Weekend Preview

Notre Dame begins the middle weekend of February as one of eight Big East teams within both 1.5 games of first and eighth-place in the conference standings. With seven pertinent games between eight contenders and a combined 10 appearances by the teams over the next 80 hours, the league's standings next Monday will likely look far different than today.

Below is a look at current Big East contenders Syracuse, Marquette, Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Louisville, Connecticut, and Cincinnati, each within a half-game to 1.5 games of both first and eighth place in the Big East standings entering weekend play:

Three-Day Weekend

Winners of six straight including a 16-point bloodletting of the Irish in South Bend, Georgetown (8-3) travels to Cincinnati (7-5) tonight to take on a Bearcats team that has lost three of its last six and recently dropped from the Top 25 of both polls.

Saturday's five-game conference slate involves four games with a contender but only one in which two will square off, as Pittsburgh (8-4) goes to the Bradley Center to take on Marquette (8-3), a 1:00 ET nationally televised game on CBS.

Notre Dame (8-4) will visit dangerous homebody Providence (5-7) for a noon tipoff (preview forthcoming) while 8-3 Syracuse, losers on Wednesday to Connecticut, travels to Seton Hall for the final time in Big East competition.

Connecticut hosts Villanova, a Wildcats team with wins vs. both Louisville and Syracuse in late January, but losses to Notre Dame, Providence, and Cincinnati, since.

Sunday: Just one game but with a conference heavyweight involved as Louisville (8-4) visits South Florida, the league's worst team. South Florida though beat Georgetown in mid-January for their only win in 11 chances, the upset marking the Hoyas most recent defeat.

Monday

Two teams that fought their way back into the race will battle at the Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh as the Panthers host Notre Dame. Both play on the road Saturday as well, part of the dreaded Saturday-Monday swing Notre Dame was scheduled for three times this season (they're currently 2-2 in those games) and the Panthers twice, sweeping Syracuse and Seton Hall over a three-day period to begin February.

Eight conference contenders involved in seven games and 10 total appearances over the next four days.

Par for the course in the ever-changing, parity-stricken Big East.

Conference Standings as of February 15

#6 Syracuse (8-3)
#18 Marquette (8-3)
#15 Georgetown (8-3)
#16 Pittsburgh (8-4)
#21 Notre Dame (8-4)
#12 Louisville (8-4)
Connecticut (7-4)
Cincinnati (7-5)
St. John's (7-6)
Villanova (6-6)
Providence (5-7)
Rutgers (4-8)
Seton Hall (2-10)
DePaul (1-10)
South Florida (1-11)


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