More Sports:

March 09, 2016

Predictions on how Villanova, Temple and St. Joe’s will fare in conference tournaments

Yesterday, we updated where Villanova, Saint Joseph’s, and Temple stand in the minds of the bracketologists. We will be up in New York City for both the Big East and Atlantic 10 tournaments, while also keeping an eye on Temple down in Orlando.

How will the local teams fare during Championship Week? Here are my best guesses…

Big East Tournament

When/Where: Today through Saturday, Madison Square Garden

Favorite: Villanova

How many teams can realistically win? We’ll say five: ‘Nova, Xavier, Seton Hall, and the winner of Providence/Butler. The Big East doesn’t appear to have any teams on the bubble, but everyone in this group is safely in the NCAA Tournament.

Sleeper: Butler. The fifth-seeded Bulldogs have a Top-20 offense nationally, and if they can get by Providence, Butler gave Villanova two very competitive games during the regular season.

How does Villanova do? The Wildcats cut down the nets. The Big East is an improved conference at the top over the last year, but Villanova again proved to be the class of the league. If forced to pick one team, it has to be the Wildcats.

Atlantic 10 Tournament

When/Where: Today through Sunday, Barclays Center (Brooklyn)

Favorite: No clear favorite, but Dayton is the top seed

How many teams can realistically win? Let’s go with the top four seeds: SJU, Dayton, VCU, and St. Bonaventure

Sleeper: Davidson. Again, I lean toward offense for the sleeper pick. Bob McKillop’s team is led by Jack Gibbs, the conference’s best scorer.

How does St. Joe’s do? Here is the good news for the Hawks: They lost five conference games, but all of those teams are on the other side of the bracket. Phil Martelli and DeAndre’ Bembry have recent experience winning this tournament, but they end up losing to either VCU or St. Bonaventure in the final. In that scenario, SJU would be safely dancing.

American Tournament

When/Where: Tomorrow through Sunday, Amway Center (Orlando, FL)

Favorite: No clear favorite, but Temple is the top seed

How many teams can realistically win? Five: Temple, Tulsa, Houston, Cincinnati, and UConn. And this tournament is so up for grabs, I would give each of these teams about a 20 percent chance to win.

Sleeper: Memphis. The Tigers haven’t shown enough consistency to make you think they can string three wins together, but they have the talent to make some noise.

How does Temple do? Just like St. Joe’s, Temple has to like their draw. The Owls are 4-0 combined against Cincy and UConn, their possible semifinal opponents. Still, it’s important to note that they won those games by a combined 16 points. It’s hard to beat a good team three times, and Temple loses to Cincinnati in the semis.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann