Eight of the ten teams in the Big East have three games left with only Villanova and Butler playing just two league games over the next 9 days. The bottomline is that the regular season comes to a conclusion on March 4th with all ten teams in action and the likelihood is that many of the Big East members will still be jockeying for final seeding position for the Big East Tournament that begins on March 8th at Madison Square Garden. I’ll be doing this “Seed Watch” post regularly over the final days of the regular season and there will be more detail about tiebreakers and scenarios as the season gets closer to a conclusion. For now, I’ll give you the Big East Tournament bracket as it would be today and what a win for certain teams this weekend means for the seeding outlook.
The first game of the tournament will be at 7pm on Wednesday, March 8th with another game that night at 9:30pm. The first round, quarterfinals and semifinals will be broadcast on FS1 and the finals will be broadcast on FOX.
Here is where we stand through games on 2/22/2017:
First round – Wednesday, March 8
|1||7:00 PM||#8 St. John’s vs. #9 Georgetown|
|2||9:30 PM||#7 Seton Hall vs. #10 DePaul|
Quarterfinals – Thursday, March 9
|3||12:00 PM||#1 Villanova vs. Winner of Game 1|
|4||2:30 PM||#4 Marquette vs. #5 Xavier|
|5||7:00 PM||#2 Butler vs. Winner of Game 2|
|6||9:30 PM||#3 Creighton vs. #6 Providence|
Semifinals – Friday, March 10
|7||6:30 PM||Winner of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 4|
|8||9:00 PM||Winner of Game 5 vs. Winner of Game 6|
Championship – Saturday, March 11
|9||5:30 PM||Winner of Game 7 vs. Winner of Game 8|
Seed Movement Scenarios by Matchup
In this first edition of the “Seed Watch” for the 2016-17 season I think it makes sense to view the potential impact of matchups on Saturday and Sunday this week. I’ll analyze some scenarios if a win and some if a loss and then do this exercise again on Monday to recap the scenarios heading into the final week of Big East games. Let’s start with the games on Saturday.
#8 St. John’s: 12-16, 6-9 vs. #9 Georgetown: 14-14, 5-10
St. John’s probably has to win out the rest of the way to avoid playing the first night of the Big East Tournament. With Georgetown coming off a bad loss at the hands of DePaul on Wednesday the Hoyas could be just going through the motions with their fate as a first night team pretty much locked up.
#7 Seton Hall: 17-10, 7-8 at #10 DePaul: 9-19, 2-13
If the season ended on Thursday this would be the second game of the first night of the Big East Tournament. Seton Hall is currently sitting in 7th place because they lose a tiebreaker to Providence because the Friars are 1-1 against Butler while the Pirates are 0-1 right now. Obviously things get more complicated for tiebreakers once everyone has played each other twice and the final standings shake out. But right now the Pirates are looking at a first night matchup with the Blue Demons and a re-match of this game.
The big group of Marquette, Xavier, Providence and Seton Hall are all sitting at 8-7 or 7-8 and with the exception of Marquette and Providence playing later on Saturday this group doesn’t go head-to-head with anyone else in the foursome. DePaul is currently locked into the 10 spot regardless of how they finish because even if they win out and Georgetown loses out the Hoyas still hold the tiebreaker edge over the Blue Demons.
#1 Villanova: 26-3, 13-3 vs #3 Creighton: 22-6, 9-6
Villanova will be looking to start a new winning streak at the Pavilion on Saturday after losing their 3rd game of the season on Wednesday night as Butler swept the Wildcats. Villanova isn’t quite locked into the #1 seed in the Big East Tournament because Butler has the tiebreaker right now should both teams finish with the same record. A Villanova win or a Butler loss on Saturday would seal the #1 seed for the Wildcats. Villanova has won the Big East regular season each of the last 3 seasons.
Creighton doesn’t have the easiest final 3 games with this road trip to Villanova, home for St. John’s and then back on the road to finish the season at Marquette. Villanova is obviously a tough matchup for anyone, especially coming off a rare loss in their last game. St. John’s had excellent guard play and they can score with anyone and the Bluejays lost to Marquette on January 21st, 102-98, at home. Creighton could be in danger of slipping from 3rd to 6th, depending on how things shake out.
#4 Marquette: 17-10, 8-7 vs. #6 Providence: 17-11, 7-8
This game is critical for both teams because they are each on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament. Providence has won 3 games in a row and they defeated Marquette in Milwaukee for the first time ever nearly a month ago. Marquette has a win against Villanova shining on their resume, but the Golden Eagles don’t have the best RPI — currently 69 — and they played an especially soft non-conference slate — non-conference SOS rank of 248 — so it seems like they have some work to do still. As I said above, this game is the only time the middle group of Marquette, Xavier, Providence and Seton Hall play against each other, so this game has an even larger impact on Big East Tournament seeding than the other 2 games both of these teams will play after Saturday.
#2 Butler: 22-6, 11-5 vs. #5 Xavier: 18-10, 8-7
With this game being played on Sunday there will be some more things known about the standings, but looking ahead at this game before Saturday’s games are played this game has implications at both the top and near the bottom of the Big East standings.
Butler is coming off their season sweep of Villanova on Wednesday night after they snapped the Wildcats’ 45-game winning streak at the Pavilion. The Bulldogs do have the outside chance of getting the #1 seed for the Big East Tournament but they will probably be more concerned with keeping Creighton off their back and locking up the #2 seed, something Butler can do with a two wins or a win and a Creighton loss win on Saturday.
Xavier is reeling a bit with 4 straight losses but Trevon Bluiett returned to the lineup on Wednesday after missing the prior two games with an ankle injury. The Musketeers only have two losses at home this season and those came against Creighton and Villanova. Playing Butler at the Cintas Center isn’t the easiest way to try to break a losing streak but it gives them an opportunity to get a win against a team ahead of them in the standings. The Musketeers are in the middle of the pack and could finish anywhere from 3rd to 6th.
That’s it for this first edition of the 2016-17 Seed Watch. I’ll be doing this again next week to recap the weekend and the preview the final weekend of action where all 10 teams will be in action. The final Seed Watch post will also include all scenarios for each seed it isn’t already locked up by a particular team.
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