March 6, 2012 at 9:05 AM
SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – A victory in the Big East Men’s Basketball Championships is one of the most coveted conference tournament wins in the country.
Sixteen teams play 15 total games over five days in a one-game elimination, with the winner taking the Big East’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. The Big East tournament is the highlight of March, second only to the NCAA Tournament.
Plenty of dreams have come true at the Big East Tournament.
Last year, the University of Connecticut entered the week as the No. 9 seed and became the first team to win five games in five days in the league’s history. The Huskies were undefeated in last year’s postseason, winning the NCAA Tournament over Butler.
Seton Hall enters the Big East tournament as the No. 10 seed, where they look to make a dream of their own come true – to play in the in NCAA Tournament.
The key for Seton Hall has nothing to do with the 40 minutes of basketball the Pirates will play on Tuesday night. Instead, the focus will be on the 20-30 minutes of warm-ups prior to the game.
Pope was seen on campus Tuesday wearing a protective boot. Freshman Aaron Cosby has been battling the flu for the past few days, according to his Twitter account.
Both will be game-time decisions for head coach Kevin Willard.
Additionally, sophomore forward Aaron Geramipoor has been sidelined for the past three weeks with a groin injury. He is questionable for the game.
The Pirates are coming off their worst loss of the season, an 86-58 whacking from DePaul. A win over the Blue Demons would have solidified the Pirates’ place in the “Big Dance,” but now Seton Hall will need to win at least two games at the Garden to get back into the field of 68.
The Pirates will play the Providence Friars in their first game at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.
This will be the second time in three years that the Pirates will face the Friars in the opening round of the Big East Championships.
The Pirates are 4-2 all-time against the Friars in the tournament.
Two years ago, Seton Hall defeated Providence 109-106 at the Garden in the Championships’ highest-scoring game in history. All five starters for both teams scored in double figures.
While Providence guard Jamine Peterson led all scorers with 38 points, Pope scored 27 points on 10-16 shooting, to go with 11 rebounds for Seton Hall
The Pirates beat the Friars in a regular-season game on Jan. 7. The 66-57 win on the road against Providence propelled the Pirates into the Top 25 for the first time since 2001. Sophomore Fuquan Edwin scored a then career-high 24 points, while Pope recorded his ninth double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Despite shooting 34 percent from the floor, the Pirates nailed nine 3-pointers in the game. Friar junior guard Vincent Council scored a team-high 23 points, but only one other player, guard Gerard Coleman, scored in double figures for Providence. Seton Hall muscled 14 more rebounds than Providence in the contest.
Tip-off from Madison Square Garden is set for 7 p.m.
Timothy LeCras is participating in a hyperlocal journalism partnership between The Alternative Press and Seton Hall University's Department of Communication & The Arts designed to give students real-world experience.