So here’s where we are right now, Pitt and Georgetown look real good, as does Louisville. Notre Dame and Marquette have been dueling for that last bye for weeks now, and the best news here, is that they’ll be meeting in South Bend this weekend. And the rest, well that’s a mess. We’re sure about Seton Hall, USF, Rutgers and Cincinnati ending their seasons a little early, but teams 6-12 are a total mess, but hopefully, I can shed some light onto what will happen over the next week and a half.
After Sunday March 4th, the standings will be:
- Notre Dame
- West Virginia
- St. John’s
- Seton Hall
Now, here’s how it’ll happen:
First off, the top of the league. Pitt at Georgetown this Saturday. I can’t wait. This game is clearly the game of the year so far in the conference. I realize that Pitt has been the frontrunners all year, but I think they may actually need this game a little more than the Hoyas. Their closing schedule is very difficult and includes a trip to Marquette, and also a home game against West Virginia. And I’ve seen enough Pitt-WVU games to know that this one is usually a toss up, no matter what the strength of the teams. Example-Last March, the Garden, I watched Pitt dismantle West Virginia even though the ‘Neers were the favorites. It’s a rivalry, you get the idea.
A slightly easier path lies ahead for the Hoyas. First off, they have Pitt at home. The rest of their schedule reads @ Cincinnati (tonight), @ Syracuse, and UConn at home. They should score fairly easy victories over Cincy and UConn which would get them to 12 wins. Then a victory over Pitt at home would give them 13, which is the best Pitt could do considering the G’town loss, and the tie-breaker would then go to the Hoyas. So even if they lose to the Orangemen in the dome (I saw one SU-G’town game live in the dome in 97, and after that game I’d never pick the Hoyas in that dome again), a victory over Pitt would get them that #1 seed. By the way, I saw Donovan McNabb dunk in that game. I liked it, but not as much as Mister D did.
Then we have Louisville. They’re sitting pretty with a 9-4 record and SHU, UConn and SJU left on their schedule. By the way, if Pitt drops 2, and the Cards run the table, Louisville will be your #2 seed, and the Panthers will drop to third. And that’s what is going to happen.
Finishing fourth will be Notre Dame, followed by Marquette in 5th. The Golden Eagles have gone in the tank the last few weeks, and now sit in serious trouble with ND and Pitt left on their schedule. They’ll be in the NCAAs, but they won’t do anything there. Backing into the tournament the way they are, is not the way to finish a season. Perhaps they’re still a year a way from seriously contending in this conference. I think they can beat Pitt, because I don’t like the way Pitt is playing either, but they won’t beat the Irish. Notre Dame will beat Marquette and Rutgers and finish in 4th.
After the Golden Eagles, I have Syracuse, West Virginia, DePaul, Providence and Villanova all projected to finish approximately 9-7 or 8-8. I’ve got the Friars finishing 6th because they have the eaisest remaining schedule, and I could definitely see them winning their final three and finishing 10-6. At worst, a 9-7 finish for PC.
Following them in 7th place will be the Mountaineers. WVU is currently 8-6, and they’ll likely finish 9-7 and that would put them into a tie with DePaul, who will also finish 9-7. However, WVU already beat the Blue Demons, and would have the tiebreaker for a 7th place finish.
Did I say Providence had the easiest schedule? Yea, that was a lie. DePaul has Cincy and USF at home. They’ll win both. And I believe that leaves the Cuse at #9. Wow! They’re 8-5, are they really going to lose their last 3? Maybe. They’ll lose at Providence, and they’ll drop at least one to either Villanova or Georgetown. They could lose both, as the Orangemen have a tough finish to their schedule.
At #10 I have the Wildcats. NCAA locks? RPI says so. Somebody tell that guy he’s crazy. After Nova beats Rutgers, they have a game at UConn, which I believe they can lose, and also a home date with Syracuse. They’ll be 7-7 after the Rutgers win, and I certainly don’t see them winning their final two. They’ll finish 8-8, or maybe even 7-9. Don’t worry though Nova fans, you’ll make the tournament as an 11-seed and get beat in the first round.
The final two teams to make the Big East will be UConn at #11 and St. John’s at #12. They’ll both likely finish with 6-10 records and since the Huskies beat the Red Storm earlier this year, they get the 11th spot.
Making the NCAAs will be Georgetown, Louisville, Pitt, Notre Dame, Marquette, Providence, Villanova and either DePaul, Syracuse or West Virginia, depending on who does the best in the Garden. Yea, we’ll get 8, but not 9.
So there you go, no need to watch the next two weeks of hoops. Come March 4th, we talk about how the Irish are going to beat 3 consecutive top 25 teams to win the Big East Tournament.