As it now stands, there are 11 Big East teams that have a strong case to be included in the final March Madness field. However, some teams still have work left to do.
This article looks at the eight teams with the best chance of making the NCAA Tournament from the Big East. The strengths of each team are investigated.
As of now, these are the standout characteristics of the eight best teams in the Big East.
The Pitt Panthers have been a force on the glass for years, and this squad is no exception. Pitt leads the Big East in offensive rebounds per game and total rebounds per game. They are second to Notre Dame in defensive rebounding by 0.1 defensive rebounds per game.
Center Gary McGhee leads the way with eight rebounds per game, but the entire team contributes. Every starter, except for point guard Ashton Gibbs, averages more than four rebounds per game. Backup forward Dante Taylor contributes 4.6 rebounds per game, while only playing 15 minutes per game.
Notre Dame excels from beyond the arc, within the arc and from the free-throw line. They are unstoppable from anywhere on the court.
In terms of raw percentages, the Irish rank fifth in the Big East in two-point field goal percentage, third in free throw percentage and third in three-point field goal percentage.
The Irish are extremely efficient with their shot selection. When Notre Dame shoots, they score 1.41 points, on average. This leads the Big East in points per shot.
Georgetown does not have the well-rounded offensive attack that Notre Dame has; however, they are the best when it comes to scoring two-point field goals.
The only player on the Hoyas' roster that shoots less than 50 percent from the field is Markel Starks, who has only taken 20 two-point shots all season. Their leading shot taker, Austin Freeman, shoots 59.3% from the field.
Georgetown ranks first in the Big East in two-point field goal percentage. They are shooting 56.7 percent from inside the arc while the closest team, Louisville, is shooting only 52.7 percent.
The Cardinals are the best in the Big East at taking the ball from the other team. They lead the Big East in steals, with 9.52 per game.
In addition, Louisville steals the ball without committing many fouls in the process. The Cardinals are ranked second in the Big East with 0.56 steals for every personal foul.
The best pickpockets on the team are guards Peyton Siva and Preston Knowles. They average 2.2 and 1.9 steals per game, respectively.
The Wildcats are not a team that opponents want to be trading free throws with at the end of a close game. Villanova has shot a Big East best 77.4 percent from the line this season. Also, they have made more free throws than any other team in the conference.
The players most likely to get to the line for Villanova are Corey Fisher and Maalik Wayns. They shoot 77.9 percent and 82.2 percent, respectively. Corey Stokes, another starter, has taken 77 free throws this season and missed only five (93.5 percent).
Most teams have a weak link who other teams try to foul. Typically, this is the big man. With Villanova, it remains true that the center shoots the worst, but even he still makes free throws at a rate of 67.3 percent.
Bizarrely, the Mountaineers are not a strong defensive-rebounding team, but they are an excellent offensive-rebounding team.
West Virginia ranks third in the Big East for offensive rebounding, only 0.4 offensive rebounds per game behind the leader. However, they only grab 22.9 defensive rebounds, good for 12th in the conference.
Overall, West Virginia ranks fifth in the Big East for total rebounds per game.
While all of the Big East teams must endure a grueling conference schedule, the Huskies chose to play tough teams throughout their non-conference schedule. This strategy resulted in several hard-fought, quality wins.
Included amongst the non-conference competition for UConn was Texas, Kentucky, Wichita State, Michigan State, Harvard and Vermont. The Huskies won all of them.
With Texas, Wichita State and Michigan State, Connecticut had to battle it out until the end. All of these games were decided by less than five points. The Texas game went to overtime before Connecticut finally finished them off.
The experience of playing, and beating, all of these quality teams, including several close games, should have UConn prepared for March Madness.
The Orange, and most notably Rick Jackson, are a tremendous shot-blocking team. Syracuse ranks second in the Big East with 6.46 blocks per game.
As mentioned, Jackson leads the team in blocks. The 6'9" big man rejects 2.3 shots per game. In only 16.6 minutes per game, the 6'10" freshman Baye Moussa Keita has blocked 1.3 shots per game.
With six players over 6'6" who regularly appear in games, it is no wonder that the Orange are such prolific shot blockers.