In Control

IrishEyes broke down the myriad scenarios involved with the final week of the Big East's regular season and came to a single, refreshing conclusion for fans of the surging Notre Dame Basketball team: Just Win, Baby.

Georgetown Recap

Pittsburgh Game Notes

After back-to-back wins over Top 12 teams (detailed above), Notre Dame ranks eighth in the Big East standings entering the final week of the regular season. The Irish could finish as high as No. 6 or as low as No. 12 depending on the next seven days of results throughout the conference.

The Irish square off with Connecticut at the Purcell Pavilion on Wednesday before traveling to Marquette to finish the regular season on Saturday.

I Was Told There Would Be No Math

Six former and future opponents remain relevant to Notre Dame's NCAA Tournament hopes; Big East Tournament slotting, and final regular season conference standings:
  • Marquette (10-6): The Golden Eagles host Louisville on Tuesday and Notre Dame in the season-finale for both teams on Saturday. Marquette and ND have not yet played this season.
  • Georgetown (9-7): The Hoyas travel to Morgantown to face off vs. West Virginia on Monday then conclude their regular season with a home date vs. Cincinnati on Saturday. Georgetown finished 0-1 vs. ND this season.
  • Connecticut (7-9): The Huskies travel to ND Wednesday and to South Florida Saturday. UConn is currently 1-0 vs. ND this year.
  • Seton Hall (7-9): The Pirates have the softest remaining slate with visits to Rutgers on Thursday and Providence on Saturday. Seton Hall finished 1-0 vs. ND this season.
  • South Florida (7-9): A trip to punchless DePaul on Tuesday and then a home date vs. Connecticut on Saturday. South Florida finished 0-2 vs. ND this season.
  • Cincinnati (7-9): The Bearcats host Villanova on Tuesday then finish at Georgetown on Saturday. Good luck with that. Cincy and the Irish split two games this year.

Best case scenario for Irish fans (2-0): If Notre Dame wins out (2-0), Georgetown splits its games (at West Virginia and at home vs. Cincinnati) and Marquette loses twice (home vs. Louisville and to Notre Dame), Notre Dame would finish as the Big East's sixth-place team due to the head-to-head tiebreaker victories over the Hoyas and Golden Eagles (or specifically, ND would finish 2-0 vs. both programs while Marquette would be 1-1 and Georgetown 0-2 within the grouping).

If the Irish post a 1-1 record this week with a loss to Connecticut: They can finish no higher than 7th and no lower than 11th.

  • Seton Hall would earn the tiebreaker over the 1-1 Irish if the Pirates can finish 2-0 this week.
  • Connecticut would earn the tiebreaker over Notre Dame if the Huskies finish 2-0 by virtue of a season-sweep of the Irish.
  • Cincinnati is the unlikely player in the group as the Bearcats would have to upset both Villanova and Georgetown to forge a tie at 9-9 with the Irish. The team's split in their two matchups this season but the Bearcats would win the tiebreaker over the Irish due to their better winning percentage vs. repeat opponents: (Cincinnati, Connecticut, South Florida, and Notre Dame each faced off twice this season. Cincy has already secured a 4-2 mark in those games. The Irish would fall to 3-3 with this scenario's loss to the Huskies.
  • South Florida: ND defeated Stan Heath's squad twice this season and would win a 9-9 head-to-head tiebreaker scenario vs. the Bulls.
  • Georgetown: The Hoyas would finish ahead of the Irish with one win this week, but would lose a tiebreaker if they drop both contests (at West Virginia and at home vs. Cincinnati).

If the Irish post a 1-1 record this week with a win over Connecticut: They can finish as high as 7th and no lower than 9th.

  • Connecticut could not catch Notre Dame in this scenario.
  • South Florida and Cincinnati would both have to finish the season 2-0 to tie the Irish. This would cause a 3-way tiebreaker in the standings which gives the advantage to Notre Dame (3-1 vs. this group while the Bearcats finished 2-2 and the Bulls 1-3).
  • Georgetown: See above scenario.

If the Irish post an 0-2 record this week: They could plummet as far as No. 12, depending on tiebreaker scenarios.

  • With an 0-2 finish, ND would lose a tiebreaker scenario vs. Connecticut and Seton Hall due to head-to-head failures and to Cincinnati, as an 0-2 mark this week would place the Irish at 3-3 vs. teams in their pool (UConn, Cincy, and South Florida) while the Bearcats have already secured a 4-2 mark among that group.
  • ND would still have the tiebreaker over South Florida (due to two head-to-head wins).
  • The worst-case scenario for ND is an 0-2 finish coupled with a 2-0 record by the Pirates, Bearcats, and Bulls and a 1-1 finish by the Huskies. That would place the Irish at No. 12 at the conclusion of the regular season.

Or if you prefer to simplify your life: Notre Dame's only chance for major movement in the standings resides in a 2-0 or 0-2 finish this week. At 1-1, they're likely to finish in 8th or 9th place.

This Week in the Big East

Rankings courtesy the Associated Press:

  • Monday, March 1: No. 19 Georgetown at No. 10 West Virginia
  • Tuesday, March 2: St. John's at No. 1 Syracuse
  • Tuesday, March 2: No. 9 Villanova at Cincinnati
  • Tuesday, March 2: South Florida at DePaul
  • Tuesday, March 2: Louisville at Marquette
  • Wednesday, March 3: Connecticut at Notre Dame
  • Thursday, March 4: Providence at No. 17 Pittsburgh
  • Thursday, March 4: Seton Hall at Rutgers
  • Friday, March 5: St. John's at DePaul
  • Saturday, March 6: No. 1 Syracuse at Louisville
  • Saturday, March 6: No. 10 West Virginia at No. 9 Villanova
  • Saturday, March 6: Cincinnati at No. 19 Georgetown
  • Saturday, March 6: Rutgers at No. 17 Pittsburgh
  • Saturday, March 6: Connecticut at South Florida
  • Saturday, March 6: Notre Dame at Marquette
  • Saturday, March 6: Seton Hall at Providence

Game of the Week: Connecticut at Notre Dame – With apologies to No. 10 West Virginia and No. 9 Villanova, teams that matchup Saturday to determine the likely second-place finisher in the Big East Regular season standings (Pittsburgh is in the running as well), Wednesday night's contest between the Huskies and surging Irish serves as an early March Play-in Game in the eyes of the NCAA Selection Committee.

The Huskies downed the Irish 82-70 in Hartford in early January.

Upset Alerts: Connecticut at South Florida in the teams' season-finales; Louisville over No. 1 Syracuse in the Cardinals' Senior Day finale.

Current Big East Standings (as of March 1)

  1. Syracuse: 14-2 (27-2)
  2. Villanova: 12-4 (23-5)
  3. West Virginia: 11-5 (22-6)
  4. Pittsburgh: 11-5 (22-7)
  5. Marquette: 10-6 (19-9)
  6. Louisville: 10-6 (19-10)
  7. Georgetown 9-7 (19-8)
  8. Notre Dame: 8-8 (19-10)
  9. South Florida: 7-9 (17-11)
  10. Cincinnati: 7-9 (16-12)
  11. Seton Hall: 7-9 (16-11)
  12. Connecticut: 7-9 (17-12)
  13. Rutgers: 5-11 (15-14)
  14. St. John's: 5-11 (15-13)
  15. Providence: 4-12 (12-16)
  16. DePaul: 1-15 (8-20)

Looking Ahead – Navigating the Big East Tournament

The Top 4 finishers in the Big East regular season standings receive a two-day bye, and begin play on Thursday, March 11 in the tournament's quarterfinals. Teams finishing between 5-8 in the regular season standings receive a first-round bye and would begin tournament play on Wednesday, March 10, needing four wins in four days to capture the championship.

Teams finishing #9 through #16 in the standings square off on Tuesday, March 9 and would need to win five games in five days to win the crown. The four winners of each of the Tuesday games will face rested teams ranked #5 through #8 on Wednesday. The winners of those Wednesday contests will battle fully rested squads (that finished #1 thorough #4) on Thursday (Quarterfinals) with winners advancing to the Semifinals Friday and Championship Game on Saturday night. Top Stories