Monday, March 7, 2016

Big East conference tournament preview

This is part 20 of a 32-part series that will take a look at every conference and conference tournament in the country.  We'll recap who's playing and what the stakes are for each team in the conference.

The standings:
Villanova 16-2 (27-4)
Xavier 14-4 (26-4)
Seton Hall 12-6 (22-8)
Providence 10-8 (22-9)
Butler 10-8 (21-9)
Creighton 9-9 (18-13)
Marquette 8-10 (19-12)
Georgetown 7-11 (14-17)
DePaul 3-15 (9-21)
St John's 1-17 (8-23)

Tournament format:
C'mon, you know this.  MSG.  New York City.  Wednesday-Saturday, March 9-12.

The matchups:
1) Villanova vs. 8/9) Georgetown/DePaul
4) Providence vs. 5) Butler
2) Xavier vs. 7/10) Marquette/St John's
3) Seton Hall vs. 6) Creighton

The stakes:
Is Villanova secure on the 1 line?  I can gin up a scenario where they lose to Xavier, who jumps up along with ACC champ UNC/Virginia and B1G champ Michigan St.  Also Oklahoma can be in play.  Odds are they can hang onto their 1 seed win or lose here, but it's not 100% safe.  As for Xavier, I can see a scenario where they win it all and get a 1 seed...and win it all and get a 2 seed...or lose and get a 3 seed.  The action on the 1 line is more fluid than usual this year.  It would be beneficial for everyone is Villanova and Xavier get to the final, because it's going to be tough to miss the 1 line completely, no matter who wins that.

Rooting interests for the conference?  Probably anyone but Michigan St in the B1G, to knock that conference out of 1 line consideration.  The ideal roadmap for this conference is Kansas winning the Big 12 title, UNC or Virginia winning the ACC, and not Michigan St winning the B1G.  This leaves two spots for 1 seeds, one likely for their champion.

Seton Hall and Providence are playing for seeding.  I'll put the range for both from 6-10.

Butler.  They're not in the greatest of spots, and their non-con SoS well into the 200s is an issue.  They should prefer to beat Provi, just to lock themselves in.  But the good news is they can't absorb a bad loss.  The verdict:  a loss leaves them vulnerable to getting jumped by other teams below.  There's 8 teams between them and my cutline, but it wouldn't take much for several of those teams to jump (one quality win in a conference tournament could do it).

Creighton's a NIT bubble team, I think they might get there based on the .500 conference record.  Marquette is probably not making the NIT (much worse metrics).  Usually these teams avoid the CBI/Vegas type tournaments, but Marquette might be willing (and heck, the organizers might call up Georgetown, you never know).

No comments: