clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Saturday Big East Preview: Last Chance Saloon

If it seems like everything is still to be decided in this season's wild Big East, you're not far off. With just one regular season game left for each of the 16 teams, only four of the seeds for next week's Big East Tournament are locked in place. Everything else is up for grabs. Teams can still earn a double bye with a win, while a loss could lead to a demotion to the Atlantic 10.

Rather than recount the tiebreaker scenarios, let's look more generally at what teams are playing for in the final regular season game in the deepest conference in America- perhaps ever.

LOUISVILLE AT WEST VIRGINIA: Believe it or not, Louisville may have more to play for here. The Cardinals locked up an NCAA bid with a four-game winning streak, but while they are the third seed in the BET, they are tied for sixth in the conference in RPI. West Virginia is actually ahead of them, RPI-wise, though with a loss, the Mountaineers could still play on Tuesday.

GEORGETOWN AT CINCINNATI: For the Hoyas, playing without Chris Wright, this game is about both avenging their worst shooting performance in decades, and proving that they can beat a quality opponent without Wright. His return is far from assured, let alone a return at full strength, following a broken bone in his hand less than two weeks ago. For Cincinnati, a second win over Georgetown, whose RPI is still eighth in the country, would help their NCAA seeding tremendously.

NOTRE DAME AT CONNECTICUT: For the Huskies, a recent swoon has taken them from a likely 2-3 seed in the Big Dance to more like a 6-7 seed. Connecticut is 6-6 in their last 12, and with teams collapsing on Kemba Walker, their answer seems to be: losing. The Irish, with a win and a trip to the Big East title game, could find themselves with a two seed on Selection Sunday.

VILLANOVA AT PITTSBURGH: Didn't you think this would be for the conference title? Instead, Villanova, losers of three straight, need this win to finish with a winning in-conference record. Pitt, meanwhile, will continue toward that number one NCAA seed that has seemed theirs for the taking since November with a win Saturday.

DEPAUL AT SYRACUSE: This one is as simple as it gets. Syracuse, with a win, gets a double bye in the Big East Tournament. With a loss, they need St. John's to lose to earn that double bye. DePaul, to earn a double bye, needs 12 other Big East teams to drop basketball by next week. The good news is, it can be any 12.

MARQUETTE AT SETON HALL: How happy must Buzz Williams be? Seton Hall played its game of the year on Thursday night in an upset of St. John's. Now, the Pirates have a two-day turnaround, facing Marquette in a game the Golden Eagles absolutely need. With an RPI of just 55, Marquette is the one conference team still in need of some resume padding.

RUTGERS AT PROVIDENCE: How huge is this? Rutgers, with a win, moves to 15-15, meaning with just one win in the Big East Tournament, they'll qualify for possible entry into the NIT. Providence, at 14-16, would need two wins in the Big East Tournament to go pseudo-dancing- with a loss, they'd need to make it to the championship game, which means four wins in four days. So if you care about the NIT at all, you'll be riveted by this game.

SOUTH FLORIDA AT St. JOHN'S: For the Bulls, Saturday can provide a video to show to recruits next year with a win. As for St. John's, a team that had just convinced everyone they were for real, Thursday night's meltdown against Seton Hall was sobering. Right the ship here, and it will be considered a blip. Lose at home to South Florida, and the Johnnies may be a team that peaked too soon.