Wednesday through Saturday, Madison Square Garden,
Defending champion: Providence
(All games televised on Fox Sports 1):
Wednesday, first round
(8) Seton Hall vs. (9) Marquette, 7 p.m.
(7) DePaul vs. (10) Creighton, 9:30 p.m.
(1) Villanova vs. Seton Hall-Marquette winner, noon
(4) Providence vs. (5) St. John's, 2:30 p.m.
(2) Georgetown vs. DePaul-Creighton winner, 7 p.m.
(3) Butler vs. (6) Xavier, 9:30 p.m.
Villanova-Seton Hall-Marquette winner vs. Providence-St. John's winner, 7 p.m.
Creighton winner vs. Butler-Xavier winner, 9:30 p.m.
Friday's winners, 8 p.m.
Players to watch
Darrun Hilliard, Villanova, G, Sr., 6-6 (14.2 ppg., 1.8 steals); Ryan Arcidiacono, Villanova, G, Jr., 6-3 (10.7 ppg., 3.6 apg); Kris Dunn, Providence, G, Soph., 6-3 ( 15.2 ppg., 7.4 apg., 2.8 steals); LaDontae Henton, Providence, F, Sr., 6-6 (20.1 ppg., 6.3 rpg.); D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Georgetown, G, Jr., 6-3, 16.0 ppg., 3.3 apg.); Kellen Dunham, Butler, G, Soph., 6-6 (16.6 ppg.); D'Angelo Harrison, St. John's, G, Sr., 6-4 (17.8 ppg.); Sir'Dominic Pointer, St. John's, F, Sr., 6-5 (13.7 ppg., 7.6 rpg., 2.5 blocks); Sterling Gibbs, Seton Hall, G, Jr., 6-2 (16.7 ppg., 3.8 apg.); Matt Stainbrook, Xavier, C, Sr., 6-10 (12.0 ppg., 6.8 rpg.)
Villanova, which captured the regular-season conference title by four games and is on a 12-game winning streak, is the favorite, but the Wildcats were in a similar position last year when they were upset by Seton Hall in their first game. A tournament championship would secure a No. 1 NCAA seed for 'Nova.
Butler and St. John's, competing on its home court, played the best down the stretch of any team not named Villanova while Georgetown has some key freshmen who aren't afraid of the spotlight.
Providence owns the conference's top 1-2 punch in Henton, the league's leading scorer, and Dunn, its top assist man.
- Joe Juliano