Happy Game Day Nova Nation! The Big East Tournament got off to a wild start with Butler upsetting Xavier in the very first game. While Xavier was on a bit of a losing streak over the past few weeks, this was always going to be a difficult game for them to win. You see, Xavier had already swept Butler in the regular season, and now they would have to beat them for a third time in the Big East Tournament.
It’s one of those old sports adages that you hear for years, “It’s always harder to beat a team for a third time in a season.” And for a conference like the Big East, it’s something that teams face a lot given the home and home format of the regular season. Villanova will face that same situation when they face St. John’s tonight.
Except, I think people hear that’s it’s harder to beat a team for a third time and jump to the conclusion that means it doesn’t happen often. And that just isn’t the case. This is the 43rd year of the Big East Tournament, and when teams enter having beaten their opponent twice in the regular season, they end up winning for a third time 64.2% of the time. That’s 97 times out of 151 attempts, and those numbers include Xavier’s loss and Seton Hall’s win from last night.
Villanova is even a bit better than the average team when it comes to the three game sweep in the BET. When having beaten a team twice in the regular season, the Wildcats have won that third matchup in the tournament 70.8% of the time. In fact, since conference realignment in 2013, Villanova wins that third game 75% of the time.
But on the opposite side of the coin, St. John’s is actually pretty good at avoiding the sweep. They’re above average, having won 40% of the time when facing an opponent that beat them twice in the regular season. That percentage has held up at 40% even after conference alignment.
And of course the big question now, what about when these two teams have faced each other in the sweep scenario? Despite these teams playing in conference together for over 40 years, we’ve only run into this scenario once before. In 2017, Villanova had swept St. John’s in the regular season... and would in fact go on to complete the three game sweep in the Big East Tournament.
As Villanova (hopefully) continues in the Big East Tournament, there are a few other sweep scenarios they could face: Seton Hall in the Semi’s, or Butler, Providence, or Marquette (reverse sweep) in the Finals. Should any of those happen, we’ll get you the updated stats!
For tonight though, throw the stats out the window and go with your gut. Who do you think will win Villanova vs St. John’s?
Who will win tonight’s Big East Tournament Quarter-Final Game?
This poll is closed
#7 St. John’s
In other news...
Villanova vs St. John’s
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Villanova Men’s Basketball
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As a former Georgetown basketball player, I have struggled to support my team over the last two decades. I played there during a time when the Big East was probably at its highest point as a…
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