It is less than 24 hours before Jay Wright’s Wildcats hit the hardwood at Madison Square Garden in NYC. The #6 Villanova Wildcats (28-3, 16-2) are a fill-in for the NCAA tournament despite their upcoming performance in this week’s Big East conference tourney. A conference ring would more than likely make the Wildcats a #1 seed come selection sunday. However it is very difficult to see the Wildcats coming out on top if they have to face Doug McDermott and the Creighton Bluejays in the final.
The #9 Bluejays (24-6,14-4) sit comfortably at the #2 seed in the Big East Tournament. The Bluejays’ 24 wins without a doubt give them a checkmark for a #3 seed in the NCAA tournament. If they leave New York with a Big East title, a #2 spot is appropriate. Their only roadblock is the Xavier Musketeers who gave the Bluejays a fat L in their last meeting.
While the Wildcats and Bluejays may not be desperate for some big wins, other Big East programs are relying on the tournament as their pathway into the big dance.
Teams on the borderline:
The Xavier Musketeers (20-11, 10-8) were looking in great shape after a home win against #9 Creighton on March 1st. But back to back losses against Villanova and Seton Hall leaves people skeptical. Despite their recent poor performances, a win against Marquette in the quarterfinals on Thursday should force the NCAA committee to give the Musketeers a nod. IN
The Providence Friars (20-11,10-8) have really been a .500 team for the past month making them a questionable call for a NCAA bid despite hitting the 20-win mark. The Friars have prevailed late in games, for example their 81-80 double overtime win against Marquette a week ago. But their biggest struggle is pulling away from poor teams. Don’t be surprised if St. Johns beats them in the last 5 minutes tomorrow afternoon. OUT
While St. Johns (20-11, 10-8) carries the same record as Xavier and Providence, the Red Storm have won 11 of their past 14 games. Freshman Rasheed Jordan has been phenomenal at controlling the tempo of the offense and D’Angelo Harrison is coming off a 20-point game in their 91-90 2OT thriller against Marquette. Despite the Red Storm’s recent success, seeing them get by Villanova in the semifinals is very slim. OUT
For the Georgetown Hoyas (17-13, 8-10), it is very possible for them to end up in the conference semi’s. Despite getting crushed by Villanova a week ago, the team gave Creighton a shock days before. They will face the Bluejays if they pull out a win over DePaul tonight at 9:30pm. This upset-caliber squad could really make splash in the tournament. However, winning two games this week would be mandatory . IN
If these prediction stand true, the Big East will be sending 4 teams to the conference tournament. This is no record for most teams to be sent. But the teams that do make it into the round of 64 will be sure to make some noise. All the games will be airing on Fox Sports 1 over the next few days.