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Big East Championship Countdown: Feb. 14

The magic number is down to 5

NCAA Basketball: Providence at Villanova Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It’s mid-February, and that means it’s time to start honing in on the Big East Title race, and subsequently the Big East Tournament seeding. The Big East is far from decuded, although it does seem to be just a two horse race. But the seeding is clearly up in the air, as the 3-10 seeds are still all within two games of each other.

Big East Regular Season Championship

Villanova’s victory over Providence last night eliminated the Friars from the Big East Championship race. Xavier had been eliminated with Marquette’s win the night before, and they in turn knocked out Creighton on Wednesday as well. But let’s be honest, those three never really had a shot at coming back for the title anyway.

The big takeaway from the last two days of Big East play is that Villanova’s “magic number” is down to 5. That’s the number of Villanova wins or next best record opponent losses needed for the Wildcats to win at least a share of the Big East title. That means if Villanova and Marquette each win their games over the next two weeks, the Wildcats could clinch a share of the Regular Season Championship by beating Marquette when they play at Villanova on 2/27.

Elimination Games

Depending on how things fall this weekend, we could officially be down to Villanova and Marquette by next week. Here’s how it could all shake out:

  • DePaul and Butler kick off our Championship relevant action on Saturday night. Loser is out, winner stays in at least one more day. If Villanova wins on Sunday, then they’re both eliminated.
  • Seton Hall can guarantee they stay in the running with a win at Creighton on Sunday. But if they should lose, they’ll be in danger of elimination when Nova plays later that day.
  • St. John’s is the team everyone else is counting on as they host the Wildcats on Sunday. Win and they still have a long shot at the title, lose and they’re done.
  • Georgetown doesn’t even have a game this weekend. But if Villanova beats St. John’s, then the Hoyas are out of the running too.

So to recap, if Villanova wins and Seton Hall loses, then the Wildcats and Marquette will officially be the only two teams eligible for the Big East Regular Season Championship.

Big East Tournament

For those teams that aren’t in the title race, they still have a shot in the Big East Tournament. As we’ve seen in the past, any team is capable of running the table and earning a spot in the NCAA tournament regardless of their record. With that in mind, here’s what the current seeding for the BET would look like:

First Day: Wednesday, March 13th

  • #7 DePaul vs #10 Xavier
  • #8 Creighton vs #9 Providence

Quarter-Finals: Thursday, March 14th

  • #1 Villanova vs #8Creighton/#9 Providence
  • #4 St. John’s vs #5 Butler
  • #2 Marquette vs #7 DePaul/#10 Xavier
  • #3 Seton Hall vs #6 Georgetown

Seeding changes fast in the Big East these days. While the top 2 and bottom 3 all remained the same, the middle 5 all got jumbled about. Now St. John’s would be Villanova’s projected Semi-Final opponent at MSG. As we mentioned, that just so happens to be the matchup this weekend in NYC.