Rob Dauster of Ballin Is a Habit is the RTC correspondent for the Big East Conference.
Barring an improbable collapse or an unforeseen run through Madison Square Garden, there are just six Big East teams that are still sitting somewhere on the bubble.
Syracuse, Villanova, Pitt, Georgetown, and West Virginia are all playing for seeding and a double-bye in the Big East Tournament. South Florida, Providence, Rutgers, DePaul, and St. John’s are all playing for pride and, well, pride.
That leaves the six teams sitting in the middle of the league — Marquette, Louisville, UConn, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, and Seton Hall — with a shot at dancing. Commencing Big East Bubble Breakdown.
- 18-9, 9-6; RPI: 54, SOS: 65
- vs. RPI top 25/50/100: 2-6, 3-7, 6-7
- Best Wins: Xavier, Georgetown
- Worst Losses: DePaul
- 18-10, 9-6; RPI: 42, SOS: 9
- vs. RPI top 25/50/100: 1-5, 2-6, 6-9
- Best Wins: UConn, Syracuse
- Worst Losses: Western Carolina, St. John’s
- 17-11, 7-8; RPI: 40, SOS: 2
- vs. RPI top 25/50/100: 3-5, 3-6, 9-9
- Best Wins: Texas, Villanova, West Virginia
- Worst Losses: Providence, Michigan
- 16-11, 7-8; RPI: 59, SOS: 29
- vs. RPI top 25/50/100: 1-3, 4-6, 6-11
- Best Wins: Maryland, Vanderbilt, UConn X 2
- Worst Losses: St. John’s
- 16-10, 7-8; RPI: 52, SOS: 18
- vs. RPI top 25/50/100: 1-7, 3-9, 6-10
- Best Wins: Cornell, Pitt
- Worst Losses: South Florida
- 18-10, 7-8; RPI: 72, SOS: 63
- vs. RPI top 25/50/100: 1-7, 3-9, 6-10
- Best Wins: West Virginia, Pitt
- Worst Losses: Loyola Marymount, Northwestern, Rutgers
Call me crazy, but is Notre Dame playing better basketball without Luke Harangody? Since the all-american went out with a knee injury against Seton Hall, ND has looked downright scary at times. They lost to Louisville on the road in double overtime most recently they just put a whooping on Pitt at home. Without ‘Gody on the floor, ND seems to play better defense and move the ball better. The rest of the team also seems to be a bit more aggressive, knowing that they don’t have to get the big fella touches. In the three games ‘Gody has been out, Tim Abromaitis has up his average to 23.3 PPG in the last three. Ben Hansbrough is averaging 16.3 PPG. Tory Jackson is averaging 13.7 PPG, and scored 25 the night ‘Gody was hurt. Clearly, Notre Dame is a better basketball team with Luke on the floor, and they are going to need him if the Irish are to navigate a difficult stretch run — at Georgetown, UConn, at Marquette. With the losses ND has this season, they probably needed to sweep those three games and pick up at least one win in the Big East tournament for a shot at an at-large.
PLAYER AND TEAM OF THE WEEK: Kemba Walker and the Connecticut Huskies
Since we last checked in with you guys, UConn has gone on a tear. The Huskies have been left for dead a number of times this season, but I think that even the most diehard UConn fans at given up hope after an embarrassing loss to Cincinnati at home. Its one thing to lose at home, its another thing to get upset at home. But to lose the way UConn did was a downright disgrace. They didn’t play with any heart or emotion and showed no energy on either end of the floor. Should I even mention that it was Calhoun’s first game back from an illness? The performance was bad enough that just about everyone at the game questioned whether or not Calhoun had lost this team.
With Villanova looming on the horizon, most had written off the season. But at Villanova, the Huskies — and specifically Kemba Walker — woke up. Walker went for 29 points and a team-high nine boards to lead UConn to an upset win. Five days later, UConn went to Piscataway and knocked off Rutgers. And just this past Monday, the Huskies held off a tough West Virginia team down the stretch, running their winning streak to three games and giving UConn fans a real reason to hope for the postseason this year.
In the three wins, Walker averaged 22.0 PPG, shot 7-15 from three, and got to the line an incredible 36 times. He’s turning into a leader for the Huskies, something they have been waiting for all season long.
The Final Four Contenders
1. Syracuse (26-2, 13-2)
2. Villanova (23-4, 12-3)
The Sweet 16 Contenders
3. West Virginia (21-6, 10-5)
4. Pitt (21-7, 10-5)
5. Georgetown (19-7, 9-6)
6. Marquette (18-9, 9-6)
7. Louisville (18-10, 9-6)
8. Connecticut (17-11, 7-8)
9. Seton Hall (16-10, 7-8)
10. Cincinnati (16-11, 7-8)
11. Notre Dame (18-10, 7-8)
The Deep Sleepers
12. South Florida (16-11, 6-9)
13. St. John’s (15-12, 5-10)
14. Providence (12-15, 4-11)
15. Rutgers (14-14, 4-11)
16. DePaul (8-19, 1-14)