Conference Tournament’s- Trestyn M. & Van Fulton

Trestyn Mayberry

One of the craziest regular seasons in College Basketball has just ended and now moving on to the Conference Tournaments, will they be just as crazy? That certainly was the case as magical runs happened in the Big Ten, Dominance in the SEC, and returning faces in the Big East, ACC, and Big 12 tournaments.  From start to finish it was a roller-coaster game after game with non-stop action being played out and having seasons end, Coaches retiring and players starting to leave for the transfer portal. Taking a look at the Big East there was no saying who would come out of there as Champion but brutal game after another we saw one of the best Tournaments played out all season.


Going into this season Marquette didn’t show a lot of promise on paper being led by Former Texas Head Coach Shaka Smart. Still, they played with grit and determination all season led by sophomore guard Tyler Kolek. Kolek was one of the nation’s biggest surprises coming seamlessly out of nowhere and he and Kam Jones became the best backcourt in the Big East and arguably the country. You can’t shy away from the other heavy-hitters consisting in this country like Creighton, who has been a great team offensively but defensive lacking a bit, Villanova has had a down year with the retirement of Jay Wright and due to injuries, which led to them being bounced early in the tournament. But a team that really had a big game was Depaul as the Blue Devils of them were seeded one of the worst teams in the country but they came out and got a huge win in the 1st round against Seton Hall, which ended the Pirates season. Then the Demons went on to fall to Xavier, in the closing moments of the game, but after a big losing drought for Depaul, this gave them some hope for the future. As for the powerhouses like UConn and Xavier, they easily made their way to the Semi-finals where UConn would fall to Marquette after starting the season winning 14 straight, the huskies collapsed when it mattered most. For Xavier though, the musketeers made it to the Big East Championship where they would face Marquette but would get their dreams crushed by the Golden Eagles of bringing home a Big East title. Going into the NCAA Tournament there are some scary teams in the Big East who didn’t see the fate they wanted during their Confrence Tournament and can become scary teams to face.



Looking over at the Big Ten the season was dominated all the way through by the Purdue Boilermakers. The Boilermakers were projected #6th coming in but proved that all wrong with big-man Zach Edey breaking out into a star in West Lafetteye. Across the road though, Indiana had Purdue’s number all season going 2-0 against them in the regular season and being the 3rd best team in the conference. This didn’t mean much for the Big Ten Tournament as the Hoosiers would be upsetting in their 1st game to Maryland. But this year was packed to the brim with powerful Big Ten teams like Northwestern, Iowa, Michigan State, and Illinois. To the normal basketball fan these teams looked middle of the pack and not competitive, but with the gruesome competition played day in and day out these teams are all experienced and dangerous to play against when they get it going. Tournament time is when stars shine and that’s when Penn State’s Jaylen Pickett stepped up as he lead the Nittany Lions from the #10th seed all the way to the Championship to face off against the mighty Boilermakers. Though they fell short of the title the Nittany Lions have gotten hot at the right time and are ready to upset any team in the Tourney. With the season Purdue is having it is very hard to see them possibly not competing for a national championship and bringing home the 1st to West Lafayette.

Moving onto the SEC, this conference arguably holds the best player in the country with Brandon Miller, who has been in some allegations of late but that hasn’t been stirring him off the path of a National Championship. Alabama showed their dominance all season long winning the regular season SEC title and the Confrence title for the 2nd straight season and possible national champion favorites. While blue-blood Kentucky really struggled this season and could never stay on a steady pace, it’s march and Coach Calipari always has something in store. But some teams that have risen out of nowhere have to be Mississippi State and Texas A&m, as both teams have finished in the top half of the SEC standings and provided a great resumé to clinch an NCAA Tournament berth. Tennesee and Auburn have kept their status as top programs in the nation by still returning to the NCAA Tournament but were both eliminated by upcoming programs like Arkansas and Missouri. Arkansas and Missouri have up and down seasons but have gotten it together when it mattered most and excelled in the SEC Tournament making it to the Semi-finals but falling, but look for these squads to have a sneaky tournament run. With Alabama’s true dominance running through the SEC, it will be hard for teams like Kentucky and Tennessee to dethrone the Rolling Tide.


Finally, for the ACC and Pac 12, we saw winners that we are all too familiar with in Duke and UCLA. Duke dominated their way to an ACC title battling through a great Pitt team this season but the blue-devils steamrolled the panthers, though a tough Miami team with a backcourt of Isaiah Wong and Nijel Pack had no answer for the Blue-Devils. As Duke met Virginia in the ACC Championship with the Cavs being vulnerable due to injuries this was an easy game for the Blue-Devils to take home their 22nd ACC Confrence Championship. Moving over to the other side of the Country with the UCLA Bruins. The Bruins faced off with Colorado in the 1st round where they struggled most of the game but made clutch shots late to lift them over the Buffs. They then faced off with a not-so-talented Oregon team, which the Bruins won by nearly 20 to move onto the Pac-12 title game to face off with Arizona. These 2 teams were neck and neck all season with the Bruins edging them out in the standings late in the season but this game just showed how talented the Bruins were. As UCLA took home their 32nd Pac 12 Basketball championship. But as we can see the Blue Bloods still remain powerful in the world of College Basketball.