User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Soccer
Horses
More
Betting Tools

 
New-look Big East tournament teams at Garden

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

NEW YORK (AP) - Since 1983, the Big East tournament has been played at Madison Square Garden. It became an event more than a college basketball championship. For a few days, New York City cared about a sport it usually doesn't.

Advertisement
From the days of Patrick Ewing, Chris Mullin and Pearl Washington to the years dominated by Allen Iverson, Ray Allen and Kerry Kittles to the recent times of Peyton Siva, Kemba Walker and Gerry McNamara, the Big East tournament provided stars on the court and on the sideline.

Hall of Fame coaches like John Thompson, Lou Carnesecca, Jim Boeheim, Jim Calhoun and Rick Pitino helped keep the national spotlight on the Garden.

Drastic realignment over the summer has changed the look of the Big East. Basketball powers like Connecticut, Syracuse, Louisville and Pittsburgh are gone. Creighton, Xavier and Butler joined seven basketball-only schools in the redesigned Big East.

This week we find out if that 10-team league can drum up the interest of the ''old'' Big East.

''I love the ambiance of it, the excitement of it, the stage it's on,'' Marquette coach Buzz Williams said. ''All that contributed to what it had been and it will continue. As a young coach, I thought of being with Jim Boeheim, Jim Calhoun, Rick Pitino, those sorts of guys and say I'm with the best, and now I think of Jay Wright and John Thompson III. It's OK to be respectful of what it has been and be thankful to people who have made this what it is.''

The tournament starts Wednesday night with first-round games between Seton Hall and Butler and Georgetown and DePaul.

The quarterfinals Thursday have top-seeded and third-ranked Villanova against the Seton Hall-Butler winner, St. John's against Providence, second-seeded and 14th-ranked Creighton against the Georgetown-DePaul winner and Xavier facing Marquette.

The first tournament without those highly ranked schools that brought a lot of fervent fans along will be watched by many to see if lives up to the past.

''It's important, but I don't see any reason why it won't deliver an outstanding tournament as the conference has for years,'' said St. John's coach Steve Lavin whose team plays its home games at Madison Square Garden. ''At this time of year, New Yorkers want to celebrate college basketball and they do it through Big East basketball. Given the competitive nature of this league, the compelling story lines, outstanding talents and rich rivalries, I expect an outstanding conference tournament.''

At previous Big East tournaments, most of the teams in the conference already had at-large bids to the NCAA tournament sewn up and were playing for seeding. Not so this year.

Villanova (28-3) and Creighton (24-6) are no-doubters for the field of 68 with the Wildcats in serious contention for a No. 1 seed.

Xavier, Providence and St. John's finished in a three-way tie for third and all had overall records of 20-11 and conference records of 10-8. In the latest RPI released by the NCAA, Xavier was at 48 with Providence at 53 and St. John's at 57. All numbers that get you in the bubble discussion but don't guarantee anything.

''Like everything else in its first year, it will be dissected because that's what our industry does,'' Villanova coach Jay Wright said. ''I think for the conference tournament and the conference as a whole, give it a couple of years. The first year went great and the tournament will be outstanding. Everything came together so quickly. It will take some time. Let's see how it goes and make some adjustments. We have the stability of Madison Square Garden, the schools that come to New York City and the alumni in the area.''

Creighton, featuring the nation's leading scorer in two-time All-America Doug McDermott, will help fill the void of fans.

''We sold out our tickets and then some, around 2,300 tickets,'' said Creighton coach Greg McDermott, Doug's father. ''Obviously they're thrilled about the opportunity to play in the Big East tournament and having that support in that building will be a huge plus for us.''

Doug McDermott is ready for his first Big East season to wrap up in New York.

''I'm really excited,'' he said. ''As a little kid I grew up watching the Big East tournament. There were so many great games at Madison Square Garden - Kemba Walker, Syracuse vs. UConn battles. They're no longer in the conference, but we can start up something special here.''

Just like the old days, there will be some early games that may not guarantee a spot in the NCAA field for the winner but spells doom for the loser. The St. John's-Providence matchup is one of those.

''Opportunity is knocking at the door,'' Providence coach Ed Cooley said, ''and one of us will kick it down.''

Sounds like the ''old'' Big East.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2015
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
News: Mid-Major Tournament Odds
Lawrence: MVC Betting Notebook
Marshall: Mid-Major Tournaments
Lawrence: WCC Betting Notebook
Badgers drop Minnesota, win Big 10 title
Ashley leads Arizona to 99-60 rout of Cal
Goodwin gives Memphis 54-53 win over UConn
Anderson's return for UVA slowed again
Jayhawks' Ellis to skip game Saturday
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NCAA BK College Basketball Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NCAA BK  Hot Streaks
12-4 L16 G-Plays, +1,637 TY
15-7 LN, 42-23 L65, 17-6 G-Plays
17-9 L26 G-Plays, +1,417 TY
5-0 Last Sat., 15-3 L3 Saturdays
+1,405 Net Profits This Year
5-1 L6 G-Plays, 24-14 L38 Picks
11-4 L15 Picks, 11-5 L16 G-Plays
7-1 L8 Over/Under Plays
4-1 Last 5 Guarantees
6-2 Over/Unders This Year
4-0 CBK Picks This Month
4-0 L4 G-Plays, 5-2 L7 Picks
NCAA BK College Basketball Expert Sports Picks- Yale Bulldogs at Harvard Crimson
2014 CBK SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
John Fisher + 1637
Kevin Rogers + 1417
Michael Black + 1405
Last 7 Day Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 1108
Doc's Sports + 370
Dave Cokin + 353
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Stephen Nover 55 %
Michael Black 54 %
John Fisher 54 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kevin Rogers + 1530
John Fisher + 1469
Brian Edwards + 643
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kyle Hunter + 1599
Scott Pritchard + 465
Andy Iskoe + 380
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 811
The Gold Sheet + 463
Kyle Hunter + 422
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Daily Fantasy Sager Bomb