Here’s what we know so far about the Big East: Villanova’s bearing down on a regular season title, and both VU and Butler have clinched byes to the Big East quarterfinals. Teams 3 through 9 could still end up anywhere on the conference tournament seeding chart. Even DePaul isn’t guaranteed a spot in the basement quite yet, as they could, in theory, still end up in a tie with Georgetown.
Hopefully the week ahead provides us with some clarity instead of only making things more confusing......
Wednesday, February 22, 2017: Xavier Musketeers at Seton Hall Pirates (6pm Central, FS1) - Here we have a conundrum of sorts. On one hand, we have a Seton Hall team that’s trying really hard to get to the NCAA tournament but is in definite need of wins. On the other hand, we have an Xavier team that has lost three straight aka haven’t won a game since Trevon Bluiett sprained his ankle. They could really use a win themselves, regardless of whether Bluiett ends up playing in this game. One of them has to end up the victor at the end.
Wednesday, February 22, 2017: Butler Bulldogs at Villanova Wildcats (8pm Central, FS1) - Butler and Villanova both have just three regular season games left. Coincidentally, the Bulldogs are currently three games behind the Wildcats in the league standings. Are the odds in BU’s favor when it comes to their chances of ending up with a share of the regular season title? Probably not, to be honest. But if they want to accomplish that, they have to start here with a win. The good news is that Butler beat Villanova earlier this season, something that only Marquette can also claim. The bad news is that this one’s up on the Main Line in the Pavillion, and VU hasn’t lost there since only Saint Augustine knows when.
Saturday, February 25, 2017: Creighton Bluejays at Villanova (2pm Central, Fox) - Creighton has done a reasonable job acquitting themselves as a quality team since Maurice Watson went down with an ACL tear. They’re 4-4, which is just fine, all things considered. Two of the wins are against DePaul, though, so they wouldn’t exactly turn down the opportunity to stake a claim to a high quality victory by knocking off the Wildcats here. With both Butler and Creighton coming to The Pavillion this week, it might be the hardest week of the season for the Wildcats, as they’re definitely going to get both barrels of intensity from both squads.
The Big East Women’s Basketball Game Of The Week
Sunday, February 26, 2017: Villanova at Marquette Golden Eagles (2pm Central, Big East Digital Network) - This is the final weekend of the regular season for Big East women’s basketball, so we have to go with the one game that has the most seeding implication. This will literally be the last game of the regular season, and right now, Marquette and Villanova are both 11-5 and tied for third place in the league. While Friday’s games might dictate how things go, this will still have the biggest possible impact. Neither MU nor VU can catch DePaul or Creighton (both 14-2) for first place in the Big East, but both of their games (vs VU & vs Georgetown for DePaul, at Xavier & at Butler for Creighton) will also have a major impact on how the conference tournament gets seeded.
The Worst American Athletic Conference Game Of The Week
Thursday, February 23, 2017: South Florida Bulls at Tulsa Golden Hurricane (7pm Central, ESPN News) - Technically speaking, this should probably be Tuesday’s game between East Carolina and Tulane, because both of those teams are sub-200 in KenPom. However, as of Monday, USF is sitting at #296 on the ol’ KenPom chart. This is their only game of the week, so it is the only chance of the week to see the Bulls knocked to sub-300. I feel bad for our friends over at The Daily Stampede for having to deal with this mess, but for someone who is looking for the worst things possible to happen to the AAC, I can’t help but cheer for Tulsa to win by much more than the predicted score of 78-64.