Big East Update

The race to earn a top-four seed in the Big East Conference Tournament will be an exciting one, but one that Notre Dame will not be a part of. The Irish are currently tied for 12th in the league and are running out of time to make a move into the top eight.

Just a couple of weeks ago Notre Dame was trying to earn a spot among the Big East's top four teams and allowing them to stay off the Madison Square Garden court until day three of the conference tournament. But when the current losing streak gained momentum, staying in the top eight and earning a one-day bye seemed like a reasonable goal.

Now, the Irish have to worry about whether or not they will even get a chance to wear their home whites in New York next month.

Notre Dame (12-10, 3-7) currently sits in a tie for 12th in the league with South Florida (8-14, 3-7). The Irish are just a half a game ahead of St. John's (12-11, 3-8), but still comfortably ahead of Rutgers (10-14, 1-10) and DePaul (8-16, 0-11).

A top-four spot has been out of reach for awhile now, but the Irish could conceivably make a run to get back into the top eight.

Connecticut (22-1, 10-1) hung on to its No. 1 national ranking and moved into the top spot in the conference after Marquette (20-3, 9-1) was upset by South Florida on Friday. Louisville (18-4, 9-1) also dropped its first league game last week, to Connecticut, but remain tied with the Golden Eagles for the second spot.

Pittsburgh (21-2, 8-2) has won five of its last six and remains in good position to grab a top-four seed in the league tourney. Villanova (19-4, 7-3) is right behind the Panthers and by virtue of the Wildcats' 67-57 victory in their only head-to-head matchup, Villanova would be seeded ahead of Pittsburgh if the two teams finished with the same record.

Syracuse (18-6, 6-5), Cincinnati (16-8, 6-5) and Providence (14-9, 6-5) are tied for sixth followed by West Virginia (16-7, 5-5), Seton Hall (13-9, 4-6) and Georgetown (13-9, 4-7).

The Mountaineers will get the first chance to move out of that three-way tie and help Villanova in the process when they play at Pittsburgh tonight. The Wildcats will get a chance to improve their standings themselves tomorrow when they host Marquette and then again on Friday when they play at West Virginia.

Connecticut's next test comes on Wednesday when the Huskies host Syracuse on Wednesday. The Irish will have to earn a victory if they want their losing streak to end at seven as they host Louisville on Thursday.

The weekend's top contests will come on Saturday when Georgetown plays at Syracuse and Pittsburgh hosts Cincinnati.

Notre Dame still has an outside chance at finishing with a .500 league record, but the Irish better be trying to start a two-game winning streak rather than stop an eight-game losing streak when South Florida comes to town on Sunday.


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