The Big East Tournament got underway at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night, for what many consider the last time.
Seton Hall opened the night by beating South Florida in overtime, as both teams failed to score 40 points in regulation. Rutgers moved on to the next round by defeating DePaul 76-57.
Powerhouses like Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Louisville are set to join the ACC next season. On Tuesday, Notre Dame also announced its intention to join the conference that is usually dominated by Duke and North Carolina.
There will still be a conference tournament held at the Garden in 2014, but it will look and feel much different. The “Catholic 7” will technically represent the Big East next season, and are set to hold their conference at the world’s most famous arena.
On Wednesday, a few of the teams that will leave the conference are set to begin their quest to win the Big East Tournament for one final time. All of the day’s games will be broadcast on either ESPN or ESPN2, meaning viewers can watch a free live stream online at espn3.com.
The afternoon session can be seen on ESPN. Cincinnati and Providence will do battle at noon, followed by No.19 Syracuse against Seton Hall.
Despite finishing ninth in the conference, the Bearcats are in a good position to make the NCAA Tournament with an at-large bid. A win over 17-13 Providence might lock down a spot in the field of 68. The Friars went 9-9 during conference play, but losses to teams like Penn State and Boston College mean they’ll likely have to win an automatic bid.
Seton Hall will also have to run the table to make the NCAA Tournament. They might be playing the Orange at the right time, who have lost four of their last five games. It won’t be an easy task, though, as Syracuse beat Seton Hall by 11 in the only meeting between the two in 2013.
To start off the night session on ESPN2, St. John’s will take on Villanova in their home arena. Finishing 11th in the Big East, the Red Storm are looking to pull off the upset at 7 p.m. ET. They played Villanova competitively on Jan. 2, falling to defeat them in overtime. The game is not nearly as important to the Wildcats, whose wins over Louisville, Syracuse, Georgetown and Marquette likely secured them as a team in the NCA Tournament.
At approximately 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2, Rutgers will look to use the momentum it gained in Tuesday’s win and use it against No. 24 Notre Dame. The two played a competitive contest in January, with the Fighting Irish prevailing by three points.
Below are the betting odds and predictions for each game.
Providence 66, Cincinnati 65 (Friars+3.5)
Syracuse 72, Seton Hall 60 (Pirates+13)
Villanova 70, St. John’s 61 (Wildcats-4.5)
Notre Dame 81, Rutgers 63 (Irish-7.5)