Weekly Big East Postseason Outlook

Posted by Justin Kundrat on February 27th, 2015

With just a little over a week remaining in conference play, most Big East teams have started rounding into postseason form. For Villanova, that means pushing toward an NCAA Tournament #1 seed. For others like St. John’s and Xavier, it means staying on the right side of the bubble. As we approach March, we’ll run down the status of each Big East team’s postseason prospects in this weekly look. The league appears to have six solid NCAA candidates as of today, with the remainder still clinging to the discussion for NIT bids.

Villanova (26-2, 13-2)

Jay Wright's crew is deep, balanced, experienced and poised for a long overdue tournament run. (Getty)

Jay Wright’s crew is deep, balanced, experienced and poised for a long overdue tournament run. (Getty)

  • Up Next: Saturday at Xavier
    RPI: 4 SOS: 41
  • On Track For: NCAA, No. 1 or No. 2 seed. Villanova continued its march of dominance, clinching the Big East title and running over its opponents in the process. The Wildcats have now won their last nine games and are in decent position for a top seed if any of the other contenders falter. This team is deep, balanced, experienced and poised for a long overdue NCAA Tournament run.

Butler (20-8, 10-5)

  • Up Next: Saturday at DePaul
    RPI: 25 SOS: 34
  • On Track For: NCAA, No. 4 or No. 5 seed. Just when Butler looked like it was entering a slump following its scramble at Creighton and blowout loss at Xavier, the Bulldogs snapped back into form on Wednesday night. The loss of Andrew Chrabascz (4-6 weeks) has left open holes in areas where Butler has been strong: rebounding, interior defense and inside scoring. Expect the Bulldogs to fall a few spots in seeding before Chrabascz returns, hopefully in time for the bulk of the postseason.

Providence (19-9, 9-6)

a (USA TODAY Sports)

Friars fans have nothing to be worried about; Ed Cooley has his team playing in top form. (USA TODAY Sports)

  • Up Next: Sunday vs. Marquette
    RPI: 22 SOS: 8
  • On Track For: NCAA, No. 6 or No. 7 seed. The Friars are humming along, winning when they should and losing tough games on the road to superior teams. After hanging around for 24 minutes at Villanova on Tuesday, the wheels came off in the final third of the game. This speaks more to Villanova’s talent than it does Providence’s shortcomings, especially in the absence of center Carson Desrosiers. Friars fans have nothing to be worried about; Ed Cooley has his team playing in top form down the stretch.

Georgetown (18-8, 10-5)

  • Up Next: Saturday at St. John’s
    RPI: 23 SOS: 6
  • On Track For: NCAA, No. 6 or No. 7 seed. The Hoyas swept their pair of home games against St. John’s and DePaul, although the latter was much closer than it should have been. Georgetown’s defense over their last few weeks has been tremendous and the Hoyas are essentially locked in to the NCAA Tournament field at this point. The question is whether their defense will be able to uphold the team during their frequent offensive droughts. That shortcoming could be a dagger come Tournament time.

Xavier (18-11, 8-8)

  • Up Next: Saturday vs. Villanova
    RPI: 31 SOS: 24
  • On Track For: NCAA, No. 8 or No. 9 seed. Xavier’s RPI shot up 14 places from last week following its 2-0 stretch which included a road win over crosstown rival Cincinnati and a dominant performance over Butler. Xavier handed Butler its worst loss of the season, and sophomore Myles Davis seems to have found his shooting stroke, averaging 15.0 PPG over his last two games. These wins have put Chris Mack’s team in much better position, likely needing just one more win as it rounds into a difficult portion of their schedule. Xavier’s recent loss to St. John’s helped the Johnnies more than it hurt Xavier.

St. John’s (18-8, 8-7)

  • Up Next: Saturday vs. Georgetown
    RPI: 32 SOS: 37
  • On Track For: NCAA, No. 9 or No. 10 seed. Sure, St. John’s stumbled on the road at Georgetown, managing to score just 57 points. But they made up for it with a home wins over Seton Hall and Xavier. D’Angelo Harrison seems convinced that his team will make the Big Dance, but the Johnnies would be smart to keep winning and leave nothing to chance. For now, they will likely need two of their last three to consider themselves close to a lock.

Seton Hall (15-12, 5-10)

  • Up Next: Saturday vs. Creighton
    RPI: 68 SOS: 54
  • On Track For: NIT. It’s all over for Seton Hall. Winning either of its road games at Villanova or St. John’s was unlikely, but the Sterling Gibbs elbow and ensuing suspension put the final nail in the coffin for this team. Seton Hall appears to be NIT-bound, at best, and disappointing would be an understatement in characterizing this group’s season.

DePaul (12-17, 6-10)

Oliver Purnell's Team Should Find Its Way to the NIT. (Chicago Tribune)

Oliver Purnell’s Team Was Relevant For a Short While This Season (Chicago Tribune)

  • Up Next: Saturday vs. Butler
    RPI: 158 SOS: 87
  • On Track For: NIT bubble. DePaul has now dropped their last five games and eight of their last nine, despite putting up a fight that lasted until the closing minutes at Georgetown. DePaul will now need a few wins to secure an NIT bid as they are rapidly falling out of consideration with a 12-17 record.

Marquette (11-16, 3-12)

  • Up Next: Sunday at Providence
    RPI: 138 SOS: 30
  • On Track For: NIT bubble. As with DePaul, Marquette has been on quite a slide lately, losing nine of their last 10 games. Last week the Golden Eagles lost games at Creighton and at home against Villanova, with little mercy in their upcoming schedule. Making the NIT field would be considered a major accomplishment for Wojo’s team this point.

Creighton (13-15, 4-11)

  • Up Next: Saturday at Seton Hall
    RPI: 120 SOS: 55
  • On Track For: NIT bubble. Creighton put up an impressive fight last Monday, nearly knocking off Butler before letting the game slip through the cracks. Then the Bluejays went on the road and beat DePaul. It was a promising sign for a rebuilding team and something Greg McDermott’s group can look to build on in their remaining four games of the season. The NIT is highly doubtful, but player development is plenty of reason to keep playing hard.
Justin Kundrat (175 Posts)

Villanova grad, patiently waiting another 10 years for season tickets. Follow Justin on twitter @JustinKundrat or email him at justin.kundrat@gmail.com

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