Three weeks to go in the regular season.
There’s a tie for second place in the standings, a tie for fifth place, and a tie for eighth place. There’s a team just half a game back of both second place and fifth place. There’s a lot left to be decided in the final few games of the regular season in terms of Big East tournament seeding, and this week’s got quite a few games that could go a long way towards making those decisions.
Wednesday, February 15, 2017: #20 Creighton Bluejays at Seton Hall Pirates (7pm Central, CBS Sports Network) - Y’all realize that Creighton’s tied for second place in the Big East right now? Even with losing Maurice Watson for the season six games ago, the Bluejays are holding down a tie with Xavier two games behind Villanova. Now, there is the issue of CU only going 3-3 in the last six games, and also the issue of two of the wins coming against DePaul. With that in mind, this trip to New Jersey is pretty important for the Bluejays, and it’s VERY important for the Pirates. They’re just 3-6 in their last nine and are coming off a road loss against St. John’s. Dropping Creighton would do a world of good for SHU’s postseason opportunities.
Wednesday, February 15, 2017: St. John’s Red Storm at #24 Butler Bulldogs (7:30pm Central, FS1) - Guys. St. John’s is tied for fifth place in the Big East right now, and they actually hold the tiebreaker over Marquette for the time being. I don’t know if they can play their way into even the NIT at this point of the season, but they can absolutely wreck everyone else’s lives as they round into shape as the season winds down. Butler has last three of their last four games (no, I don’t want to talk about the game that they won) with two of those losses coming at home. They’re probably safe for the NCAA tournament, but I really don’t think Chris Holtmann and his squad want to tempt fate with a loss to the Red Storm.
Saturday, February 18, 2017: Xavier Musketeers at Marquette Golden Eagles (7pm Central, CBS Sports Network) - Sooooo.... Marquette’s in a massive tailspin since knocking off #1 Villanova back on January 24th. The Golden Eagles have lost four of their five games since then, with only a respite against DePaul coming in the victory column. They’re going to get a full week off to prepare for a home game that they can not afford to lose, mostly because they can’t afford to lose any more regular season games at all this season. Meanwhile, Xavier’s the other team in that tie with Creighton for second place in the league, and they’re presented with a very scary proposition: Trevon Bluiett was unable to play in the second half against Villanova on Saturday due to a sprained ankle. We’ll get a better idea of how he’s doing on Wednesday when the Musketeers visit Providence, but they’ve already lost Edmond Sumner for the year with an ACL tear and Myles Davis quit the team. How many more players can they lose before things go very bad for them?
The Big East Women’s Basketball Game Of The Week
Sunday, February 19, 2017: #17 DePaul Blue Demons at Marquette Golden Eagles (1pm Central, FS2) - We know that Marquette can’t win the regular season title any more. That’s fine. We also know that the Golden Eagles are the only Big East squad to hand DePaul an L so far this season, and we know that Creighton is still alive for the regular season title. May as well go ahead and throw a wrench into DePaul’s life, huh? It also wouldn’t hurt Marquette’s pretty solid postseason outlook to knock off a team that the NCAA selection committee already thinks is one of the 16 best teams in the country.
The Worst American Athletic Conference Game Of The Week
Saturday, February 18, 2017: South Florida Bulls at Tulane Green Wave (1pm Central, ESPN News) - YAY IT’S USF/TULANE WEEK AGAIN! It is very easy to pick the worst game in the AAC when the teams with a combined 2-23 record hook it up. Tulane is #275 in KenPom right now, and USF is #287. It’s entirely possible that the loser of this game drops to sub-300 level. For what it’s worth, Tulane beat USF in Tampa by 15 earlier this season, but hey: the Bulls just got their first win since late December, while the Green Wave have lost eight straight since beating USF.