The next few days of the Big East Tournament will play a major factor in the seeding that the conference teams earn when the NCAA Tournament brackets are announced on Selection Sunday. A team could easily move up or down a couple of seeds depending on the outcome of their performance at Madison Square Garden. Here is a best case/worst scenario on where the Big East teams could land in the brackets depending on their result at the Big East Tournament.
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Georgetown (24-5 overall, 10 RPI, 17 SOS)
If the Hoyas win the Big East Tournament, that will pretty much help them lock up a #1 seed in the tourney. There is still a chance they could land a top seed if they lose in the championship game unless it is to Louisville; then the Cardinals would sneak ahead of the Hoyas. Even if Georgetown bows out early in NYC, I can’t see them slipping lower than the number two line.
Louisville (26-5, 3 RPI, 6 SOS)
The Cards have quietly placed themselves in a position to earn a top seed. If they cut down the nets at MSG, there is no question Rick Pitino’s squad will be on the top line. Anything less though and Louisville probably heads into the tournament as a #2 seed. If they get bounced early during the BET, the Cardinals could slip to a three seed but nothing lower.
Marquette (23-7, 11 RPI, 12 SOS)
The Golden Eagles figure to land in the 2-4 range depending on their outcome this weekend. Running the table and hoisting the trophy would likely result in a two seed but get knocked out in the quarterfinals and a four seed seems more appropriate. Losing in the semi’s would project Marquette as a three or four depending on what happens in other conference tourneys. Falling in the title game and Buzz’s bunch doesn’t drop lower than a three.
Pittsburgh (24-7, 40 RPI, 73 SOS)
The less than stellar RPI and SOS is certainly holding the Panthers back at this point considering their best non-conference win came against Detroit or Lehigh; two teams that won’t be dancing. The best case scenario for a Pitt team that wins it all would be a four, maybe a three seed. Losing in the quarterfinals and a five or six seems more reasonable.
Syracuse (23-8, 17 RPI, 10 SOS)
By crapping the bed in the final month of the season and dropping seven of their last twelve games, the Orange have dropped from a potential 1 seed to the current five seed that I have them projected at. If the absolute worst happens and the ‘Cuse gets shocked by Seton Hall/South Florida, Jim Boeheim’s team could end up as low as a seven seed as they limp into the tourney. Regrouping and putting together a four-day run in NYC and I think Syracuse’s ceiling is a four, MAYBE a three depending on what happens in other conference tourneys. A safe bet would be predicting the Orange between a 4-6 seed.
Villanova (19-12, 52 RPI, 22 SOS)
If the Wildcats want to feel secure and not be sweating it out on Selection Sunday like a fat dude in a sauna, they better beat St. John’s Wednesday evening. Even if they dropped that game, I still ‘Nova is in but more than likely ends up in a play-in game. Making some sort of magical run could propel the ‘Cats to a seeding around 8 or 9. I’d just worry about winning one game though if I were Jay Wright.
Cincinnati (21-10, 49 RPI, 30 SOS)
I think the Bearcats are being under-talked about as a team that could be left out of the tournament. Like Syracuse, Cincy struggled down the stretch by losing six of their final nine games as members of the Big East Conference. An opening loss to Providence combined with some at large bids being stolen by other conferences could land the ‘Cats on the wrong side of the bubble. However, they do have good non-conference wins over Oregon, Iowa State, Alabama, and Xavier which should be enough for them to put their dancing shoes on. A mediocre showing at The Garden (one win, one loss) likely lands Cincy around the 10 line. Pulling off an upset or two probably doesn’t get them higher than an eight spot.
The four remaining Big East teams would have to win the whole thing to a berth into the Big Dance. Even trips to the championship game for Providence or St. John’s wouldn’t be enough.
My Big East Tournament Prediction: Louisville over Syracuse
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)