NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 10: Shabazz Napier #13 and Kemba Walker #15 of the Connecticut Huskies celebrate after defeating the Pittsburgh Panthers during the quarterfinals of the 2011 Big East Men's Basketball Tournament presented by American Eagle Outfitters at Madison Square Garden on March 10, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Our friend Mike Rutherford with the Card Chronicle has laid out how the Big East Tournament would play out if the regular season ended today. After last year's Connecticut run of winning five games in five days, it's a good idea to keep an eye out for how those first day games play out. It's also worth paying attention to how the race for the first four places in the Big East and a double-bye into the quarterfinals breaks down as well. Here's how Rutherford says the Tournament would be setup if it started today.
First Round, March 16#16 Providence vs. #9 Connecticut, noon, ESPN2#13 Villanova vs. #12 Pittsburgh, 2 p.m., ESPN2#10 West Virginia vs. #15 DePaul, 7 p.m., ESPN U#11 Rutgers vs. #14 St. John's, 9 p.m., ESPNUSecond Round, March 9#8 Seton Hall vs. #16/9 winner, noon, ESPN#5 South Florida vs. #13/12 winner, 2 p.m., ESPN#7 Louisville vs. #10/15 winner, 7 p.m., ESPN#6 Cincinnati vs. #11/14 winner, 9 p.m., ESPNQuarterfinals, March 10#1 Syracuse vs. #8/9/16 winner, noon, ESPN#4 Georgetown vs. #5/12/13 winner, 2 p.m., ESPN#2 Notre Dame vs. #7/10/15 winner, 7 p.m., ESPN#3 Marquette vs. #6/11/14 winner, 9 p.m., ESPNSemifinals, March 11#1/8/9/16 winner vs. #4/5/12/13 winner, 7 p.m., ESPN#2/7/10/15 winner vs. #3/6/11/14 winner, 9 p.m., ESPNFinal, March 12Semifinal winners, 9 p.m., ESPN
Obviously a lot can change between now and then, but it's still surprising to see South Florida with the #5 seed in the Big East Tournament in late February. Will that hold up? We doubt it. The top four seed are also unlikely to change very much unless Louisville wins out or wins four of its final five games and then gets help since it does not have a tiebreaker with any of the teams in front of it.
Be sure to check back to our Big East Basketball Section for updates on the conference race and NCAA Tournament bubble buzz.