The Big East Conference Tournament 2012 tips off Tuesday afternoon at Madison Square Garden, and this SB Nation New York StoryStream is the place to come for every tidbit of information. For a full schedule with results and updates of the bracket, click here.
The Syracuse Orange men's basketball program enter the Big East Tournament as the No. 1-overall seed and the favorite to earn their first title at Madison Square Garden since 2006.
Led by a strong core of hungry veterans -- senior forward Kris Joseph, a Big East First-Team selection, and senior guard Scoop Jardine, a second-team selection -- and possibly the deepest and talented bench in the country, the Orange (30-1, 17-1) will want to showcase its ability at the "World Most Famous Arena".
Head Coach: Jim Boeheim, 36th season
You will never get Boeheim to admit this, but this has been the most successful, yet, stressful and emotionally-draining regular season ever.
Dealing with a early-season scandal surrounding his program, Boeheim somehow manged to block it all out and focus on basketball. Now, with the postseason here, Boeheim is focused on his second National Championship.
Team MVP: Fab Melo, sophomore center
Despite not being named to any of the All-Big East Conference teams, the Big East's Defensive Player of the Year is easily the most important part of this national-title contending team. This opinion is easily supported by his brief absence in late January when the Orange lost its only game of the season to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and looked average in victories over the Cincinnati Bearcats and West Virginia Mountaineers.
Now, Melo is back and the Syracuse defensive, which features the patented Boeheim 2-3 zone, is maybe the best in the nation.
Playing For: NCAA Tournament's No. 1-overall seed
After finishing the regular season with almost a flawless record, Syracuse is a lock for the No. 2-overall seed not matter what happens in the Big East Tournament. However, when it comes to March a program will take whatever help it can get, and if the Orange can earn the tournament crown and a No. 1-overall seed it wouldn't be a bad thing.
Breakdown: All eyes are going to be on Jardine (will he make a critical mistake?), Joseph (will he fold under pressure?), Melo (will he get in foul trouble?) and sophomore guard Dion Waiters (is he ready to perform under one of the worlds brightest spotlights?), but it will be the play of junior guard Brandon Triche, sophomore forward C.J. Fair and junior forward James Southerland that will be the key factors for SU.
Yes, the Orange basically have their eyes on the Final Four, so there could be a let down. Add that only two No. 1 seeds have won the tournament championship since '05, and Syracuse doesn't have this thing locked up.
However, they've proved that they match up well with basically every team in the 16-team field. Syracuse is a solid bet to win it all.
Rosters and stats:
|Baye Moussa Keita||30||12.0||0.9||1.2||75.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.5||0.7||68.2||1.0||1.4||2.3||0.1||0.3||0.2||0.9||1.8||2.3|
For a SB Nation New York preview of other Big East schools, click on its respective links: Syracuse, Marquette, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Georgetown, South Florida, Louisville, West Virginia, Connecticut, Seton Hall, Rutgers, St. John's, Pittsburgh, Villanova, Providence, DePaul.