Daily Word: New Big East favorite?
Every weekday, Andy Katz leads a panel of our college hoops experts in a discussion of the biggest issues, trends and themes happening in and around college basketball.
1. Now that top-seeded Villanova is done, who's your pick to win the Big East tournament?
Andy Katz: Is there a choice? Creighton and Doug McDermott are clicking at a higher clip than any remaining Big East team. This is McDermott's stage. The other three teams are there for window dressing.
Dana O'Neil: Clearly Creighton. McDermott brought his player of the year show to New York against Providence and it was pretty special. I suspect it's just the warm-up act
Myron Medcalf: Has to be Creighton. Losing Nova makes the Big East tourney lose a chunk of its appeal. But it also makes the path to the championship even easier for the Bluejays.
2. Which bubble team can cement its tournament status on Friday?
Katz: Colorado. The Buffaloes can eliminate any questions with a win over Arizona. I still think Colorado will be fine, but if there was a question, it can be squelched with a win over the Wildcats.
Medcalf: Probably Minnesota. The Gophers might be in the field now with their top-five strength of schedule. But a victory over Wisconsin would leave little doubt about their status as Selection Sunday approaches.
3. Syracuse and Kentucky -- two teams that ended the season on shaky terms -- take the floor on Friday. Which do you have more faith in?
Katz: Syracuse. If Jerami Grant is healthy, the Orange can still make a play for the Final Four. Kentucky could make a run in the SEC tournament, but that is the only final of a tournament the Wildcats will appear in this postseason.
O'Neil: Syracuse. As bad as the Orange have been offensively,they still have their defense to fall back on. The zone is always an equalizer for Syracuse and gives this team a leg up as it tries to gather itself offensively.
Medcalf: Certainly Syracuse. The Orange have stumbled, but prior to this, they'd also experienced a very successful stretch. Kentucky has one win over Louisville and little else to brag about.
Games To Watch
Tennessee received a double bye as the SEC tournament's No. 4 seed, yet the Volunteers remain squarely on the bubble. South Carolina already likely ended one bubble team's hopes when it upset Arkansas on Thursday.
Houston made some noise in the American tournament on Thursday when it upset No. 3 seed SMU. Louisville, however, is a different animal. The Cardinals are playing their best basketball of the season and routed Rutgers on Thursday.
Kansas required overtime to put away Oklahoma State on Thursday, and the Jayhawks couldn't have done it without Andrew Wiggins' 30 points. Iowa State narrowly defeated Kansas State in its opening-round game.
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