The “Power 6” conference tournaments are finally here, which means predictions are going to be flying all over the place. The ACC started their conference tournament yesterday, and all the rest of the power conferences are starting their tournaments today. A lot of basketball will be played over the next 120 hours, so here are the predictions for each of the “Power 6” basketball tournaments.
ACC Tournament Prediction
Tournament Winner: Florida St
The ACC has been a conference that has been a weird one to figure out. Teams like Duke are sitting near the bottom of the conference standings and can use the conference tournament to try and make their way into the NCAA Tournament. As cool as it would be to win five games in five days, I think Florida St will meet up with Virginia in the final, and the Seminoles will win the ACC Tournament.
The Seminoles have played consistent basketball all year long. Leonard Hamilton has one of the deepest teams in the country. Hamilton likes to run up to nine guys during a game consistently. Nine guys have 15 minutes or more played during the regular season which ultimately leads to why Florida St will win the ACC Tournament.
SEC Tournament Prediction
Tournament Winner: Arkansas
The SEC has been another one of those disappointing conferences in the regular season, minus a couple of teams. Conference tournaments are a time where the unexpected can become ordinary. Teams like Kentucky and Missouri are trying to make things happen. But, the top four seeds in the SEC are going to be tough to take down.
Arkansas has taken the SEC by storm this season. The Razorbacks were predicted to finish sixth in the conference at the beginning of the season. Now, Eric Musselman has his team playing the best basketball over the past month or so. The most interesting aspect of Arkansas’s play is its defense. The Hogs can disrupt just about anybody in the country with their type of defense, and with the mix of their offensive capability with players like Moses Moody and Justin Smith, it equals SEC Tournament champions.
Big Ten Tournament Prediction
Tournament Winner: Illinois
Illinois is arguably the best team inside the best conference in the country. The Fighting Illini were a team to beat this season when the announcement that stars Ayo Dosunmu, and Kofi Cockburn were returning to Champaign. Looking at this team coming into conference tournaments, they are the team to beat even if they’re not the one seed.
The offensive production that Illinois has outside of Dosunmu and Cockburn is incredible. Guys like Trent Frazier, Adam Miller, and Andre Curbelo are all contributing at high levels for Brad Underwood. The one thing that led me to make this pick is how Illinois went into Ann Arbor and completely dismantled a Michigan team that looked unstoppable inside the Big Ten. Oh, and they did it without their best player.
Big 12 Tournament Prediction
Tournament Winner: Baylor
The Big 12 Tournament is going to be one of the best conference tournaments to watch out of the six. The Big 12 was probably the most competitive conference when it came to in-game play. When you turned on a Big 12 game on a Tuesday night you knew it was going down to the wire. My pick for this tournament is going to be Baylor, but watch out for teams like West Virginia, Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma St, or even Oklahoma at the #7 seed.
As much as this conference is competitive with every game they play, Baylor is on another level. The guard play is exceptional with All-American Jared Butler leading the way. With the perimeter pressure that these guards for Scott Drew put on you, you better hope you can get some easy points inside because you aren’t getting anything easy outside. One key player outside of the main guys is Mark Vital. Vital doesn’t need to score to be impactful. He sort of reminds me of Draymond Green, goes after rebounds, 50/50 balls, and gives 110% in every game that he plays. Baylor will take the Big 12 championship into the NCAA Tournament.
Big East Tournament Prediction
Tournament Winner: UConn
This is one of the conference tournaments you want to tune into if you want to see potential big-time upsets. Top-seeded Villanova lost their start guard Collin Gillespie to a torn MCL, and this past Saturday, guard Justin Moore had a pretty nasty twisted ankle in the loss to Providence. The Cats are looking at the winner of Marquette and Georgetown and either one of those teams could potentially upset the top dog.
But, let’s talk about the Huskies. Ever since James Bouknight returned to game action, the Huskies have been stellar. UConn is 9-2 when Bouknight sees minutes in a game. Dan Hurley has his team coming into New York City winning six of their last seven games in the regular season. The post-play by the Huskies is the difference between winning and losing besides Bouknight playing well. Tyler Polley, Isaiah Whaley are two guys who can score consistently and can rebound great as well. UConn takes down the Johnnies in the championship at Madison Square Garden.
Pac-12 Tournament Prediction
Tournament Winner: Colorado
Oregon looks to be the team to beat in the Pac-12 tournament, but a major sleeper is a team with McKinley Wright on it. That’s right, the Colorado Buffaloes are going to win the Pac-12 Tournament. The Buffaloes are going into the tournament winners of their last four games, beating UCLA and USC. McKinley Wright is the motor of this team who averages 15 points per game and also gets his teammates involved, dishing out 5.7 assists. Jeriah Horne has to be a big presence down in the paint if Colorado wants a shot at the championship. Buffaloes over Ducks in the championship to end one of the sneaky good conference tournaments this year.
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