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Big East basketball: 2024 Conference Tournament Preview

Madison Square Garden will be buzzing with energy as the Big East Tournament tips off. With half of the Big East teams finding themselves in the thick of the NCAA tournament bubble, who will help put themselves on the right side - and wrong side of the bubble?

Connecticut v Marquette
Connecticut v Marquette / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages
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Entering the 2023-24 season, the excitement surrounding the Big East was impalpable. Offseason changes within the conference, including coaching changes, transfers, and key returners, dominated the headlines. While the Big East has always been among the top conferences in college basketball, it was expected to take another step up this season. And generally speaking, that has been the case, with eight of the 11 Big East teams either being NCAA tournament locks or in contention for an at-large bid.

But the biggest storyline over the past month has been the half-dozen teams that have spent a most of the season right in the heart of tournament bubble. Villanova, Seton Hall, Providence, Butler, St. John's, and Xavier have all spent a significant portion of conference play on the tournament bubble, and all of those teams (with the exception of Xavier) enter the Big East tournament very much alive for an at-large bid to the big dance.

However, the defending national champion UConn Huskies look stronger than ever, and are the clear-cut team to beat in the Big East tournament. The Huskies went 18-2 in Big East play, while winning the Big East regular season by a whopping four games, and all but have a no. 1 seed for the NCAA tournament locked up. Ranked no. 2 in the AP polls with a 27-3 overall record, the chance for a championship repeat is very much alive. Creighton and the defending Big East Tournament champions in Marquette, enter the tournament second and third overall, and like UConn, are locks to not only make the NCAA tournament, but earn a high seed.

On the other end of the spectrum sits Georgetown and DePaul who once again were the bottom two finishers for the third straight year. With an 0-20 record in Big East play along with a 3-27 overall record, last place DePaul has had a nightmarish season, failing to win a single Big East game along with firing head coach Tony Stubblefield mid-season. Despite the big offseason moves, 10th place Georgetown hasn't fared much better, sitting 9-21 overall with a 2-18 record in Big East play - with those only two wins being against DePaul.

But anything can happen in March, and while the odds may be very much against certain teams, it goes without saying that anyone can win the Big East Tournament in a given year.