At the conclusion of play on Saturday night, which as it happens was after Marquette wrapped up their 66-59 victory over Xavier, the Big East put the official 2021 men’s basketball conference tournament bracket out via Twitter. As I type this on Sunday morning, there is still not an official press release up on BigEast.com, so if I miss something, that’s why.
We’re here for Marquette reasons, of course, and so we have to point out that the Golden Eagles are seeded ninth out of 11 teams in this year’s event after finish the regular season with an 8-11 record in conference play. That earns MU a first round game against #8 seeded Georgetown, which will be the first game of the tournament on Wednesday, March 10th. Tipoff is set for 2pm Central time, with the broadcast coming on FS1. The Golden Eagles and the Hoyas met just once this season, as the return bout in Milwaukee was postponed and never rescheduled. Back on January 2nd, MU went into McDonough Arena, fell behind by 16 at the half and 18 shortly into the second 20 minutes, then ripped off a 17-2 run to take the lead with two minutes left and walk away with a 64-60 victory. Jamal Cain hit the big shot in that one, draining a three with 15 seconds to go.
The Marquette/Georgetown winner will advance to Thursday’s quarterfinal game against #1 seeded Villanova. Normally that would sound like sticking your head into a tiger’s mouth after you tied a raw steak to your face, and even just a week ago, it still would have sounded like that. However, with Collin Gillespie suffering a season ending MCL tear and Justin Moore suffering an ankle injury of unknown severity on Saturday, Villanova ain’t exactly capital-V Villanova right now. The winner of that quarterfinal game advances to a Friday night semifinal game against either #4 St. John’s or #5 Seton Hall, and after I glance at Marquette’s schedule this year and see that the Golden Eagles went 1-1 in two close games against the Johnnies, I have to go dunk my head in a bucket of cold water for picturing a very stupid yet not impossible pathway to a first ever Big East tournament title game appearance for the Golden Eagles.
The first nine games of the tournament will all be broadcast on FS1, with Saturday evening’s championship game getting the bump up to big broadcast Fox.
Here’s the full schedule for the tournament, with all times Central as God intended.
FIRST ROUND — WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10 (FS1)
2pm: #8 Georgetown vs #9 Marquette
5pm: #7 Xavier vs #10 Butler
8pm: #6 Providence vs #11 DePaul
QUARTERFINALS — THURSDAY, MARCH 11 (FS1)
11am: #1 Villanova vs GU/MU winner
2pm: #4 St. John’s vs #5 Seton Hall
5pm: #2 Creighton vs XU/BU winner
8pm: #3 Connecticut vs PC/DPU winner
SEMIFINALS — FRIDAY, MARCH 12 (FS1)
5pm: QF 1 winner vs QF 2 winner
8pm: QF 3 winner vs QF 4 winner
CHAMPIONSHIP — SATURDAY, March 13 (Fox)
5:30pm: Semifinal 1 winner vs Semifinal 2 winner