When it comes to the Big East and its teams positioning for the NCAA Tournament, it seems pretty cut and dry who will be dancing, who will not and who controls their own destiny.
The Big East is having a stellar second season as a revised, basketball-centric conference. It’s finding its groove this year and is primed to get more than the four teams it sent to the Big Dance last season. Not only that, but the conference should improve on its seeds. If you recall, outside of Villanova and Creighton, the other two teams to make it—Providence (11-seed) and Xavier (12-seed and part of the first four games in Dayton)—did not receive advantageous seeds.
That should all change this March.
So with March a week away, it’s time we reassess the bubble watch for the Big East.
Stone Cold Locks: Villanova and Butler
Out barring a miracle and winning the Big East Tournament: Creighton, DePaul, Marquette and Seton Hall (such a shame how their season spiraled out of control).
All following RPI’s courtesy of KenPom.com.
Hold their fate in their own hands, or in other words safely in at the moment:
Providence: 19-8, 9-5 RPI: 34
With each passing game, it seems readily apparent that Providence will make it back to the NCAA Tournament regardless of what they do late.
The Friars have all the necessary bullet points on their resume: a fine RPI, a winning conference record (in which said conference is second best according to RPIRatings.com) and excellent wins over Notre Dame, Miami, Butler (on the road) plus a sweep of Georgetown.
With a scintillating duo in LaDontae Henton and Kris Dunn, this is a team that could do some major damage in March. So, basically we’re talking about maintenance work with Providence.
Georgetown: 17-8, 9-5 RPI: 18
Just like Providence, barring a disaster, it’s safe to say Georgetown will be dancing in a couple of weeks.
The Hoyas, too, have a lot going for them. Their RPI of 18 is top-notch. Georgetown also has a winning conference record and have some wins to be proud of. So far this season, the Hoyas have knocked off Florida, Indiana, Villanova, Butler and St. John’s.
After not making it to the tournament last season, the Hoyas definitely have the hunger to get back and are poised to finish strong.
Might have work to do:
St. John’s: 18-9, 7-7 RPI: 38
Winners of five out of their last seven, the Red Storm are definitively moving in the right direction as we approach March.
St. John’s is sitting squarely on the bubble (although probably on the right side at the moment) and need to have a good finish. They have a good RPI and do own three top-50 wins, including a nice sweep of Providence. The Red Storm also had great success in the non-conference portion of their schedule, taking down additional top-100 teams in Syracuse (on the road), St. Mary’s and Minnesota.
Now at .500 in conference play, if St. John’s can maintain it’s current pace, they should be set for inclusion.
Xavier: 18-10, 8-7 RPI: 26
After whipping Butler on Saturday, Xavier’s chances to make the NCAA Tournament just became a lot stronger.
With the win over Butler, Xavier now has six top-50 wins (including a sweep of Georgetown and a recent win over Cincinnati on the road), while also possessing three other top-100 wins. Their RPI is now 26 as of Saturday evening. The only possible sticking point against Xavier is their four sub-100 losses to Long Beach State, Auburn, DePaul and Creighton.
Still, the good far outweighs the bad here. Expect Xavier to have their name called on Selection Sunday.