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2016 NCAA Tournament: How far can each Big East team go?

How far can each of the Big East teams go in the NCAA Tournament?

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The bracket for the NCAA Tournament has finally been revealed, and it includes five teams from the Big East: Villanova, Xavier, Providence, Butler, and Seton Hall all punched their ticket to the Big Dance. Seton Hall gained a berth by winning the BIG EAST tournament, while teams like Xavier and Villanova were locks. Butler were on the bubble but snuck in as a nine seed.

Let's take a look at how far each of these teams in the BIG EAST can go considering the bracket/region they are in.


First round opponent: UNC Asheville Bulldogs

It was a good year for the Villanova Wildcats and they seemed primed for a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. But their loss to Seton Hall really hurt the Wildcats as it dropped them to a #2 seed. What makes it even worse is that they won't be playing in Philly in the Sweet 16, assuming they advance, which they probably will. UNC Asheville gave Syracuse a scare a couple of years ago, the last time the Bulldogs made it to the Big Dance.

'Nova will likely beat UNC Asheville and could possibly face Iowa or Temple in the Round of 32. They will get past either of those teams, but could face a dangerous Miami team in the Sweet Sixteen. That's where their toughest test will be. If they can get past that, they will have an Elite Eight matchup with Kansas, and anything can happen with that. The Jayhawks have been playing well, but 'Nova's experience may take over in games such as these. It will be an easy opening weekend for Villanova, but after that it will be tough for the Wildcats. Let's see if the Wildcats can show up in the tournament.

How far will they go: Final Four


First round opponent: Weber State Wildcats

Surprisingly, the Xavier Musketeers got a higher two seed over Villanova, which is weird considering they split the season series and 'Nova got farther in the Big East tournament. They get to play in St. Louis, and will take on Weber State who won the Big Sky to advance to the tournament. This isn't the same team that Damian Lillard, played on and they don't have a player like Lillard. The first round should be an easy one for Xavier.

In the next round they could either face Wisconsin or Pittsburgh, both tough matchups. X would likely prefer to play Pittsburgh as the Badgers, always find a way to win in March. This will be the matchup to watch for Xavier. If they can get past either the Badgers or Panthers, they could find themselves with a Sweet 16 matchup with West Virginia, whose press always causes a stir. The battle on the boards will be fun if WVU and Xavier matchup. A potential matchup with favorites UNC could await in the Elite Eight.

How far will they go: Elite Eight


First round opponent: USC Trojans

After finishing the regular season on a mini downward spiral, the Providence Friars find themselves in the NCAA Tournament. They struggled at the end of the year, losing crucial games to the likes of Seton Hall and crashing out in the Big East tournament. Ed Cooley's team is a nine seed, but faces a really favorable matchup against USC. Although the Pac-12 has been strong this year, the Friars have experience beating a Pac-12 team this year, when they defeated Arizona in the Wooden Legacy.

With a duo of Ben Bentil and Kris Dunn still playing and healthy, expect the Friars to be a popular "upset" pick. I don't consider a nine over eight to be an upset, but it technically counts.

After that, a matchup with UNC comes along and it brings back memories of the thrilling game they played two years ago when the Tar Heels beat Providence, 79-77m in the second round. Although the seeds are way different, this will still be a fun game to watch. If the Friars can make a huge upset, then they could face Indiana or Kentucky. This will be interesting for the Friars.

How far will they go: Round of 32


First round opponent: Texas Tech Red Raiders

The Butler Bulldogs were on the bubble, but they didn't have it burst as they got into the Tournament as a nine seed. They were inconsistent throughout the year, but all that matters is that they made the Tournament. The Bulldogs may not make a splash run like they did a few years ago, but they could make it past the first game.

They face the Texas Tech Red Raiders, who could give the Bulldogs trouble.The Big 12 had a number of teams make into the Tournament, and Texas Tech were certainly worthy of making it as well. The Red Raiders ended on a little slide but they are battle tested for sure.

If Butler is able to get past this game then they will face a very defensive Virginia team. The Bulldogs will have to shoot lights out to beat the top seeded Cavaliers and they will need huge games from all three guys. Kelan Martin, Kellen Dunham, and Roosevelt Jones will all need to step up if Butler wants to make another one of those miracle runs.

How far will they go: Round of 32

Seton Hall

First round opponent : Gonzaga Bulldogs

Life was good for the Seton Hall Pirates. They were one of the top "underdog" teams in the country this year, beating the likes of Wichita State, Xavier, and Villanova, who they beat to win the Big East tournament. Kevin Williard's team has played fantastic and many thought they would be a dangerous team in the NCAA Tournament if they got the right bracket.

They got exactly the opposite.

Seton Hall got the Gonzaga Bulldogs as their first round opponent, and that is a team they don't want to face. Although Seton Hall has the way better guards, Gonzaga will have the advantage inside and that could be the deciding factor. Controlling the boards will be important in this game and it will be tough for the Pirates.

A potential matchup against Utah, who have won nine of their last ten games. Two games against two tough western teams? Couldn't have gotten much worse for Seton Hall.  But if the Pirates get big play like they did in the Big East tournament, a Sweet 16 matchup with Michigan State is definitely in play.

How far will they go: Round of 32