Analyzing the Big East’s NCAA Tournament Hopes

The Big East might actually be one of the most exciting conferences to watch this season because it is most certainly going to be the most unpredictable. Villanova is not where they believed they would be. St. John’s is undefeated but hasn’t been tested. Marquette has shown they may be the team to beat but have yet to prove they can sustain it a full season. While the rest of the league has the teams that could challenge or could just fall completely flat.

What the Big East is lacking this year is a true national title contender. The league is talented enough to get seven or eight teams in the tournament but without the chance to pick off a huge win over a team buying for a chance to the national championship it doesn’t look like that is feasible for the up and coming new Big East. From non-conference play and the prediction of the Big East really beating up on one another look for the conference to send five teams to the big dance with the possibility of as little as four with six at most.

Butler Bulldogs

Butler for the most part this season has been pretty solid. The Bulldogs have a win over Florida and Ole Miss with a chance to get one over Indiana and another win at Florida so they are looking like they could be one of the teams make it out of the Big East. Their two losses on the season come to the hands of Dayton and Saint Louis. It’s nothing to be concerned about as both teams should do well in the A-10 but still are some losses that could hurt in March

Current Projection: 10 Seed

Prediction: Butler should be fine in the long run but may find themselves in the bubble talk all season long. Look for the Bulldogs to find themselves in the 7-10 range with a ceiling as high as a 5 if they can handle the stiff competition in the Big East.

Creighton Bluejays

Creighton has showed that they are extremely but have struggled to close out the big games. They were able to take down Clemson but after having a chance  failed to close out a win over Ohio State and Gonzaga. Creighton is one of the few Big East Teams with a solid win on their schedule and thus far have avoided any losses that will harm them in March. One last challenge for Creighton remains in the non-conference when the Bluejays travel to Oklahoma where we will learn if the Bluejays mean to be for real this season or not.

Current Projection: 8 Seed

Prediction: Creighton will be a tough team in the Big East but if they can’t find their way to win the close games then they too will find themselves on the bubble all season long. Look for Creighton to finish around the 6-10 range but I believe they shouldn’t need to worry come March.

DePaul Blue Demons

DePaul has been rebuilding for sometime now and finally look to be a team that will be competitive in the Big East. DePaul will be fighting to make it out of the basement of the Big East and will certainly be a challenge this year as they have shown so far. The Blue Demons have a win over Penn State and have only lost to Notre Dame and Northwestern on the road. Boston College will be their last non-conference test and a win their will place them in better position moving forward.

Current Projection: 24 spots out

Prediction: The Blue Demons could fight their way to be in the talk on the bubble but most likely will need to win the Big East tournament.

Georgetown Hoyas

Georgetown is also looking to move out of the basement in the Big East and just like DePaul are certainly capable of making a move. Georgetown’s best win on the season is over Illinois but they failed to get a big win over Syracuse. The Hoyas also may have to worry about their loss to Loyola Marymount when March hits as the Lions may start to struggle once the WCC starts.

Current Projection: 23 spots out

Prediction: Georgetown should be a team that can stay on the bubble all season long, but if the Big East is truly weaker than normal than that might just push them off the bubble and out of the tournament. Look for Georgetown to reach as high as a 10 seed but will most likely need to win the Big East tournament.

Marquette Golden Eagles

Marquette has shown that they might be the team to beat in the Big East. The Golden Eagles best two wins are over Kansas State and Wisconsin but both of those wins came at home. Add in a neutral win over Louisville and Marquette has built a resume that should hold up throughout the season. A home game with Buffalo still remains before Marquette tries to win the Big East.

Current Projection: 5 Seed

Prediction: Marquette has basically shown that they are a lock in the tournament but their seed will be determined on how long they can sustain themselves throughout the season. Marquette’s ceiling is most likely a 3 seed but more than likely Marquette will fall in the 4-6 seed line.

Providence Friars

Providence has not lived up to expectations so far this season. The Friars are a young squad and just haven’t completely put everything together as they are inconsistent. The Friars have losses to Wichita State and UMass which will hurt them. Providence also doesn’t have any convincing wins yet this season and they will be playing without A.J. Reeves for part of the season upcoming. Texas Remains in their non-conference but the Big East will be extremely important for the Friars.

Current Projection: 8 spots out

Prediction: Providence really needs to compete in the Big East in order to make themselves a bubble team and stay there. A 10 seed looks to be the best case scenario for the Friars but as a bubble team they may be more of a 11 seed or miss out completely so winning the Big East tournament may be the best.

Seton Hall Pirates

Seton Hall lost a ton from a season ago and yet seemed to be poised to make a run in the Big East. The Pirates are coming off of a big win over Kentucky and can also add a win over Miami. The losses for the Pirates come to Louisville, Saint Louis, and Nebraska so absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Rutgers and Maryland still remain in the non-conference and if the Pirates can continue to put thing together they could be the surprise team of the Big East.

Current Projection: 10 Seed

Prediction: First Four out, 4 spots out

St. John’s Red Storm

St. John’s is the lone undefeated team remaining in the Big East while every other team has at least two losses. However their best wins come over three teams likely to miss out on the NCAA tournament in VCU, Rutgers, and Georgia Tech. St. John’s is a mature team and has lots of talent we just don’t know yet how good they actually are. Big East play will be there first real test all season and the one that truly defines them.

Current Projection: 9 Seed

Prediction: St. John’s should be just fine but they didn’t do nearly enough in the non-conference to be sure of it. Look for the Red Storm to be between the 5-9 range in the tournament.

Villanova Wildcats

Villanova is the biggest surprise so far in the Big East and not in a good way. The Wildcats have won the national championship two of the last three years but are looking like a team that was not ready to start the season. Villanova already has three losses outside of conference play for the first time since 2012-2013 season. They were blown out by Michigan at home, followed up by being stunned in overtime at home by Furman. And now can add a loss to Penn. However, Villanova can also claim a win over Florida State, Oklahoma State, Temple, and Saint Joseph’s. Kansas and UConn are what is left of their non-conference schedule so thing won’s get easier it’s just waiting to see which team shows up.

Current Projection: 5 Seed

Prediction: Villanova should have no problem making the tournament and by then may have really figured things out. The Big East may be more confident knowing Villanova is down but the Wildcats still look to be a team who will be seeded between a 3 and a 7.

Xavier Musketeers

Xavier is not the same without Chris Mack. Besides the loss of Mack, Xavier also lost some very key players that helped Xavier to a 1 seed a season ago. The Musketeers are in jeopardy of missing out of the NCAA tournament but could certainly make a run. Xavier has been unsuccessful in their big games so far with losses to Cincinnati, Wisconsin, and Auburn but have been a team that look like they could get things done. Missouri will be there last test before conference play begins but the Big East will be what truly decides Xavier’s fate.

Current Projection: 14 spots out

Prediction: Xavier will remain a bubble team all season long and will most likely be on the wrong side looking in. Look for Xavier to fight for a 9-12 seed but winning the Big East tournament would certainly help secure a place in the dance.

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