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
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Teams to look out for

Team to beat: UConn

There's a lot that can be said about this UConn team. At 27-3 overall and 18-2 in conference play, it is very clear that this year's Big East Tournament runs through UConn. Despite losing several key pieces from last season's championship team, the Huskies have looked even stronger this year. All five of UConn's starters are averaging double figures in scoring, and are all capable of being the difference maker on a given night. Along with the aforementioned Tristen Newton, returning sophomores Alex Karaban and Donovan Clingan have (once again) made a huge impact on this UConn and have stepped it up in their elevated roles. Former Rutgers guard Cam Spencer and freshman guard Stephon Castle round out the starting five while both bringing something extra to the already loaded lineup. UConn's three losses this year have all come in true road games and they have a perfect mark in home and neutral site games.

Top Contender: Creighton

The top contender to UConn is nearly a toss-up between Creighton and Marquette. But there's one notable difference between these two teams this year that puts Creighton a step ahead of Marquette; owning a win over UConn. While Marquette was swept by the Huskies, the Blue Jays not only beat UConn, but absolutely hammered them just a couple of weeks ago. The dominant 85-66 win for Creighton saw the Blue Jays lead by double digits for most of the game, and while UConn's other two losses were rather competitive ones, this one was not. These two teams wouldn't meet until the championship game, but should they both reach that game, expect a good one between these two.

Team likeliest to surprise: St. John's

The title of this could've gone to any of five true bubble teams, but St. John's looks to have the best odds of the bunch. The Red Storm will have a big advantage throughout the Big East tournament, thanks to Madison Square Garden being their primary home arena. While it may not have be a "normal" home game for St. John's, the home court advantage will very much be a factor. On top of this, the Red Storm enter the tournament on a five game win streak that includes wins over Creighton and Butler. Sitting right on the NCAA tournament, cut line, the Red Storm have no room for error entering the Big East Tournament and will likely need to win at least one game to feel good about their NCAA tournament chances. A possible semi finals matchup with UConn looms, and a win in that game would do wonders for the Red Storm.