ND Week in Review: The Irish entered the week at 4-5 on the heels of a two-game road losing streak including the inexcusable loss at previously 0-8 Rutgers. Not surprisingly, the home court provided relief and a 2-0 mark which moved the Irish into 7th place in the Big East with seven games (three home) remaining.
The Irish are technically one game out of 4th place in the congested Big East middle and face each of the three teams one game ahead of them in the standings – Louisville, Georgetown, and Pittsburgh – as well as the team with which they're currently tied – Marquette – in the season-finale.
More importantly, Notre Dame defeated two peer teams in Cincinnati (season split) and South Florida (season sweep). It's unlikely either team would be chosen over the Irish on Selection Sunday should they finish with like records.
Conference MatchupsCollege basketball's latest rankings will be available Monday afternoon. Expect Syracuse to move up to No. 2 overall and for Villanova to fall from that lofty perch but remain among the nation's top 7-8. Winners of six straight, West Virginia will likely debut at No. 5 though the Mountaineers play host to Villanova on ESPN's Big Monday tonight. Georgetown bounced back from a home loss to South Florida with a home court victory over Villanova on Saturday. The Hoyas should remain among the nation's top 6-7 as well.
Pittsburgh could cling to a spot in the Top 25 after a blowout loss at West Virginia and home win vs. Seton Hall.
- Monday February 8: No. 2 Villanova at No. 6 West Virginia
- Monday, February 8: Robert Morris at No. 21 Pittsburgh (non-conference matchup)
- Tuesday February 9: No. 8 Georgetown at Providence
- Tuesday, February 9: Caldwell at Rutgers (non-conference matchup)
- Wednesday, February 10: Connecticut at No. 3 Syracuse
- Thursday, February 11: Notre Dame at Seton Hall
- Thursday, February 11: Louisville at St. John's
- Friday, February 12: No. 6 West Virginia at No. 21 Pittsburgh
- Saturday, February 13: Providence at No. 2 Villanova
- Saturday, February 13: Cincinnati at Connecticut
- Saturday, February 13: South Florida at Marquette
- Sunday, February 14: St. John's at Notre Dame
- Sunday, February 14: Louisville at No. 4 Syracuse
- Sunday, February 14: No. 8 Georgetown at Rutgers
- Sunday, February 14: DePaul at Seton Hall
Relevant Game to Monitor for Irish fans: Louisville at Syracuse. A loss by the Cardinals would keep them within a half-game of Notre Dame in the standings (assuming a 1-1 record this week for both), setting up a huge battle between Notre Dame and Louisville at Freedom Hall on February 17.
Game of the Week: Monday: Villanova at West Virginia – A win by Villanova would give the Wildcats a two-game edge over the Mountaineers in the race for the league's No. 2 spot. The teams will rematch in Philadelphia in the season-finale for both.
Team on the Brink: Connecticut – Last week's "Team on the Brink" remains teetering on the edge. Following a 1-1 record last week (a loss at Louisville and the requisite win vs. DePaul) the Huskies will need five wins in their final eight games to reach a .500 conference mark and likely selection (given the program's pedigree) to the Field of 64.
UConn must travel to Syracuse before entertaining a physical Cincinnati team on Saturday. Cincinnati upset Connecticut in the conference opener in late December.
Upset Alert: Georgetown at Providence
Current Big East Standings (as of February 8)
- Syracuse: 10-1 (23-1)
- Villanova: 9-1 (20-2)
- West Virginia: 8-2 (19-3)
- Georgetown 7-4 (17-5)
- Pittsburgh: 7-4 (16-5)
- Louisville: 6-4 (15-8)
- Notre Dame: 6-5 (17-7)
- Marquette: 6-5 (15-8)
- South Florida: 5-6 (15-8)
- Cincinnati: 5-6 (14-9)
- Connecticut: 4-6 (14-9)
- Providence: 4-7 (12-11)
- Seton Hall: 3-7 (12-9)
- St. John's: 2-8 (12-10)
- Rutgers: 2-9 (11-12)
- DePaul: 1-10 (8-15)