Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Final Stretch of the Big East Season

The 18-game Big East season comes to a conclusion this Saturday, and who is to be league champion is a three horse race heading into the finish line.  Georgetown, Louisville and Marquette are the contenders, and this could be a race that isn’t decided until the last day of the season.

Georgetown Hoyas (13-3 / 0 games back)

Picked to finish 5th in the 2012-12 Coaches Poll

The Hoyas are the team in the driver’s seat.  They control their own destiny because they only need to win one of their two games left and the league title is theirs.  But that’s easier said than done, because of the five games remaining amongst the three teams in contention they easily have the two most difficult games.

                - At Villanova on Wednesday
                - Hosting Syracuse on Saturday

Georgetown will be getting a very desperate Wildcats team on Wednesday night who just blew a game at Pittsburgh over the weekend that would have almost assured them a spot in the NCAA Tournament.  And Nova has been known to take down some giants (Louisville and Syracuse) on their home floor this year.  Then their home clash with the Syracuse Orange, the very last time these two will face off as Big East foes in the regular season, will obviously be a heavyweight fight.  Expect a lot of emotion and physical play in this game for a lot of reasons, but a Syracuse revenge game factor being the most prominent. 

However, as already stated above - all that the Hoyas need to do is win one of these games and they are crowned Big East champions.  They currently have a half game lead over the Louisville Cardinals, but they own the tiebreaker against them as they beat them in the two teams only meeting. 

Louisville Cardinals (13-4 / .5 game back)

Unanimous selection to finish 1st in the 2012-13 Coaches Poll

It’s very difficult to say that anyone is playing better than Georgetown currently considering they have rattled off 11 straight victories, but boy are the Louisville Cardinals playing good ball these days.  If the Hoyas and Cardinals were to square off on a neutral court today (or hopefully next week for real), I’d like the Cardinals.  But that’s not the topic at hand here, and Louisville already had their shot against Georgetown earlier in the season and failed (however, the game was away). 

                - Hosting Notre Dame on Saturday

I don’t expect the Cardinals to have much trouble with the Irish this weekend, but they will need assistance from Villanova and Syracuse if they are to accomplish what all the coaches expected of them in the preseason.  

Marquette Golden Eagles (12-4 / 1 game back)

Picked to finish 7th in the 2012-13 Coaches Poll

It’s amazing the job Buzz Williams does year after year.  Marquette didn’t play much of a non-conference schedule, but when they got smoked by Florida and lost to Wisconsin Green Bay, it looked as if a 7th place finish or even worse in the Big East was likely.  Now the Golden Eagles are sitting with four losses in the conference with two games to go.

                - At Rutgers on Tuesday
                - At St. John’s on Saturday

Marquette will be favored to win both of these games, but it won’t be easy.  Of their seven losses on the season, all seven have come on the road.  So this will be a good test for this team before heading into tournament season.  The Golden Eagles are a long shot to win the league as they need Georgetown and Louisville to lose their remaining games, but they can’t be complaining too much considered where they were picked to finish in the league and how their season began.  

Changed my Twitter handle - it is now @ShaneInBigEast

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