By Ryan Decker
Thursday I spent nearly 12 hours inside Madison Square Garden, watching all four of that day’s slate of games in the Big East Tournament.
It was my first time being inside MSG, first time being at a men’s basketball conference tournament, and it all lived up to the hype.
Aside from basking in the glory of the Garden, I did learn a few things during my time in the world’s most famous arena about some of the Big East teams that will be playing in the NCAA tournament as well.
Villanova is the best team in the country
There’s not a doubt in my mind about this.
Yes, Villanova didn’t have a great showing Friday night against a Seton Hall team that will be talked about in this article. But if you saw the way they played Thursday, and add in being able to pull out the victory Friday, you’d be convinced, as well.
Jay Wright’s team is deadly.
The Wildcats are one of the best shooting teams in the country, they play disciplined defense, and I challenge you to find a team that does a better job at moving the ball until they find the open man.
Villanova doesn’t take bad shots.
None. They’re not in the playbook.
Josh Hart is lethal. Jalen Brunson is big time. Kris Jenkins leads the team in threes, but Donte DiVincenzo can be as much of a knock-down shooter as anyone when he gets going.
This team can beat you inside and out, and on both ends of the floor.
Nova is the only sure-fire bet to reach the Final Four, and is without a doubt the best team in the land.
Butler is a pretender
Whereas Villanova is a team to bet on, Bulter is going to be a team that will make a bookie’s night.
The Bulldogs are a No. 4 seed in numerous media outlets’ bracket projections, meaning they will be the favorite for each of their first two games.
Pick the upset.
Butler has lost each of its last two games, including Thursday in the tournament to an Xavier team that was mightily struggling heading into the postseason.
I labeled the Dogs as a pretender in my article Tuesday, and that holds true heading into Selection Sunday.
Butler has obvious deficiencies in rebounding and three-point shooting, which will be its downfall in the big dance.
Don’t bet on the Dogs.
Watch out for Seton Hall
If you want to pick a team from the Big East that’s flying under the radar to watch out for in the NCAA tournament, Seton Hall is that team.
The Pirates are playing well as of late, winners of eight of their last twelve games, and have gotten three wins against teams with an RPI ranking of 1-50 (Creighton, Xavier, Butler.)
Seton Hall has three players averaging 15 or more points per game, led by Khadeen Carrington at 16.9 points per contest.
Big man Angelo Delgado is the life and soul of this team.
He’s the nation’s leader in rebounding at 13.1 boards per game, and averages a double-double with his 15.3 points per contest. Delgado finished one assist shy of a triple-double Thursday against Marquette in one of his best performances of the year, and his hustled was acknowledged by Josh Hard and the entire Villanova team following the Pirates loss to the Wildcats Friday evening.
Watch out for Seton Hall in the tournament.