by John Fanta
NEWARK — The day begin with none of the 10 teams in the BIG EAST being locked into a seed for the BIG EAST Tournament. The dust has settled now, and the field is sealed for the 36th running the tournament inside Madison Square Garden.
The headliner? Villanova’s run of four straight regular season titles has come to a close. Xavier snuck past DePaul to get the #1 seed. With that, the Wildcats finished second. The 3-seed was decided in the nightcap, as Seton Hall went to 10-8 in the BIG EAST. Being in a three-way tie with Creighton and Providence, the teams go into a mini conference. The Pirates owned the most head-to-head wins with three, giving them the 3-seed. The two-day odyssey win over the Friars proved to be huge.
The Bluejays and Friars are locked into the 4-5 game, while Butler is the 6, and will see Seton Hall for 40 more minutes on Thursday.
Marquette, sitting squarely on the bubble in the NCAA Tournament conversation, is the 7-seed and draws DePaul on Wednesday night.
The tournament will fittingly tip off with two of its pillars when Patrick Ewing’s Georgetown Hoyas square off with Chris Mullin’s St. John’s Red Storm inside the Mecca in the 8-9 game Wednesday at 7 PM ET.
It’s only fitting that the BIG EAST, which sent its tournament to The Garden because of Ewing’s conference-changing commitment to the Hoyas, will now open its tournament with Ewing on the sidelines.
When Patrick committed to Georgetown in 1981, it sent shockwaves into the college basketball world. John Thompson called Dave Gavitt about the commitment, springing the BIG EAST Commissioner into action. The conference tournament was going to The World’s Most Famous Arena as a result. It’s stayed there ever since.
On Wednesday, the 2018 edition of the BIG EAST Tourney will open with two guys who are on the conference’s Mount Rushmore.
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