NCAA Tournament Chances for Each Big East Bubble Team

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistFebruary 24, 2014

St. John's Chris Obekpa (12), of Nigeria, reacts during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Creighton Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in New York.  St. John's won 70-65. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
Jason DeCrow/Associated Press

Being on the bubble to qualify for the NCAA men's basketball tournament entering the first weekend of March is something for which no college basketball team aspires. 

However, that is the case for four teams from the Big East, who are looking to join the top three teams from the conference in the field of 68 by the time Selection Sunday rolls around. 

According to Bleacher Report's bracket guru Kerry Miller's latest projections, Villanova, Creighton and Xavier are locks to make the field. 

Xavier still has a bit of work to do if it wants to improve its seeding, but unless a major disaster hits the Musketeers' season in the next three weeks, they will be playing in the Big Dance.

Villanova and Creighton have been locks to make the field of 68 since conference play began, and the only thing left for the teams to play for is seeding. 

According to Miller's most recent bracket, St. John's is the last team to make the field, while Providence is just on the edge of turning its injury and suspension ravaged season into a success. 

Georgetown is also mentioned as a long shot to make the tournament at this point, but stranger things have happened in the past. 

Marquette has not received much love from anyone as we speak, but it could still make some noise and, because of that, the Golden Eagles are included here as well. 

Below is a look at what each team needs to do to earn a coveted berth in the postseason. 


St, John's Red Storm (18-10 Overall, 8-7 Big East)

Nothing but praise should be given to Steve Lavin for turning around what looked to be a train wreck of a team in January. 

With wins in nine of its last 11 games, St. John's sit on the cusp of comfortably making the NCAA tournament. 

A win over Creighton on February 12 definitely helped the cause, but the Red Storm are still in need of another big win, despite being hot when it matters most. 

Losing to Villanova on Saturday did not help the resume of the Red Storm, but it did not destroy it either.

With a win over Xavier on Tuesday and wins over DePaul and Marquette to close out the season, Lavin and company should enter into the tournament, especially if they win a game or two at the Big East Tournament. 


Providence Friars (18-10, 8-7)

Ed Cooley has worked wonders with his Providence team this season amid a massive amount of chaos. 

AJ MAST/Associated Press

The Friars are currently one of two teams with an 8-7 conference record, and with three games remaining, they need to separate themselves from the pack. 

One thing that may kill the postseason dreams of Providence is its overtime record, which sits at 2-3. Had the Friars been able to defeat UMass and then avoid a bad loss to Seton Hall back at the end of December, they could have been a lock to participate in the madness. 

Instead, the Friars essentially face three must-win games with the end-of-season clash at Creighton being the most important one. 

Providence already has a win over the Bluejays in its pocket, but a road win would carry more weight during the selection process. 

Just like St. John's, with whom it split road victories in conference play, Providence is in need of a good showing at Madison Square Garden in a few weeks.


Georgetown Hoyas (16-11, 7-8) 

The only reason why Georgetown is being mentioned in the NCAA tournament conversation is its resume. 

The Hoyas have wins over two top-10 teams (Michigan State and VCU) as well as a quality win over Kansas State. All three wins have come on a neutral court. 

John Thompson III's team also contains the most helpful schedule remaining of the bubble teams, with Creighton at home and a trip to Villanova left in the final week of the season.

If the Hoyas can win both of those games, they could easily become a larger part of the bubble conversation. 


Marquette Golden Eagles (16-11, 8-6) 

Let's be honest here: it's been a brutal year to be a Marquette fan. 

The Golden Eagles are nowhere close to earning a spot in the NCAA tournament, but with four meaningful games ahead to close the season, they could put their name in the conversation.

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 01:  Derrick Wilson #12 of the Marquette Golden Eagles drives to the basket against Jamal Branch #0 of the St. John's Red Storm during the game at Madison Square Garden on February 1, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Nate Shron/Ge
Nate Shron/Getty Images

Marquette must face Georgetown, Villanova, Providence and St. John's in its final four Big East games, all of which carry plenty of weight, given the standing of each team in the tournament discussion. 

Winning those four games would put the Golden Eagles at 20-11 overall and 12-6 in conference, which would be a great showing in the old version of the Big East. 

Buzz Williams and company will likely have to win a few games in New York after that to clinch a spot in the field of 68, given their less than stellar resume that includes an 0-4 record against ranked opposition. 


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