A continuing look at conference tournaments:
(First round starts Tuesday at campus sites, all other games in Atlantic City, final is Sunday)
Favorite: Xavier. The Musketeers are 21-7, but don't have any bad losses and they really improved as the season wore on with the development of senior center Jason Love and sophomore guard Jordan Crawford, who sat out last season after transferring from Indiana.
Contenders: X looks like a solid favorite, but there are plenty of others who could win this, including Temple, Richmond, Saint Louis, Dayton, and Charlotte. Temple is nationally ranked and a well-coached unit that beat X the only time they played. Richmond is the new Princeton; Saint Louis plays Rick Majerus-tough defense; Dayton could finally stop underachieving and Charlotte has ex-BC forward Samari Spears.
Possible upsetter: Rhode Island. The Rams faded in February, but have the potential to beat anyone.
(First round starts Tuesday, final is Saturday, all games in New York)
Favorite: Syracuse. The Orange came out of nowhere to put together a special season. They win by shooting incredibly well and playing their confusing 2-3 zone. This tournament will be a mine field, but Syracuse has proven it's the best team in the league.
Contenders: Villanova and West Virginia. Villanova had an outstanding season relying on great guard play, especially Scottie Reynolds. West Virginia is a talented, hard-nosed group that isn't playing as well as it was earlier in the season. If they wake up, they can win.
Possible upsetters: Pitt, Georgetown, Marquette, and Seton Hall. Pitt could put together a series of patient, defensive games and be successful; Georgetown would have to snap out of a late-season funk, but they have the talent; Marquette has played one close game after another and is tournament tough; Seton Hall, maybe not, but the Wild and Whackies could suddenly put it all together.
- Michael Vega
- Mark Blaudschun
- Nancy Marrapese-Burrell