perhaps Marquette need quality showings to establish their NCAA tournament credentials. Poor South Florida. If the Bulls dust DePaul, they could face games against Georgetown, Syracuse, Villanova and Pitt. Good luck with that.

dteel@tribune.com

New York is place to be
Shannon Ryan

Chicago Tribune

The best way to prepare for filling out your bracket is to watch the Big East tournament. As many as nine teams playing at Madison Square Garden will be in the NCAA tournament.

There's intrigue. Notre Dame wants to win another game to solidify that its name will come up on Selection Sunday. With a strong run, a talented yet struggling Connecticut team could find itself back in the conversation.

There's competitiveness. Syracuse, Villanova and West Virginia look like possible champs. But can you definitely count out Louisville? Or Georgetown? Or Pittsburgh? There's drama. Who can forget last season's six-overtime game between Syracuse and UConn?

The Big East tournament produces the best story lines and the best basketball. It's the conference tournament to watch.

sryan@tribune.com

Try wide-open Big Ten
Andrea Adelson

Orlando Sentinel

Do you have any idea who is going to win the Big Ten tournament? Because I have no clue, which is why I am most looking forward to it. You figure Kansas in the Big 12, Kentucky in the SEC, Duke vs. Maryland in the ACC, a snoozer in the Pac-10, but the Big Ten?

It's going to be a free-for-all. Ohio State, Purdue and Michigan State finished in a three-way tie for first place. At different points, each seemed poised to emerge as a No. 1 seed. Before Robbie Hummel got hurt, everybody thought the Boilermakers. Now expectations have been turned up for the Buckeyes thanks to the sensational Evan Turner.

Michigan State hit a rough patch a month ago, but the Spartans are always tough come tournament time. Then there is Wisconsin, which finished just one game behind the power trio.

aadelson@tribune.com

Top to bottom, Big East
Mike Anthony

Hartford Courant

This was supposed to be a down year for the Big East, which had three No. 1 seeds in the 2009 NCAA tournament. The prevailing thought was that the conference would lack the heavy hitters of a year ago.

But the Big East tournament certainly is the one most worth watching. Top-seeded Syracuse began the season unranked and ascended to No. 1 in the nation. Second-seeded Pittsburgh said goodbye to Sam Young and DeJuan Blair only to steadily climb the rankings. Third-seeded West Virginia spent most of the season in the top 10. Villanova, seeded fourth, is coming off a Final Four berth and in good standing for another.

It's compelling at the top, even more so at the bottom. The Big East has twice landed eight teams in the NCAA tournament. This year, there could be nine.

manthony@tribune.com

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