Duke's Mason Plumlee walks away as North Carolina's John Henson… (Gerry Broome / Associated…)
Writers from around Tribune Co. discuss some of the major conference basketball tournaments, including those of the ACC, SEC, Big East, Big Ten and Pac-12. Check back throughout the day for more responses and join the discussion with a comment of your own.
Shannon Ryan, Chicago Tribune
Don’t expect many surprises in the SEC. Kentucky will keep rolling over conference opponents as if it's still the regular season. The Big East is always filled with surprises, and this season's big winner will be Marquette, which already beat Louisville and Georgetown this season. Syracuse is the obvious favorite, but they’ve got to lose at some point, right?
No one can stop North Carolina in the ACC, especially after its regular-season-ending confidence booster against Duke. The Big Ten would have belonged to Michigan State but Branden Dawson’s injury sets back the Spartans and reopens the door for preseason favorite Ohio State. The Pac-12 is a one-bid NCAA tournament league, and the team advancing to represent the weak conference will be Oregon. The Ducks have momentum with four straight wins.
Todd M. Adams, Orlando Sentinel
There are three teams that are head-and-shoulders better than everyone else in the country -- Kentucky, Syracuse and North Carolina.
That said, it is obviously difficult to pick against any of them and I won’t. What I will do, however, is rank which of the three are most likely to be upset.
First is Syracuse, just because of the strength of the Big East. Marquette is a dark-horse national championship contender, and five other teams -- Notre Dame, Georgetown, Cincinnati, USF and Louisville have the talent to get hot and win the Big East Tournament.
UNC would be next, just because Duke is also in the bracket. Kentucky is much better than anyone else in the SEC.
The other two leagues are more up in the air. Wisconsin is always a good, solid tournament team, so I’ll take them in the Big Ten. And maybe the recent controversy will bring UCLA together. I’ll pick them in the Pac-12.
Graphic: Men's Pac-12 bracket
Lorenzo Romar guides Washington to top of Pac-12
Former USC coach Tim Floyd praises and defends UCLA's Ben Howland