A Look At The Big East Bubble
By Dan Hoard on February 15, 2010

Interesting weekend in the Big East huh?

Cincinnati's win at UConn would probably be ranked 4th on a list of biggest upsets.

In case you missed it on Sunday:

St. John's won at Notre Dame - perhaps not that big a shock considering that the Irish did not have Luke Harangody (who is out with a bruised knee). Still, it drops Notre Dame behind UC in the Big East standings at 6-7 with tough road games remaining at Louisville, Georgetown, and Marquette. Hard to imagine the Irish doing better than 8-10 in league play.

Louisville beat #2 Syracuse in the Carrier Dome (3 days after the Cardinals lost by 19 at St. John's). Rick Pitino has now topped his former boss Jim Boeheim in 8 of their last 9 meetings. Enormous win for the Cards NCAA prospects.

Rutgers beat #7 Georgetown for the Scarlet Knights first win over a Top 10 team in seven years. Rutgers won despite going 7 minutes without a field goal in the second half.

Selection Sunday is four weeks away. Here's the way I see it:

5 Big East teams are locks: Syracuse, Villanova, West Virginia, Georgetown, and Pitt.

Louisville appears to be in good shape at 7-5 (including a win at Syracuse) with home games left against Notre Dame, Georgetown, and Syracuse and road games at DePaul, Marquette, and UConn. The Cardinals should win at least 3 of those games to get to 10-8 (or better) in league play.

That leaves 6 Big East Bubble schools battling for one or two more spots: Cincinnati, Marquette, USF, Seton Hall, Notre Dame and UConn.

Let's start with the premise that a team would need to finish at least 9-9 in the Big East to have a shot at an at-large bid.

UConn is barely alive with a 4-8 record in league play and Notre Dame is a long-shot for the reasons I listed earlier.

Seton Hall is 5-7, but only has 2 games left against teams with winning league records.

Home: Rutgers, Marquette

Road: St. John's, West Virginia, Rutgers, Providence

USF is also 5-7, but has 4 home games remaining and only 1 game left against a team with a winning league record.

Home: Cincinnati, St. John's, Providence, UConn

Road: Villanova, DePaul

Marquette is at 7-5 (thanks in part to playing DePaul and Providence twice) with three straight road games beginning on Sunday at Fifth Third Arena.

Home: Pitt, Louisville, Notre Dame

Away: Cincinnati, St. John's, Seton Hall

Which leaves Cincinnati at 6-6 in the Big East with a tough remaining schedule that includes four teams with winning league records.

Home: Marquette, DePaul, Villanova

Away: USF, West Virginia, Georgetown

Let's face it, the next two games are HUGE for the 'Cats since USF and Marquette are two of the teams that appear most likely to finish with at least 9 Big East wins. The Bearcats can enhance their chances while dealing both of those schools a head-to-head blow if they can win.

It's going to be a big week. Let's hope they can build on the great defensive effort at UConn.