As the Big East reaches its final two regular season weeks, the conference is more of an enigma than ever. Take a Georgetown team that shoots as well as any in the country, but shot just 25 percent in a home loss to Cincinnati on Wednesday. The percentage was the lowest for Georgetown going back to at least 1978. Why would the best-shooting team in recent Georgetown history struggle like Irvin Church was still the starting two-guard? It baffles.
What's at stake Saturday? Well, I'm glad you asked.
SYRACUSE AT GEORGETOWN: This noon, nationally-televised game is nothing less than a tryout for Markel Starks, the backup point guard averaging just 1.6 points per game. With Chris Wright out for the near future with a broken bone in his hand, it will be up to Starks to prove to the NCAA selection committee that the Hoyas are still worthy of the seed their resume suggests they should get.
SOUTH FLORIDA AT DEPAUL: The game is HUGE! A win, and South Florida can put a hammerlock on fifteenth place. A loss, and suddenly there is a free-for-all to avoid sixteenth place. Okay, fine- just watch so you can see Cleveland Melvin, whose game is as smooth as Jerry Lewis's pronunciation of his name.
ST. JOHN'S AT VILLANOVA: Consider this: Villanova needs a win just to climb into a tie with St. John's. That's the kind of year the Red Storm is having. A win for St. John's, and a top-four finish starts to look more than possible, right into the realm of probable. Another big game for Dwight Hardy will only increase Player-of-the-Year talk, too.
SETON HALL AT NOTRE DAME: A win for Seton Hall here would complicate Notre Dame's efforts to stay above the fray among the 11 likely NCAA-bound Big East teams. (11!) The Pirates, well below .500, are likely playing for pride at this point.