The third annual SEC BIG EAST Invitational kicks off tonight with eight teams competing over two nights in both New York and Tampa. Providence played in the inaugural SEC BIG EAST Challenge losing to South Carolina 68-67 at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia. This years Invitational has some marquee matchups in UConn vs. Kentucky, and Syracuse vs. Florida. Also St. John’s will take on Georgia, and DePaul will play Mississippi State. The action tips off tonight at the Garden with St. John’s playing Georgia, and the anticipated matchup of UConn vs. Kentucky. On Thurdsay the Invitational will head south to Tampa where the other games will take place. The BIG EAST leads the all-time series 5-3 and will look to build on that over the next two evenings.
The Invitational has given us some really nice matchups this year. We have been looking forward to the Kentucky UConn game since the schedule came out, and the Syracuse Florida game has turned into a marquee matchup as well. We have really wanted to see how Kemba Walker and the taller John Wall matchup. They might not play on each other for the whole game but we look forward to when their paths do cross. Hopefully it’s more often than not. Also Syracuse once again finds themselves up against a quality opponent. They dismantled the other two top 15 teams they played but will they be able to do it again? If it was at the Garden where they are amazing yes, but this game is in Tampa and will be a big win away from the Carrier Dome. Both games have the potential to be really good.
In the other two games St. John’s and DePaul have gotten off to strong starts and will be looking to continue. With DePaul banged up, we have our eye on the Johnnies. They will be playing what is esentially a home game in their home away from home, Madison Square Garden, and will be taking on a Georgia team that has not impressed up until this point. A win here would put them at 8-1 and should be the last difficult game until the BIG EAST starts.
Things could go either way this year. UConn has the potential to beat Kentucky, but not if they play the way they did against Harvard. We think the best chances of winning are Syracuse and St. John’s. We would like to say the BIG EAST will go 3-1 but we just aren’t sure about how UConn will come out and play. The smart bet would probably be to say that we will go 2-2… but we will take a chance with the Huskies and say that they come to play this time and beat Kentucky. Prediction: BIG EAST 3, SEC 1. What do you think???