The Big East tournament final is set after big wins from the top seeds Marquette and Xavier in the semifinals. The Golden Eagles squeaked by Connecticut while the Musketeers took care of business against Creighton. It’s a changing of the guard as one of these two teams will win the Big East tournament for the first time ever.
MARQUETTE 70, CONNECTICUT 68
Big East player of the year Tyler Kolek led the Golden Eagles with 17 points to boost Marquette over the always tough to beat UConn Huskies. Teammate David Joplin added 17 points of his own in the win. Marquette needed Kolek and Joplin to step up because three players were in foul trouble down the stretch. Connecticut had a chance to win it at the buzzer, but Jordan Hawkins missed a desperation three pointer.
Marquette entered the tournament as the top seed after going 17-3 in conference play this season. After a first round bye, the Golden Eagles were taken to the limit in the quarterfinals, going to overtime with St. John’s. Marquette heads to the Big East tournament final for the first time in school history.
XAVIER 82, CREIGHTON 60
Marquette will face Xavier in the finals after the Musketeers cruised to a 22 point win over the third seeded Creighton Blue Jays. The Musketeers were looking for revenge for a regular season loss where Creighton completely shut down Xavier star player Souley Boum. After only scoring two points in that January game, Boum responded with force Friday night. He scored 23 points and played shut down defense to carry Xavier to the tournament final.
TOP SEEDS IN THE FINAL
It’s the tenth time the top two seeds will meet in the tournament final, but the first time since Connecticut beat Pittsburgh in 2004. Neither of these teams have won the tournament before this year. Marquette has never reached the final, and Xavier only reached the final once, losing to Villanova in 2015. The winner gets the automatic conference bid to the NCAA tournament. But, given their résumés, I expect to see both of the these teams in the NCAA Tournament.
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