Big East tournament predictions

With the Big East tournament set to start on Tuesday, the staffers at The Juice Online make their predictions on what will happen this week.

wesWesley Cheng
Winner: Pittsburgh
Darkhorse: St. John’s (If you really can consider the No. 5 seed a “darkhorse.”)
Syracuse will: Lose to Pitt in the semi-finals.
MVP: Ashton Gibbs
The Orange will get by St. John’s in the quarterfinals to meet Pitt in the semis. SU has struggled against Pittsburgh in recent years, and I don’t see that trend ending anytime soon.

bradBrad Bierman
Winner: Louisville
Darkhorse: Connecticut (The Huskies will win two games as a No. 9 seed.)
Syracuse will: Lose in the semi-finals to Pittsburgh by five
MVP: Peyton Siva

The only higher seed to advance the first day will be Providence. The only higher seed to advance on day two will be Connecticut. SU will beat SJU in a tight finish right to the end, then lose to Pitt by five. Louisville beats Notre Dame (revenge for regular season loss) in other semi-final, then over Pitt by three in the finals.

micahMicah Tannenbaum
Winner: Louisville
Darkhorse: Connecticut
Syracuse will: Lose to Pittsburgh
MVP: Kyle Kuric

UConn and Villanova are the only two teams that play on Tuesday that have a shot at making a deep run (but five straight days of basketball is just asking too much). I have them tapping out in the quarterfinals. The top four seeds will hold with Pitt versus Syracuse and Notre Dame against Louisville in the semis. I like Louisville beating Pittsburgh on Saturday night, winning their second Big East Tournament Championship in three years.

branniganDan Brannigan
Winner: Notre Dame
Darkhorse: Connecticut
Syracuse will: Lose to Pittsburgh in the semifinals
MVP: Ben Hansbrough

Syracuse will prove it’s not only “New York’s college team,” it also will prove it’s New York City’s team by beating St. John’s in the quarterfinals. One team that will play on day one and be prepared to make a deep run: UConn. Notre Dame and Pitt will meet in the final. Notre Dame has a shot at a No.1 seed in the NCAA tourney; it gets it in New York City.

robbieRobbie Gillies
Winner: Notre Dame
Darkhorse: Seton Hall (Not that I think they have a chance to win but they could possibly pull off a couple upsets.)
Syracuse will: I’ll go to seed on this one and have them bowing out to Pitt in the semis.
MVP: Ben Hansbrough (leads ND in scoring and shooting an absurd 45 percent from 3-point range.)

It’s somewhat insane to attempt to predict this conference. Outside of the bottom four, any team can beat any other team. Notre Dame has just been phenomenal down the stretch and are potentially playing for a one-seed in the tournament. The Irish have too much fire power and if they can’t take down Louisville I think they’ll win it all by beating Pitt.

dagsMatt Dagostino
Winner: Pittsburgh
Darkhorse: Villanova
Syracuse will: Lose to Pittsburgh in the semifinals
MVP: Ashton Gibbs

With the Big East so tightly packed, don’t be surprised to see some teams seeded eighth or worse make some noise throughout the week. In the end, though, Pittsburgh has been the most consistent team in the conference throughout the season. Look for them to remain that way in the tournament.

jeffJeff Irvine
Winner: Syracuse – The Orange is getting hot at the right time.
Darkhorse: Cincinnati – The Bearcats come in having won five of six, including two wins against Georgetown and one against Louisville.
Syracuse will: Win the Big East Championship, but ultimately get knocked out of the Big Dance in the Elite 8.
MVP: Rick Jackson

Syracuse has St. John’s number, even at Madison Square Garden. SU will cruise past the Red Storm and face Pittsburgh in the semis. The winner of this game takes home the Big East crown, and Syracuse’s zone proves tougher than when the the two teams met in January. Syracuse beats West Virginia in the final after the Mountaineers upset Louisville in the quarters and take down Cincinnati in the semis. The Bearcats oust Notre Dame in the quarters. Standard fair for the Big East.

chandlerMike Chandler
Winner: Notre Dame
Darkhorse: Connecticut
Syracuse will: Lose to Notre Dame in the finals.
MVP: Ben Hansbrough

UConn gets frisky and knocks off Pitt in the quarterfinals, and its reward is a beat-down by the Orange. The Irish gets hot from three, and it carries through to the finals where they finally solve the zone. Irish fans go wild, and there’s a line at the confessional booth the next day.

porterMark Porter
Winner: Pittsburgh
Darkhorse: West Virginia (Can anyone not named DePaul or South Florida really be a dark horse?)
Syracuse will: Lose to Pittsburgh, badly.
MVP: Ashton Gibbs

Ashton Gibbs will shoot lights out from 3. Pitt will look dominant in its three games, trouncing UConn, Syracuse and Louisville. The Panthers will be a No. 1 seed for the tournament and the talking heads will over-hype their dominant run. I will be sold on them and pick them to win the national title. They will then lose in the Sweet 16 game and I will throw the remote through my flatscreen, as once again a team that is built to beat only Big East opponents costs me money.

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