Big East Bubble Watch: Volume II

Posted by Justin Kundrat on March 3rd, 2020

With only about a week remaining until the Big East Tournament, things only continue to get more interesting (looking at you, Providence). There’s still plenty of bubble movement to monitor, but the upper-tier teams are all but locked in. Below is Rush the Court’s second bubble evaluation of the Big East. All figures below are from


Seton Hall: 21-7 (13-3); NET: 12; SOS: 10.
Creighton: 21-7 (11-5); NET: 13; SOS: 17.
Villanova: 22-7 (11-5); NET: 17; SOS: 3.
Butler: 20-9 (8-8); NET: 20; SOS: 35.

  • Analysis: Lock city with this group. At this point, it’s difficult to see any of these four teams missing the NCAA Tournament. Villanova, Seton Hall and Creighton are shaping up to be somewhere in the #2-#4 seed range, while Butler is a #5 or #6 seed in most brackets. Sure a loss here or there will hurt seeding, but there isn’t a scenario whereby any would miss the Tournament at this point. You can thank the strength of the Big East for providing so few opportunities for Q2/Q3 losses.

Should Be In

Markus Howard Likely Has His Team Dancing Again (USA Today Images)

Marquette: 18-10 (8-8); NET: 25; SOS: 4.

  • Analysis: A late season stumble hasn’t helped Steve Wojciechowski’s group secure a spot in the Tournament, but it would take a drastic collapse at this point for the Golden Eagles to miss out. However, with two road games at DePaul and St. John’s remaining, an opportunity exists for two more damaging losses and a first round Big East Tournament exit. Even if those losses are in the Q1 or Q2 category, the damage is more in the name and signalling (see Creighton’s loss at St. John’s). One more win would put this team into lock territory and ensure a 9-9 conference record without much NET slippage. Consider me shocked if they miss the Dance.

Not Quite There

Xavier: 19-10 (8-8); NET: 43; SOS: 11. 

  • Analysis: Xavier picked up a low-key massive win at Georgetown on Sunday, thanks to a Naji Marshall go-ahead three pointer with only a few seconds remaining. The win may have oddly been their second best of the season, giving Travis Steele’s group a third Q1 victory and solidifying a worst case 19-12 regular season record. Xavier is already in most brackets at this point, generally in the #9-#10 range, which is comfortable enough to be optimistic but not enough for anyone to breathe easily. The good news is the Friars’ two remaining games (at Providence; vs. Butler) are Q1 opportunities and winning one of those games would likely ensure a bid. The bad news is that losing both would mean a 3-11 record in Q1 games, a bit of an eyesore in terms of overall analysis.

Providence: 17-12 (10-6); NET: 44; SOS: 9. 

Providence Caught Fire (USA Today Images)
  • Analysis: Wow. After being left for dead two months ago, the Friars have seen their NET creep up from #146 in December to a glowing #44 after their big win at Villanova on Saturday. Providence has plenty of bad losses to weigh down an otherwise stellar resume, but the late season surge has resurrected this team into very real bubble chatter. Per BartTorvik, the Friars have ranked eighth nationally in adjusted efficiency since the start of February, bolstered by a defense that quite simply isn’t showing any weaknesses. Like Xavier, Providence is projecting as a #10-#11 seed, but it has seven Q1 victories, a number few teams in the country can match, much less bubble teams. However, Providence’s remaining two games are at home against Xavier and DePaul, a Q2 and Q3 game, respectively. It’d be wise to win both, or at least beat DePaul, in order to avoid a fifth blemish on its record. That said, the Friars are playing as well as any team in the country right now and it would be a shame to leave them out.

On the Fringe

Georgetown: 15-14 (5-11); NET: 60; SOS: 16.

  • Analysis: Xavier’s gain was Georgetown’s loss — such is life in the Big East. With a 15-14 record and 5-11 record in conference play, the Hoyas are effectively dead. The fringe here is the slightest of fringes. Essentially, Patrick Ewing’s group will need to win at Creighton, beat Villanova and then advance to the Big East Tournament finals if it wants to sniff an at-large bid at the end of next week.
Justin Kundrat (175 Posts)

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

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