Going into the final weekend of regular season play, the 12 participating teams for next week's BIG EAST Championship Presented by Aeropostale have been determined, but not one seeding position has been decided. The top four teams in the standings earn first-round byes. Georgetown, Pittsburgh and Louisville know they will receive byes. The fourth bye will go to either Notre Dame or Syracuse.
Logjam In The Middle
While at least three of the top four "bye" teams have been determined (even though they don't know exactly what seed they are), the middle of the standings are muddled, to say the least. After Marquette at 9-6 in sixth place, four teams – West Virginia, DePaul, Providence and Villanova – are tied at 8-7. The possible outcomes are almost endless.
Another Spectacular Regular Season
The second season of the BIG EAST's 16-team alignment has been a tremendous success. Eight teams already have reached 20 wins and 12 could finish with winning records. This week, five teams are ranked in the national polls – Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Notre Dame and Marquette.
Bubble Watch – Schedule Strength Can Be Crucial
With unbalanced league schedules in almost every conference, the NCAA Basketball Committee must focus on in-conference schedule strength in evaluating teams for tournament selection. In the BIG EAST, Georgetown and Pittsburgh, the two teams tied for first place, have played the third and fourth most difficult conference schedules based on winning percentage and RPI. Villanova has faced the most difficult schedule with Marquette playing the second most challenging slate. Last year, the BIG EAST placed a record eight teams into the NCAA Championship and the league figures to be well represented again in 2007.
Tournament Preview This Weekend
Next week, the 25th BIG EAST Championship Presented by Aeropostale from Madison Square Garden in New York will be carried on ESPN. The BIG EAST continues to be the only conference tournament televised exclusively, and in its entirety, on ESPN. On Saturday, ESPN offers a preview of sorts. The network will carry three games that will have an impact on the tournament seedings. At 2 p.m. ET, Villanova hosts Syracuse at the Wachovia Center. At 4 p.m., Notre Dame will play at Rutgers. Either an Irish win or a Syracuse loss will give Notre Dame the fourth and final first-round bye over the Orange. At 9 p.m. ESPN's Gameday will be at the Pittsburgh-Marquette game from the Bradley Center in Milwaukee. Also, CBS is televising Connecticut at Georgetown at noon. Pitt and Georgetown go into the weekend tied for first place with 12-3 BIG EAST records.