Big East Basketball: The Most Likely Postseason Result for Every Team

Tyler DonohueNational Recruiting AnalystFebruary 17, 2013

Big East Basketball: The Most Likely Postseason Result for Every Team

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    The Big East postseason picture is an evolving and unpredictable situation. No squad seized control of the conference early and 10 teams remain within two games of first place. 

    Regardless of how things turn out in the upcoming Big East postseason tournament, several conference members will move on to the NCAA Tournament and others are headed for the NIT (National Invitation Tournament) or CBI (College Basketball Invitational). 

    With three weeks remaining in the regular season, let's take a look at the potential postseason fate for all 15 Big East programs. 

Cincinnati

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    Current Situation: 19-7, 7-6 in conference, tied for eighth in Big East

    The Bearcats have won at least one NCAA Tournament game in each of the past two seasons, but Cincinnati needs to make strides in conference play in order to qualify for the Big Dance this March.

    The team has dropped three of four games, including two of its last three at home.

    Postseason Prediction: Cincinnati lands on the seesaw when it comes to NCAA tourney inclusion. The Bearcats land a No. 10 seed in the tournament, narrowly avoiding its first trip to the NIT since 2010. Cincy drops its opener.

Connecticut

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    Current Situation: 17-7, 7-5 in conference, seventh in Big East

    UConn continues to improve under first-year head coach Kevin Ollie. The Huskies recent success is highlighted by a victory over sixth-ranked Syracuse in the rivals' final matchup as conference foes.

    Postseason Prediction: Connecticut will not win a game after the regular season. This is the only prediction I know I'll get right because the Huskies are serving a postseason ban due to substandard academics.

DePaul

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    Current Situation: 11-14, 2-10 in conference, 13th in Big East

    DePaul picked up a rare conference win when it topped Rutgers Saturday afternoon. The Blue Demons remain a major project and it's been another disappointing season for the program.

    Postseason Prediction: Oliver Purnell will drop to 0-for-3 in the postseason appearance department as head coach of DePaul. Before he took over the Blue Demons, Purnell led Clemson to three consecutive NCAA Tournaments.

Georgetown

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    Current Situation: 19-4, 9-3 in conference, tied for first in Big East

    The Hoyas have overwhelmed opponents with a strong defensive swarm. Georgetown has won seven consecutive games to claim a share of the top spot in Big East standings.

    Postseason Prediction: Georgetown secures one of the top four seeds in conference tournament action. After sitting out of the first two rounds, the Hoyas win a quarterfinal matchup but fall in conference semifinals.

    John Thompson's team reaches the NCAA Tournament for the seventh time in his nine year tenure, securing a No. 4 seed. Georgetown advances to the Sweet 16 for third time under Thompson.

Louisville

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    Current Situation: 20-4, 8-4 in conference, second in Big East

    The Cardinals entered the season surrounded by accolades and were tabbed as the unanimous choice to finish first in the preseason Big East Coaches' Poll.

    Louisville was the top-ranked team in the country at one point this season, but has struggled with consistency and doubts have been raised.

    The team is 5-3 on the road and it's been hard to rely on enigmatic star Russ Smith.

    Postseason Prediction: The Cardinals catch fire in conference tourney, playing like a national title contender in spurts. But the lack of consistency costs Louisville in Big East title game, which it loses to Syracuse.

    Rick Pitino reaches the NCAA Tournament for the 17th time in his career as the Cardinals claim a No. 3 seed. After leading Louisville to the Final Four in 2012, his squad suffers the same fate of the 2010 and 2011 Cardinals by losing in the first round.

Marquette

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    Current Situation: 18-6, 9-3 in conference, tied for first in Big East

    The Golden Eagles continue to grow from surprise team to title contender. Marquette remains unbeaten on its home court (14-0) despite hosting some of the Big East's best.

    Postseason Prediction: Marquette stumbles a bit down the final regular season stretch, suffering an upset loss. The Golden Eagles pick up a conference tourney victory after a first-round bye, but are eliminated in the conference quarterfinals.

    Coach Buzz Williams extends his NCAA Tournament streak to five straight seasons. Marquette, a No. 7 seed, is bounced in the second round, falling short of its recent track record (back-to-back Sweet Sixteen visits).

Notre Dame

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    Current Situation: 20-6, 8-5 in conference, tied for third in Big East

    Led by Big East Player of the Year candidate Jack Cooley, the Fighting Irish are a fun team to watch on the offensive end. Notre Dame can find scoring from across its roster, but remains a shaky defensive group.

    Playoff Prediction: The Irish reach conference semifinals. Mike Brey takes Notre Dame to the NCAA Tournament for the ninth time in 12 seasons, but the team once again fails to last long.

    Notre Dame, a No. 5 seed, is knocked off in the second round. It's a fate the Fighting Irish have suffered in four of Brey's previous appearances.

Pittsburgh

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    Current Situation: 20-6, 8-5 in conference, tied for third in Big East

    Emerging freshman center Steven Adams has added a new dimension to these veteran-laden Panthers. Pittsburgh lacks a true go-to guy but plays with patience and a dedicated approach on defense.

    Postseason Prediction: Pittsburgh falls early in the Big East tournament but bounces back for an impressive NCAA run.

    After winning a CBI title in 2012, the Panthers earn a No. 8 seed and reach the Sweet 16 led by Adams. 

Providence

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    Current Situation: 14-11, 6-7 in conference, 11th in Big East

    The Friars failed to establish themselves early in the winter but have come on strong lately. Providence has collected four consecutive victories and could be a dark horse candidate in March.

    Postseason Prediction: After beating final seed South Florida in the first round of Big East Tournament play, Providence pulls off an upset before losing in quarterfinal action.

    The Friars make first postseason appearance under head coach Ed Cooley and reach the second round of CBI tournament.

Rutgers

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    Current Situation: 13-11, 4-9 in conference, 12th in Big East

    Things have recently gone from bad to worse for Rutgers. Hours after the Scarlet Knights suffered a loss to lowly DePaul on Saturday, the team announced leading scorer Eli Carter is out for the season with a leg injury.

    Postseason Prediction: After losing in the opening round of Big East tournament, Rutgers postseason drought reaches seven seasons. The Scarlet Knights squander a 9-2 start to the season.

St. John's

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    Current Situation: 15-10, 7-6 in conference, tied for 10th in the Big East

    The Red Storm are right in the middle of a cluster of teams currently "on the bubble" for an NCAA Tournament berth. St. John's needs a strong finish in conference play to qualify.

    Playoff Prediction: St. John's is upset in its Big East tourney opener and settles for an NIT appearance. The Red Storm advance to the tournament semifinals.

Seton Hall

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    Current Situation: 13-13, 2-11 in conference, 14th in Big East

    Seton Hall's season is in total free fall right now. The Pirates have suffered seven straight defeats and don't seem capable of playing a complete game of quality basketball against conference opponents.

    Postseason Prediction: The Pirates fall in Big East Tournament opener and miss postseason one year after an NIT appearance.

South Florida

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    Current Situation: 10-14, 1-11 in conference, last in Big East

    Coach Stan Heath led USF on an exciting 2012 NCAA Tournament run (the first in school history), but things have turned out much differently this season. South Florida has slumped all the way to last place in Big East standings and the program is once again at crossroads. 

    Postseason Prediction: Bulls are bounced in first round of conference tournament. USF finally closes the chapter on a disastrous season.

Syracuse

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    Current Situation: 21-4, 9-3 in conference, tied for first in Big East

    Syracuse has the conference's deepest rotation and is up to its old tricks on defense (the 2-3 zone has wreaked havoc lately). Michael Carter-Williams is a superstar point guard who appears to be peaking at the perfect time. 

    Postseason Prediction: Syracuse surges in the Big East Tournament. The Orange overcome Louisville in championship round to give Jim Boeheim his sixth Big East Tournament title.

    The team earns a No. 2 seed in NCAA Tournament and reels off an impressive series of wins. Syracuse eventually falls in the Final Four, its deepest run since 2003 National Championship victory.

Villanova

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    Current Situation: 16-10, 7-6 in conference, tied for 10th in Big East

    Villanova has proven it's capable of beating the nation's elite (Louisville and Syracuse) but also inconsistent enough to lose a pair of games to Providence. The Wildcats, coming off a disappointing 2011-2012 campaign, are too shaky to trust in March.

    Postseason Prediction: The Wildcats earn a first-round bye in Big East Tournament but are upset in opening contest, crippling the team's NCAA Tournament aspirations.

    Villanova, which once made seven straight NCAA tourney appearances under coach Jay Wright (2005-11) is left out for the second consecutive season.

    Villanova is selected to compete in NIT and loses in opening round.