No. 22: The East Is Second Best
At some points last season, some bracketologists had as many as nine Big East teams in their fields of 65. Even in some of this season’s early projections, eight or nine Big East teams are getting bids. Thanks to the parody in the league itself and more importantly thanks to inevitable upsets across the board during Championship Week, neither amount will be correct in the end; however, those preseason predictions do speak to how deep the Big East will be again this season.
Georgetown and Louisville will both be top-six teams when the official preseason polls are announced and they will be battling for a Big East title and a possible No. 1 NCAA tourney seed all year long. Dominic James and Marquette are also loaded, and should emerge as the league's third best team, which would earn them a top-four seed on Selection Sunday. Syracuse and UConn are poised to bounce back from poor seasons a year ago (we still have no clue how the Orange didn't go dancing). Pittsburgh lost a lot up front, but returns enough grinders and defensive-minded players to pull a few upsets along the way and earn the conference's final bid, and Villanova has the point guard in Scottie Reynolds that helps teams win important games down the stretch.
Our Bold Prediction No. 22 is that the Big East will get seven teams into this year’s Final Field of 65. Louisville and Georgetown aside, the Big East might not have the quality of entrants that the Pac-10 or ACC has – the Big East seeds will surely be lower as a whole – but that doesn't mean that the country's deepest league won't make a splash in March.
Here’s a way too early stab at seeding the Big East: Louisville (2 seed), Georgetown (2 seed), Marquette (4 seed), Connecticut (7 seed), Pittsburgh (8 seed), Syracuse (8 seed), and Villanova (10 seed).