The Big East Conference men's basketball regular-season schedule concludes Saturday night, when the Rutgers Scarlet Knights host the St. John's Red Storm at the RAC (8 p.m. ET on SNY). Before that, the league features six games today, all having unique implications on the upcoming Big East Tournament's bracket and schedule and NCAA Tournament seedings.
Pittsburgh Panthers at Connecticut Huskies (Noon on ESPN)
With a victory and a little help from the DePaul Blue Demons and South Florida Bulls, and the Huskies (17-12, 7-10 Big East) could move from a No. 10-seed in the Big East Tournament bracket to a No. 8 seed.
DePaul hosts the Seton Hall Pirates (19-10, 8-9), who currently own the final single-bye slot, while the Bulls (19-11, 12-5) host the West Virginia Mountaineers (18-12, 8-9), who's No. 9. The Mountaineers would lose the head-to-head tiebreaker to UConn, while the Pirates would be leapfrogged because of the Huskies victory over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Jan. 14 (Big East Tiebreaker system).
Also, a loss would more than certainly put the Huskies' NCAA Tournament hopes in jeopardy.
The Panthers (16-14, 5-12) could bypass the Red Storm for the No. 11 seed, if they win and St. John's loses. However, only a five-victories-in-five-days run can help Pitt earn a March Madness bid.
West Virginia at South Florida (Noon on SNY)
A USF win would also, more than likely, secure an invite to the NCAAs.
As for the Mountaineers, they have a shot to pass Seton Hall for the No. 8 seed and earn a first-round bye in the Big East Tournament, while helping their NCAA-bubble cause.
Cincinnati Bearcats at Villanova Wildcats (2 p.m. on ESPN)
The Bearcats (21-9, 11-6) have already locked up a first-round bye in the Big East Tournament. However, they could help their NCAA resume with victory over a beatable opponent.
'Nova (12-17, 5-12) could jump from a No. 14 seed to a No. 12, if it earns a victory and St. John's loses.
Georgetown at Marquette (2 p.m. on SNY)
A Hoyas loss could drop them from No. 4 to No. 5 seed, which is the difference from a double- to a single-bye in the conference tournament. The Golden Eagles would lose their No. 2 seed with a loss, as Notre Dame owns the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Both teams have cemented at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament.
Louisville Cardinals at Syracuse Orange (4 p.m. on CBS)
The Orange (29-1, 16-1) have already earned the Big East regular-season title and the conference tournament's No. 1 seed, however, a loss to the Cardinals (22-8, 10-7) will all but eliminate any shot at earning the No. 1-overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.
In the conference tourney, Louisville, surprisingly, has nothing lose or gain; but a victory would help its seeding in the NCAAs.
Seton Hall at DePaul (6 p.m. on SNY)
As stated earlier, the Pirates are trying to hang on to their BET first-round bye and an at-large NCAA bid, while the Blue Demons are just trying to play spoiler as they will be the Big East's No. 16 seed.
St. John's at Rutgers (8 p.m. on SNY)
The Johnnies (13-17, 6-11), currently a No. 11 seed, could fall all the way to No. 14 with a loss; while the Scarlet Knights (13-17, 5-12) have a shot at moving up to the 11th seed with a win and victories by UConn and Cincy.
Unless one of these two schools runs the table at the Big East Tournament, neither has a shot at the postseason.