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What-to-know tourney previews: Big East

By Jeff Borzello | College Basketball Writer

BIG EAST TOURNAMENT BRACKET

1. How much different will the Big East tournament be next year?

It will be different, certainly, but it won't be as different as it would have been if the Catholic 7 didn't keep the Big East name and Madison Square Garden. As a result, we'll still see Georgetown, Marquette, St. John's, Providence, DePaul, Seton Hall and Villanova at MSG, along with at least Xavier and Butler. Of course, there will be no Connecticut, Louisville, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Rutgers, Cincinnati or South Florida, so it definitely won't be the same.

As someone who grew up with the Big East tournament, I can say it's undoubtedly going to be weird seeing the Big East tournament without so many of its historical schools -- but it will be the start of a new era of Big East basketball.

2. Will either Georgetown or Louisville end up with a No. 1 seed on Selection Sunday?

Both Georgetown and Louisville are in the mix for a No. 1 seed, but it's likely that only the winner of the tournament -- if it's one of those two -- can get it come Selection Sunday. Both teams are playing great basketball lately, as Louisville hasn't lost in four overtimes or fewer since Jan. 26 against Georgetown, while the Hoyas have peeled off 12 wins in their last 13 games.

In terms of resume, the edge might go to Louisville right now -- despite Georgetown having the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament. The biggest difference in the resume? Georgetown has a bad loss to South Florida, while Louisville's worst loss was at Villanova -- a defeat Georgetown also has on its resume. In the end, it would be terrific to see these two schools battling next Saturday night for the right to a Big East championship -- and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

3. Will we see another four-wins-in-four-days run?

With Connecticut ineligible for the conference tournament due to an APR-based postseason ban, there are only 14 teams in this year's bracket. Four teams received a double bye, and six teams got a one-round reprieve. Out of the teams that will suit up on Wednesday, are any capable of winning the bid? Without a doubt.

Syracuse is playing poorly lately, but the Orange are usually excellent at Madison Square Garden; the style of Cincinnati and Notre Dame lends itself to a neutral-court environment; and St. John's will be playing on its homecourt. In the standings, only three games separated fourth place and 10th place, so there wasn't a huge difference in regular-season performance. MSG always brings out some magic at the Big East tournament; will we see some more this year?

___________________________________________________________________________

Schedule: March 12-16 in New York

Title game: Saturday, March 16 at 8:30 p.m., on ESPN

THREE BEST PLAYERS

  1. Otto Porter (Georgetown)
  2. Russ Smith (Louisville)
  3. Jack Cooley (Notre Dame)

Conference RPI: 3
KenPom.com rating: 2
Sagarin rating: 2

For more college basketball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnCBB on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed and subscribe to our College Basketball Newsletter. You can follow Jeff Borzello on Twitter here: @jeffborzello

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