Conference tournaments are less than a month away, which means teams will start punching their tickets to the NCAA tournament very soon. The Big East Tournament used to draw the most focus from college basketball experts, as it showcased some of the best teams in the country in a hectic five-day tournament.
The Big East Tournament, hosted at historical Madison Square Garden every year since 1983, is the longest running conference tournament at one site. Providence, Syracuse and Hartford hosted the first three Big East tournaments.
However, since teams bolted the Big East for bigger and better conferences in realignment, the Big East has become an afterthought in the national college scene. The current state of the conference and the tournament has led to decreasing prices on the secondary market over the past two seasons. Big East Tournament tickets will be at their lowest price over the past five years.The current average price on the secondary market is $609.31 for all-session strips with the get-in price of $218.
Big East Tournament ticket prices peaked in 2011 when all-session strips averaged $1919.12 on the secondary market. The 2011 tournament was one of the most memorable in recent history as UConn became the first team ever to win five games in five consecutive days to win the Big East Tournament. That team, led by Kemba Walker, went on to win the 2011 National Championship.
Since then, prices have dipped every year. In 2012, the average cost of an all-session ticket strip dropped to $1646.23, dropping to $,1314.67 in 2013 and falling to $894.41 in 2014. The get-in price has followed the same trend, as well, dropping to $502 in 2012 and dropping to the low price of $228 in 2014.
The ticket cost trend corresponded directly with the deterioration of the conference as a whole. 2012 was the last year 16 teams participated in the tournament. In 2013, UConn was on postseason probation while West Virginia left for the Big 12.
The 2014 Big East Tournament was the 35th overall installment of the conference tournament, but the first under the "new" Big East. Despite powerhouse teams such as Louisville, UConn, Syracuse, Notre Dame and even Pittsburgh not in the 2014 tournament, it still featured teams like Georgetown, Villanova, Providence, St. John's and newly added Butler and Creighton.
Despite only two teams currently ranked in the Top 25 in the Big East (Villanova and Butler), most bracket predictions have six of the 10 teams in the conference making the NCAA tournament.