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NCAA Tournament: The Big East after the first weekend

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They didn't do very well

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into the NCAA Tournament, the Big East ranked second in conference RPI, right behind the Big 12. With six of the ten conference schools getting a bid, it seemed likely that a few in the conference would get to the Sweet 16 and the Big East would finally earn some attention and, more importantly, some respect.

It did not go as planned.

After going 4-0 on the first day of the Second Round, the remaining two Big East squads lost their respective games. In the Round of 32, the conference went 1-3 with Xavier being the sole representative in the Sweet 16. Here's a recap of how all six squads performed:

(1) Villanova Wildcats

Round of 64

Villanova Wildcats 93, Lafayette Leopards 52

Round of 32

Villanova Wildcats 68, North Carolina State 71

Villanova seemed to have drained all of their shooting in the first game. After making 50% of their threes on Thursday and 63.2% of shots overall, the team dropped to 32.1% and 31.1% respectively. Daniel Ochefu along went from 5-5 to 1-7. Darrun Hilliard managed to have great performances in both games, going 6-8 on Thursday then 8-18 last night. Every Wildcat's FG% either stayed constant or dropped from Lafayette to NC State.

After outrebounding the Leopards 33 to 25, NC State dominated the boards 45-32. An improvement in the Third Round was free throw shooting; the `Cats went from 66.7 % (10-15) to 91.3% (21-23).

(4) Georgetown Hoyas

Round of 64

Georgetown Hoyas 84, Eastern Washington Eagles 74

Round of 32

Georgetown Hoyas 64, Utah Utes 75

Similar story to Villanova. G`Town looked great against EWU shooting 52.1% The Eagles ranked third in the nation in PPG at 80.8 and 19th in FG% at 48%, so the Hoyas knew they would have their hands full on defense. EWU's leading scorer Tyler Harvey finished with 27 points on 9-20 (6-12) shooting, but D`Vaunted Smith-Rivera nearly matched him with 25 points. The Hoyas' bench was too much for the Big Sky champs as they had 45 points, outscoring their starters.

The Utah game was simply that- all Utah. The Utes were on fire all over the court going 22-38 from the floor and 8-14 from beyond the arc alone. LJ Peak was 7-8 for 18 points, but the Georgetown bench disappeared. Mikael Hopkins had a bucket and that was all the bench could produce. Four of the five Utah starters finished in double digits.

(6) Butler Bulldogs

Round of 64

Butler Bulldogs 56, Texas Longhorns 48

Round of 32

Butler Bulldogs 64, Notre Dame Fighting Irish 67 (OT)

Do you see a pattern of something disappearing from the Round of 64 to 32? This time it was Kellen Dunham. Against Texas he had 20 points on 5-14 shooting, but went 8-11 from the free throw line. While he fell to 8 points on 2-13 against the ACC Champions, Roosevelt Jones picked up the slack by improving from 6 points to 23 points. The key was team field goal percentage. In both outing the Bulldogs only converted on 33.3% on their shots. Notre Dame was much more efficient from the field at 43.1%, so Butler could not hold off the Fighting Irish into OT.

(6) Providence Friars

Round of 64

Providence Friars 53, Dayton Flyers 66

A lot of credit is due to this game being played in Dayton's home town of Columbus, OH. The road atmosphere, the possibility of an upset, and Dayton already "hosting" in a play-in game meant Providence had an uphill battle from the start. Kris Dunn committed two fouls in the first three minutes so he spent some time early on on the bench. Carson Desrosiers did not attempt a free goal nor a free throw. LaDontae Henton attempted 13 three pointers. When PC tried to make a run at the end, head coach Ed Cooley slammed a chair on the ground during a timeout and was given a technical for the action. This killed any momentum the Friars had on their side.

(9) St. John's Red Storm

Round of 64

St. John's Red Storm 64, San Diego State Aztecs 76

Credit this loss to Chris Obekpa.

Without their leading shot blocker Villanova routed the Johnnies 105-68, so many knew that SJU's road would be short after the announcement. The teams shot comparatively from the floor, but St. John's 3P% was 17.6% (3-17). SDSU outrebounded them 40-32 and 13-7 on the offensive glass. Maybe Obekpa would not have altered the outcome, but you have to wonder.

(6) Xavier Musketeers

Round of 64

Xavier Musketeers 76, Ole Miss Rebels 57

Round of 32

Xavier Musketeers 75, Georgia State Panthers 67

Sweet 16

Xavier Musketeers vs. Arizona Wildcats

Matt Stainbrook came alive against the SEC foe. After having some quiet offensive performances throughout the Big East Tournament, he finished with 20 points on 8-10 shooting with 9 rebounds. James Farr added 13 boards but just 6 points. Ole Miss struggled on offense going 6-27 from three point land. They outnumbered Xavier on the offensive glass, but could not get enough second chance points to stay with the Musketeers.

The possible Cinderella story was put to an end in the Round of 32. Ron Hunter's team shot 56.5% from three with his son R.J. Hunter leading the team with 20 points. The Panthers had 8 steals and seemed like they could possibly be this year's feel-good story after Hunter tore his achilles in the Sun Belt Championship game. But no. Georgia State had 12 rebounds all game. While shooting over 50% is impressive, Xavier matched them with 67.6% FG%, 53.8% 3P% and 88% FT%. Everything was clicking for the Musketeers, and they now have a date with the Arizona Wildcats. Xavier is the Big East's only hope.