2013 College Basketball Tournament: Best of the Big East

Results from the Big East Basketball Tournament Simulation

1
16
'99 UConn
'09 Villanova
83
81
8
9
'87 Syracuse
'89 Seton Hall
104
103
4
13
'04 UConn
'09 UConn
76
72
5
12
'11 UConn
'85 St. John's
71
81
3
14
'03 Syracuse
'10 W. Virginia
73
82
6
11
'85 Villanova
'96 Syracuse
73
76
7
10
'85 Georgetown
'82 Georgetown
80
71
2
15
'84 Georgetown
'07 Georgetown
78
65
1
8
'99 UConn
'87 Syracuse
80
79
4
12
'04 UConn
'85 St. John's
76
73
14
11
'10 W. Virginia
'96 Syracuse
84
82
7
2
'85 Georgetown
'84 Georgetown
87
92
1
4
'99 UConn
'04 UConn
14
2
'10 W. Virginia
'84 Georgetown

WhatIfSports.com is celebrating the Big East's rich history of hardwood prowess. Its members have claimed 18 NCAA Tournament Final Four appearances since the conference's inception in 1979.

Utilizing our award-winning college basketball simulation engine, we "played" a tournament featuring every Big East squad that has advanced to the Final Four. Beginning with two play-in games, we simulated each match-up 1,001 times and advanced the winner. View play-in game results and learn about seeding here.

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1998-99 Connecticut Huskies
1986-87 Syracuse Orangemen
1
8
'99 UConn
'87 Syracuse
80
79
Jim Calhoun's first-half game plan was simple: feed the ball to Richard Hamilton. The 6'7" wing shot early and often, totaling 17 points in the opening stanza on 6-for-12 field goal shooting and four made free throws. Undeterred, Syracuse matched Hamilton and UConn shot-for-shot and would have taken a lead into halftime if not for a Jake Voskuhl 19-foot jumper with two seconds remaining.

The second-half narrative was much the same, as neither team was able to gain an advantage. In fact, a Souleymane Wane free throw to give the Huskies a 79-74 edge with less than a minute remaining represented UConn's largest lead of the game. Rony Seikaly's basket a short time later brought the Orangemen to within three and he then rejected a shot by Wane, but the Huskies' Edmund Saunders secured possession. UConn held on for the 80-79 victory and advances to the Final Four.

Hamilton finished with 26 points and added eight rebounds and three steals. Khalid El-Amin was shut down by Sherman Douglas, scoring four points on 1-for-9 shooting, but he did dish seven assists. For the Orangemen, Douglas led the way with 21 points and eight dimes. Derrick Coleman notched a double-double with 15 points and a game-high 12 boards.

Player of the game: Richard Hamilton (26 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals)

Winning Percentage of 1,001 Simulations: 1998-99 Connecticut 53.9% - 1986-87 Syracuse 46.1%

Average Score of 1,001 Simulations: 1998-99 Connecticut 84.4 - 1986-87 Syracuse 83.4%

View Sample Boxscore | Simulate '99 UConn vs. '87 Syracuse
2003-04 Connecticut Huskies
1984-85 St. John's Red Storm
4
12
'04 UConn
'85 St. John's
76
73
The Redmen proved themselves capable of ousting a turn-of-the-century UConn squad in the Round of 16. With a matchup against '04 UConn in the Elite 8, St. John's will have to repeat the feat to advance.

Not a bad start for Lou Carnesecca's boys, as Walter Berry scored the last five points of the first half to give St. John's a small 46-41 cushion. The lead grew to as much as nine when the second half was under way, but a pair of three pointers by Rashad Anderson put UConn right back in the hunt. The two schools stayed within a few points of each other the rest of the way, but it was UConn that found itself on top in the game's waning moments. Clinging to a 74-73 lead, the Huskies survived a drive to the hoop by Bill Wennington that misfired and then watched Chris Mullin's potential game-tying buzzer-beater fall short. UConn advanced by a final score of 76-73.

The Huskies' defense plagued St. John's throughout the game, forcing 17 Redmen turnovers. Taliek Brown, Emeka Okafor and Josh Boone combined for 10 of UConn's 13 steals, while Okafor and Boone turned away a collective nine shots. Anderson shouldered the Huskies' scoring load, counting four three-pointers among his 17 points. Charlie Villanueva, meanwhile, chipped in 15 points in just 12 minutes off the bench.

Mullin and Berry led St. John's, scoring 20 and 19 points, respectively.

Next on tap for '04 UConn is '99 UConn, as the school's first two championship squads will square off in the Final Four.

Player of the game: Taliek Brown (13 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals)

Winning Percentage of 1,001 Simulations: 2003-04 Connecticut 51.8% - 1984-85 St. John's 48.2%

Average Score of 1,001 Simulations: 2003-04 Connecticut 79.6 - 1984-85 St. John's 78.8

View Sample Boxscore | Simulate '04 UConn vs. '85 St. John's
2009-10 West Virginia Mountaineers
1995-96 Syracuse Orangemen
14
11
'10 W. Virginia
'96 Syracuse
84
82
The 2009-10 Mountaineers certainly have a flair for the dramatic in this Best of the Big East tournament. In the Round of 16, it took Da'Sean Butler hitting a three pointer in overtime to advance. In the Elite Eight, Kevin Jones played the role of hero.

With 10 seconds on the clock and the game tied, Jones gathered the inbounds pass, slipped past the defense, and found his favorite spot on the floor. As the clock ticked down, Jones snapped the shot off, while the entire crowd held their breath in anticipation.

SWISH. Nothing but net.

West Virginia nearly let one slip away late in the second half. With 1:32 left in regulation, Wellington Smith buried a floater from close range putting his team up five, which should have sealed the deal. John Wallace of Syracuse wasn't about to give up that easily. He responded with five straight points, adding to his monster game of 29 points and 11 rebounds, both game-highs.

As for Bob Huggins' boys, Butler led the team in scoring (18) and Devin Ebanks led in rebounds (10).

Player of the game: Kevin Jones (17 points, 4 rebounds, game-winning shot)

Winning Percentage of 1,001 Simulations: 2009-10 West Virginia 58.7% - 1995-96 Syracuse 41.3%

Average Score of 1,001 Simulations: 2009-10 West Virginia 73.2 - 1995-96 Syracuse 71.0

View Sample Boxscore | Simulate '10 West Virginia vs. '96 Syracuse
1984-85 Georgetown Hoyas
1983-84 Georgetown Hoyas
7
2
'85 Georgetown
'84 Georgetown
87
92
When two teams have seven similar players, you're lucky that the game only lasted one overtime.

The 1984-85 Georgetown team was looking to prove their loss in the 1985 National Title game was a fluke, and the 1983-84 Hoyas squad wanted to be the lone representative from the District of Columbia.

Naturally, Patrick Ewing was the dominating force, leading the game with 14 rebounds ('84-'85) and 20 points ('83-'84). However, the game seemed to be decided by a stat Ewing has never been successful in, three-point shooting.

The younger legs were the difference as the 1983 Hoyas shot 8-for-17 (47 percent) from long range, while the 1984 group only connected on 25 percent of their three-balls. Sophomores David Wingate and Michael Jackson took advantage of the adaptation of beyond the arc shooting (the three-pointer wasn't instituted in NCAA until 1986-87). Wingate and Jackson combined for seven treys, while their junior counterparts only sunk three.

Patrick Ewing as a senior dunked just before time expired in regulation to send the game to bonus minutes, but his desperation three-point attempt at the end of overtime wouldn't fall as his team lost, 92-89.

Player of the game: Michael Jackson (20 points, 7 assists, 2 steals)

Winning Percentage of 1,001 Simulations: 1983-84 Georgetown 57.1% - 1984-85 Georgetown 42.9%

Average Score of 1,001 Simulations: 1983-84 Georgetown 25.2 - 1984-85 Georgetown 22.3

View Sample Boxscore | Simulate '84 Georgetown vs. '85 Georgetown
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