NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 10: Peyton Siva #3 of the Louisville Cardinals holds up his MVP trophy after defeating the Cincinnati Bearcats during the finals of the Big East Men's Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden at Madison Square Garden on March 10, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
There's nothing more enjoyable about the NCAA Tournament than the chance to win something for making picks. Once you realize that 13% of the field of 68 are teams from the beloved Big East Conference, picking a bracket becomes even more fun, and quite a bit easier. Big East fans, along with the instructions and a link for you to follow to sign up for the bracket challenge, here are some tips and (probably) unfounded opinions from me for you to pick your brackets.
1. The Big East Tournament Champion Does Pretty Well - In the past six years, the winner of the Big East Tournament had made at least the elite eight four times. Three times the conference tournament champion reached the final four. One (Connecticut last year) won the national championship. So this year's champion, Louisville, might not be the worst pick to at least get out of the first weekend of the tournament.
2. South Florida Doesn't Even Know To Be Nervous - The majority of the players on Stan Heath's team weren't alive the last time South Florida made the NCAA Tournament. While you might fear for a team with no postseason experience, South Florida acquitted itself well in tough road venues at Louisville and Syracuse late in the season and showed no signs of being awed by the Madison Square Garden crowd in the Big East Tournament. Don't be afraid to pick to the Bulls to beat a bad Cal team and to also have a punchers chance against Temple in the "second round" (hate that).
3. Don't Let The Big East Tournament Scare You - Marquette is still a freakishly athletic, talented team that will be a very difficult out in the NCAA Tournament. The loss to Louisville shouldn't dissuade you from picking them to at least get out of the first weekend as it was really more the product of an almost record-breaking number of turnovers and a near career game from Peyton Siva. Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder let the officiating and defensive pressure get to them, but Buzz Williams is one of the nation's best coaches and will have them ready.
4. Syracuse Is Still Awesome - The Orange lost to a blazing hot shooting night from Cincinnati, but still calmly run the best zone defense in America, are incredibly long, get out in transition as well as any team in the country, have the best depth 1-10, and have a dominating shot blocker. You're going to be tempted to pick them to get upset, but you should think twice. The Orange are unlikely to face another team that will drop 14 three-point shots on them in one game (and they still almost won that game, mind you).
With those tidbits in mind, head on over to the link below and enter your now wise picks below.
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