This is the final week of regular season play, and the Villanova Wildcats--like the rest of the teams in the conference--will wrap things up with a pair of Big East games. This post will be updated later to reflect the new rankings, once the polls are released this afternoon.
The rules are simple, just pick who you think will win each of the games from this week using this link. We’ll keep a cumulative score of your predictions and release them each week, whoever gets the most number of correct picks at the end of the season wins a prize! You will have until the first game tips off tonight (Marquette-Georgetown throwing things off with a Monday showdown) to get your picks in, in order for all of them to count. Any late submissions will result in the picks made for finished games or the ones in progress being forfeited, but the remaining ones after them will count. For scoring and contest purposes, your most recent answer form will be used.
It’s one point for every correct answer and whoever has the most points at the end of the regular season, wins!
Heading into the final week of the challenge, Ryan Bowman is in first. stuckin NC and Solarbear are in second and third, respectively. After that, there’s a tight race right behind them.
Here is a look at the standings:
#4 Xavier (25-4, 13-3)
#3 Villanova (25-4, 12-4)
Creighton (20-9, 9-7)
Seton Hall (20-9, 9-7)
Butler (19-10, 9-7)
Providence (18-11, 9-7)
Marquette (16-12, 7-9)
Georgetown (15-12, 5-11)
DePaul (11-17, 4-12)
St. John’s (14-15, 3-13)
Game of the Week: #3 Villanova at Seton Hall--Wednesday, Feb. 28, at 8:30 p.m. on FS1
’Nova will look avoid to lose back-to-back games yet again, as it heads to the Prudential Center for a buzzing game against the Seton Hall Pirates. The Pirates have been the thorn in Villanova’s side since conference realignment, giving the Wildcats a tough fight at least once per year. Seton Hall seems to be turning things around after dropping four-straight games to start the month, and the Pirates won’t need much inspiration for when the ‘Cats come to town. Desi Rodriguez did not play in the previous game against St. John’s, sitting out after a mild sprain injury that he received from the Slip N’ Slide at the Dunkin Donuts Center last week. There has been no update yet, but I would be shocked if he didn’t come back to play Villanova. He had a solid game against the ‘Cats, and Seton Hall would love to have him for the rematch. However, I’m here to see the Angel Delgado and Omari Spellman match up again in a battle of youth vs. experience. Last time, Spellman overwhelmed Delgado--probably surprised him a bit too--clearly winning the battle en route to a 26-point performance. Delgado would get his eventually, but couldn’t find his groove in the beginning of the game. Two very passionate centers with confidence in their games. Even if Spellman does win the matchup again, I don’t think the Wildcats--as a whole--will. Another heartbreaker for ‘Nova? My Pick: Seton Hall 87, Villanova 83
....and here’s two more to watch for:
Providence at #4 Xavier--Wednesday, Feb. 28, at 6:30 p.m. on FS1
It’s the Musketeers’ Big East Tournament one-seed and outright regular season title to lose at this point. With two seemingly winnable games on the horizon, it’s unlikely they will falter. Should they lose one of their final two games--and Villanova takes care of business by winning out--Xavier will share the regular season title with ‘Nova and the ‘Cats will spring ahead to the one-seed due to tiebreaker rules. However, outside of Villanova, the Musketeers only have one other loss and that’s from Providence. The Friars upset Xavier at home in early January. Now, they’ll look to repeat their performance on the road, as they fight for a good seeding position among a four-way tie going into this week. Kyron Cartwright is probably the most pivotal player in this game. For Providence, he’s the Friars’ facilitator and one of their top scorers. He is their most important asset as a senior point guard that’s one of the best in the country when it comes to dishing out assists. Since disappearing against Butler, he’s turned things around with two strong performances. For Xavier, it’ll look to obviously limit Cartwright. In seven of Providence’s 11 losses, he was held to under 10 points. He also was limited to under five assists. Aside from limiting Cartwright, Trevon Bluiett and J.P. Macura can’t disappear again. Bluiett was a non-factor in the second half of the Providence upset, and Macura barely did anything substantial all-game long. A Providence win would be very impressive and helpful for ‘Nova’s cause, but don’t bank on it. My Pick: Xavier 85, Providence 74.
Butler at Seton Hall--Saturday, Mar. 3, at 8 p.m. on CBS Sports Network
This is the only matchup between two of the four teams that are currently in a four-way tie for third place. Even if both teams don’t win going into this one, it can help set the stage for the Big East Tournament seeding. Seton Hall narrowly escaped their previous meeting at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Butler will have the tough task of trying to get this one on the road. The Bulldogs have been an unimpressive 3-5 in away games this season. It will also be Senior Night for the Pirates, and they’ll pay tribute to the four seniors that have played such an integral role ever since they first came in as freshmen. Kamar Baldwin is going to need to step it up against the Pirates this time around. In their previous meeting, he was turnover prone and wasn’t able to finish well. Butler is looking to close out the regular season strong, after a rough start to the month of February. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to see the Bulldogs being able to spoil the Senior Night festivities. My Pick: Seton Hall 84, Butler 78.
The schedule of other Big East games this week:
Monday, February 26
Marquette at Georgetown, at 7 p.m. on FS1
Tuesday, February 27
DePaul at Creighton, at 9 p.m. on FS1
Wednesday, Feb. 28
Butler at St. John’s, at 9 p.m. on CBS Sports Network
Saturday, March 3
#4 Xavier at DePaul, at 12 p.m. on FOX
St. John’s at Providence, at 12 p.m. on FSN
Creighton at Marquette, at 2:30 p.m. on FOX
Georgetown at #3 Villanova, at 5 p.m. on FOX
Quick Picks for the last seven games (in order as above):