Just 34 days remain until Selection Sunday.
At this point, we have a solid idea on teams that are definitely in the NCAA Tournament and teams that are definitely out. Because this is the Big East, we have a strong set of games this week that will have an impact on the conference standings going forward. With one of those games taking place tonight, let's get started with the Big Five!
Tonight: Connecticut at #24/23 Louisville (7pm Central, ESPN) - You didn't think I meant tonight's Marquette-DePaul game, did you? The way the standings sit right now, UConn is in the exact same spot they finished last year: 9th place in the Big East with a .500 record. Without Kemba Walker, it's hard to believe that they could repeat last year's run. In Louisville's case, they need the win to stay in the race for a double bye in the Big East Tournament.
Wednesday, February 8: #12/11 Georgetown at #2/2 Syracuse (6pm, ESPN) - While first place isn't on the line, the easiest way for Georgetown to get to first place will be to drag the Orange down to 2 conference losses. We'll have to keep an eye on this one, as Marquette currently sits tied for second place with Georgetown in the standings.
Wednesday, February 8: Pittsburgh at South Florida (6pm, ESPN3) - We have a three way tie for the hottest team in the conference with Marquette losing on Saturday. The three teams with 4 straight wins are Notre Dame (jerks), Louisville, and in a surprise recovery, Pittsburgh. Turns out getting your point guard back is pretty important. Working in South Florida's favor, they get to take on the red hot Panthers at home, and a win over a resurgent Pitt team would go a long way in helping the Bulls' post season outlook.
Wednesday, February 8: Notre Dame at West Virginia (8pm, ESPNU) - This is a mirror game for these two teams, and like Marquette and Cincinnati, they'll play both of the mirror games within 2 weeks of each other late in the season. I don't really get this scheduling quirk. Wouldn't it make more sense to spread the games out to get a better picture of where the teams are at different points of the schedule, like Marquette's games with Georgetown?
Saturday, February 11: Cincinnati at #18/19 Marquette (2pm, ESPNU) - Yeah, like I was going to leave National Marquette Day off this list. Not when you've got two top half of the conference teams playing.