The Rhode Island Scumbag is our resident prognosticator who thoroughly cleaned up last year’s postseason basketball slate as a bettor. As such, he’s back to take us through both a select group of conference tournaments as well as the big dance itself. He chooses to remain anonymous (for now) for reasons unknown, though they may be related to the fact “Rhode Island Scumbag — 2021 to present” isn’t a particularly appealing resume item. All text below are his words.

Why am I choosing to break down a conference that absolutely took me to the cleaners this year? I guess because while I sweated out many losing tickets on Big East games, I did end up putting a lot of hours into watching Big East Basketball.

It was a very tough regular season to handicap if I’m being honest. Marquette won the regular season without much of a fight, but no team was really fully healthy for the full season and the standings didn’t fluctuate all that much. I do have some betting angles that I’ll break down here based on what I watched throughout the year.

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If you looked through the shoebox full of losing betting tickets I had on the Big East this year, you’d be opening up your betting app and getting ready to fully fade of every game that I select. However, I’m going to handicap this tournament a little bit differently than I handicapped the regular season games.

There are only three active coaches in the Big East that have won conference tournaments. Patrick Ewing won the Big East two seasons ago, Shaheen Halloway won the MAAC with Saint Peter’s last year and Sean Miller won the Pac-12 three times with Arizona. I’m rolling with the coach who has been through this grind before.

Not Ewing. The Hoyas are trash.

Albert Cesare / The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

I originally liked Connecticut until I saw that they opened up as the betting favorite out of the five seed. I’m rolling with Xavier.

I’ll bet them game one and I’ll bet them to win the tournament at a very nice price of +550. I have faith Sean Miller will pull the right strings, which could be the difference in a conference where the talent level of each team is very similar.

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What a disappointing year for the Johnnie’s. They have the talent to contend in the Big East, but just never seemed to put a full 40 minutes of basketball together. That resulted in them playing a lot of teams tough, but not putting a lot of tallies in the win column.

Who knows? This could be a stretch where they finally play some full games and realize their potential.

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You know who did not play a lot of close games? DePaul, who got beat by double digits over 10 times in conference play — though they did sprinkle in a few one basket games in that stretch (I told you this conference was impossible to handicap).

I had to put a team in the “fade” spot, so I chose DePaul. They can easily lose by 20 to Seton Hall in the opening round.