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The Big East is as strong as usual in 2022-23, with multiple teams boasting talented enough rosters to not only win the Big East Conference Tournament but, perhaps, the NCAA Tournament, too. Marquette and Connecticut have surprised everyone this season, outperforming expectations. As a matter of fact, neither was ranked in the preseason.
On the other hand, the Creighton Bluejays, a favorite to win the Big East this year, have struggled at times. Still, the Bluejays have ample talent to make a late-season push and should not be discounted.
Take a look at the Big East Tournament betting odds below to see each team’s chance to win the conference championship in 2023.
Marquette Golden Eagles
Seton Hall Pirates
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UConn is another squad that has outperformed expectations, although not at the level of Marquette. The Huskies were not ranked heading into the season; their ascension to as high as No. 2 in the AP poll was far from projected.
The Huskies hit a rough patch in January, after their first three games in conference, dropping six of eight games from the end of December through January 25th. UConn was atop several power rankings at the end of December but has since tumbled.
Still, this team is dangerous, primarily due to its dynamic duo of 6-foot-9 power forward Adama Sanogo and lanky volume-scoring guard Jordan Hawkins.
Sanogo and Hawkins lead the team in scoring; when they are hitting their shots, everyone else seems to, as well. A form of consistent offense has eluded this team in recent games, but that won’t be forever.
UConn’s biggest strength is its rebounding, which ranks in the top five in total rebounding rate. That should not come as a surprise, considering the Huskies’ frontcourt consists of a 6-foot-8 forward, a 6-foot-9 forward, and a 7-foot-2 center.
An improvement in three-point shooting and defensive consistency as a team would give the Huskies a legitimate title shot.
What a surprise the Marquette Golden Eagles have been this season. Very few people outside of Marquette’s program could have predicted the massive success it has had in 2022-23. As a matter of fact, SI.com projected Marquette to be the preseason No. 62 team in the nation; there was not much faith across the board.
The Golden Eagles have had some terrific wins, including against Connecticut, Creighton, and Baylor; however, interestingly enough, it is their losses that raise an eyebrow. They have lost to Purdue by five points, Providence by five points, Xavier by four points, Wisconsin by three points, and Mississippi State by three points.
The Boilermakers have been ranked as high as No. 1, while Xavier has flirted with the top ten several times, and Providence and Wisconsin are competitive basketball squads that should make the NCAA Tournament. The point is this: Marquette is not far from being a title-contending team.
So what has led Marquette to its outstanding season? The answer is its incredibly high-powered offense, which has ranked as high as first in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency. The Golden Eagles have five double-digit scorers, including Kam Jones, Olivier-Maxence Prosper, Oso Ighodaro, Tyler Kolek, and David Joplin. Jones leads all scorers with roughly 16 points per game, an impressive number for a team with many scorers.
Meanwhile, Tyler Kolek is the offensive general, coordinating sets and fulfilling all lead guard duties. Kolek averages over eight assists per game, which ranks third in the nation. Jones and Kolek are certainly an experienced, dynamic duo that can lead the Golden Eagles to new heights. Improvements on the defensive end would take them from good to great.
It has not been the season that many die-hard Creighton Bluejays fans were expecting, but that does not mean that it is over. Creighton has had a consensus top ten most demanding schedule in the nation, and with that comes volatility in record.
Losses against Xavier, Connecticut, Marquette, Texas, and Arizona make sense, but its three-game losing streak versus Nebraska, BYU, and Arizona State is not ideal. Still, the Bluejays have turned it around for the most part and have a good chance at making deep runs in both the Big East Conference Tournament and NCAA Tournament.
The bottom line: advanced analytics still like this Creighton team. KenPom has had the Bluejays in the top 20 in both adjusted offensive efficiency and adjusted defensive efficiency for a decent portion of the season.
It is not a difficult concept to grasp when considering their personnel, which includes former South Dakota State standout and sniper, Baylor Scheierman, dominant big man, Ryan Kalkbrenner, potential draft prospect, Arthur Kaluma, and poised guard, Ryan Nembhard.
Look for Creighton to make a push in the coming weeks; this team can definitely bounce back and win the Big East.
Providence has had a phenomenal 2022-23 season behind fantastic coaching from head coach Ed Cooley, terrific leadership from senior guard Jared Bynum, and dynamic scoring from Bryce Hopkins, Devin Carter, and Ed Croswell.
The Friars finished January with a 17-5 record; their five losses came against Saint Louis, Miami, TCU, Creighton, and Marquette. The only bad loss came against Saint Louis early in the season. Every other loss was against a team that was or is ranked in the Top 25 in the nation.
Much like Connecticut, three-point shooting can be volatile for the Friars, a team that operates much better inside the arc; they don’t have any player that shoots it from deep at a 40% clip or better (on a minimum of at least one 3PA per game), which is a cause for concern.
However, Providence does make up for it by defending the arc better than any other team in the conference. Another minor issue is its overall defense, especially in the pain. Providence ranks outside the top 50 in adjusted defensive efficiency despite having an impressive perimeter defense.
Altogether, the Friars have the personnel to win the Big East Conference Tournament, but they need to shoot better and clean up their interior defense.
The 2023 Big East Conference Tournament’s dates are from Wednesday, March 8th through Saturday, March 11th.
As always, the 2023 Big East Men’s Tournament will be hosted at Madison Square Garden.
The first three days of the 2023 Big East Tournament will be covered by FS1, with Fox carrying the rest of the games after that.
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Andrew has always been an avid sports fan and followed his hoop dreams all the way to college. He’s well-versed in everything betting with multiple years of experience and is qualitatively and quantitatively knowledgeable in sports statistics and analytics.More info on Andrew Norton
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