By Vin Parise
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There is nothing like this week in New York. The city just has a different buzz when the Big East Tournament is tipping off. But this year the energy is at a different level. With St. John’s becoming a national story and Seton Hall and Rutgers laying a new foundation, expect local fans to come out of the woodwork this March like never before.
In a league that may send eleven teams to the Big Dance, there are so many different stories and angles you can follow. The coaching job that Pitino has done at Lousiville, the peaks and valleys of Syracuse’s season, Pitt’s dominance and Nova’s tough finish are just some of the stories filling the streets this morning as fans are approaching the world’s most famous arena. But if you’re a local fan, the Syracuse bracket is what you’re following closely.
This afternoon Seton Hall and Rutgers take the battle of the Garden State to the Garden in a game that will have both teams scrapping and clawing. Rutgers has been in every game down the stretch due to their hard defensive play – but have still struggled in the win-loss column. After leading the majority of the game, the Scarlet Knights lost their final regular season game, 75-74, at Providence. And if it wasn’t for Jonathan Mitchell’s miracle shot vs Villanova a few weeks ago, Rutgers would have dropped nine games in a row.
Seton Hall, on the other hand, has finished strong. The Pirates defeated St. John’s when the Johnnies were the toast of the town and beat a very good Marquette team by thirteen to close out Big East play.
I had the chance to talk to the Rutgers coaching staff this morning regarding their game plan today:
Here are the keys to the game for Rutgers:
1. Ball screen defense on Jordan Theodore.
2. No easy catch and shoot opportunities for Jeremy Hazell.
3. Run good offense to prevent Seton Hall fast break baskets.
And the best part of this game? The winner gets Steve Lavin and St. John’s on Wednesday afternoon.
Who’s your pick to win the Big East Tournament? Cast your vote in the poll and let us know why in the comments below…