Busting Brackets

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
2 of 7

Key players for the Big East Tournament

SR Tristen Newton - UConn

2023-24 Stats: 15.0 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 5.8 apg

Fifth-year senior Tristen Newton has been a huge piece to UConn's dominance over the past two seasons, and leads the Huskies in in scoring, rebounding, and assists entering the Big East Tournament. Newton has become the heart and soul of this year's UConn team, and with a championship already under his belt, he looks primed to lead the Huskies to another title.

JR Kam Jones - Marquette

2023-24 Stats : 16.7 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.3 apg

With 2022-23 Big East Player of the Year Tyler Kolek potentially missing the Big East Tournament due to an injury, Kam Jones might just be the X-Factor for Marquette in the Big East Tournament. The junior guard has stepped it up in wake of Kolek's injury and has averaged 26 ppg over his last six games. In that stretch, Jones has shot an impressive 57% from beyond the arc and is playing his best basketball of the year. Should Kolek remain out for the Big East Tournament, Jones and Oso Ighodaro will be tasked with leading the Golden Eagles in New York.

SR Ryan Kalkbrenner - Creighton

2023-24 Stats: 17.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.3 apg

Creighton's big three of Ryan Kalkbrenner, Trey Alexander, and Baylor Scheierman are all players to watch, and the latter of the three may just be this year's Big East player of the year. However, Kalkbrenner is the senior veteran of the trio who has been a crucial piece to Creighton's puzzle for the Blue Jays over the last four years. This year, Kalkbrenner is playing the best basketball of his collegiate career and with a field goal percentage of 65.2%, he has been one of the efficient players in all of college basketball this year. Creighton is once again having a fantastic year, and with Kalkbrenner playing at the level he is, the Blue Jays may be able to go even further than they did last year.

JR Devin Carter - Providence

2023-24 Stats: 19.4 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 3.6 apg

Averaging 19.4 ppg, Friars guard Devin Carter sits second overall in the Big East in scoring, and has been huge for Providence all year. The Friars were dealt a massive blow in early January when Bryce Hopkins suffered a season-ending torn ACL, but Carter has been able to step to the plate since then, often leading Providence in scoring and keeping them very much in the tournament hunt. Don't be surprised if Carter helps lead Providence on a deep Big East Tournament run.

SR Kadary Richmond - Seton Hall

2023-24 Stats: 16.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 4.8 apg

Entering the season, Seton Hall was expected to finish towards the bottom of the Big East. Instead, Pirates guard Kadary Richmond has helped squash those expectations, helping the Pirates to a 4th place Big East finish and a near NCAA tournament lock. Leading the Pirates in both scoring and assists, Richmond is the guy who can make it a memorable March for Seton Hall fans.