NOTE: Written before last night's horrendously officiated Villanova/Georgetown game
We're into the second half of the conference season, and the mini-divisions within the league are starting to take shape. You've got the teams battling for the league title (Georgetown, UConn, Notre Dame, U of L, maybe Pitt), the teams fighting for the last bye in the tournament (same teams probably), the bubble teams fighting to play their way into the NCAA Tournament (Marquette, West Virginia, Syracuse, maybe Seton Hall), and then the teams battling for the No. 12 spot (Depaul, 'Nova, Providence, St. John's). It's a fun, fun, fun time of the year.
1. Georgetown (1) (19-3, 9-2)
Last Week: Beat South Florida (63-53), lost to Louisville (59-51)
This Week: vs. Villanova (2/11), at Syracuse (2/16)
Losses at Pitt and Louisville are nothing to be ashamed of, but the three teams behind them are close enough that they won't be able to hold onto this spot if they drop another.
2. Notre Dame (3) (18-4, 8-2)
Last Week: Beat Seton Hall (95-69), beat Marquette (86-83)
This Week: At Connecticut (2/13), at Rutgers (2/17)
The Irish learned how to play on the road. Uh-oh.
3. Connecticut (2) (18-5, 7-3)
Last Week: Beat Syracuse (63-61), beat Georgia Tech (80-68)
This Week: vs. Notre Dame (2/13), at South Florida (2/16)
Beat Notre Dame on Wednesday, and all of the sudden heading to New York as winners of 15 straight seems like a very real possibility.
It sounds absurd considering the depth of the league, but look at this schedule and tell me who should beat them:
At South Florida
vs. West Virginia
Don't be surprised if the Huskies are your regular season champs.
4. Louisville (4) (18-6, 8-3)
Last Week: Beat Marquette (71-57), beat Georgetown (59-51)
This Week: At Depaul (2/12), at Providence (2/16)
I know, I can't believe it either. I just sent me a polite, but critical email.
5. Pittsburgh (5) (18-5, 6-4)
Last Week: Lost to Connecticut (60-53), beat West Virginia (55-54)
This Week: vs. Providence (2/12), at Marquette (2/15)
Levance Fields looked pretty healthy in the post-buzzer beater celebration, which doesn't bode well for our Feb. 24 tilt. By the way, how fun is it to say "Ronald Ramon?" More fun than saying the average name is the correct answer.
6. Marquette (6) (16-6, 6-5)
Last Week: Lost to Louisville (71-57), lost to Notre Dame (86-83)
This Week: At Seton Hall (2/12), vs. Pittsburgh (2/15)
A winless week makes Friday's (Friday's?) home game against Pittsburgh that much more important.
7. West Virginia (7) (16-7, 5-5)
Last Week: Beat Providence (76-65), lost to Pittsburgh (55-54)
This Week: vs. Rutgers (2/14), vs. Seton Hall (2/17)
Edgar Sosa shot the 'Eers out of the NCAA Tournament a year ago, might Ronald Ramon have just done the same thing?
8. Syracuse (8) (16-8, 6-5)
Last Week: Lost to Connecticut (63-61)
This Week: At South Florida (2/13), vs. Georgetown (2/16)
A huge step toward the friendlier side of the bubble can be taken on Saturday.
9. Cincinnati (10) (11-12, 6-5)
Last Week: Beat Rutgers (72-68 OT)
This Week: vs. St. John's (2/13)
A win over the Johnnies on Wednesday and UC can officially start worrying about its seed in the Big East Tournament rather than just making it to New York.
10. Seton Hall (9) (15-9, 5-6)
Last Week: Lost to Notre Dame (95-69), lost to Villanova (72-70)
This Week: vs. Marquette (2/12), at West Virginia (2/17)
If you don't win a pair this week then it's time to start praying for four in a row the second week of March.
11. Depaul (12) (10-13, 5-6)
Last Week: Lost to Providence (79-65), beat South Florida (69-61)
This Week: vs. Louisville (2/12)
These last seven games aren't going to be kind to the Demons. Jerry Wainwright and the boys are going to have to spring multiple upsets in order to have any postseason.
12. Villanova (11) (14-8, 4-6)
Last Week: Lost to St. Joseph's (77-55), beat Seton Hall (72-70)
This Week: At Georgetown (2/11), at St. John's (2/16)
It was Louisville two years ago, Connecticut last year, and now Villanova this year. The Wildcats will sneak into the conference tourney as an 11 or 12 seed, people will refer to them as "dangerous" throughout that Monday and Tuesday, and then they'll gracefully bow out in the first round.
13. Providence (13) (13-10, 4-7)
Last Week: Beat Depaul (79-65), lost to St. John's (64-62)
This Week: At Pittsburgh (2/12), vs. Louisville (2/16)
Tim Welsh, you're done son.
14. St. John's (15) (10-12, 4-7)
Last Week: Beat Rutgers (52-45), beat Providence (64-62)
This Week: At Cincinnati (2/13), vs. Villanova (2/16)
Four of the Red Storm's final five league games are against teams currently sitting in the top half of the standings, so they might need to take both games this week in order to make a run at that 12th spot.
15. Rutgers (14) (10-15, 2-10)
Last Week: Lost to St. John's (52-45), lost to Cincinnati (72-68 OT)
This Week: At West Virginia (2/14), vs. Notre Dame (2/17)
You'll always have late January.
16. South Florida (16) (10-14, 1-10)
Last Week: Lost to Georgetown (63-53), lost to Depaul (69-61)
This Week: vs. Syracuse (2/13), vs. Connecticut (2/16)
The Bulls have officially been eliminated from the regular season title race, making their Big East championship drought climb to three years