With the Big East Tournament beginning yesterday, there are still a few big east teams that are on the NCAA Tournament bubble. South Florida finished the season with a Big East record of 12-6 and an overall record of 19-12. The Bulls have many things working in their favor as they enter the Big East Tournament. Their strength of schedule is 29th in the NCAA and their current RPI is 44. Their home loss to West Virginia on Saturday may prove to be a big one being it was their 9th loss to an RPI top 50 school. With their 1-9 record against the RPI top 50 this season the Bulls will most likely need a somewhat deep run in the Big East Tournament to prove to the selection committee that they are worthy of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. After VCU’s potential bid steal Monday night in the CAA Championship, Joe Lunardi has the Bulls ranked as one of the thirteen teams fighting for 24 bubble spots on his S-Curve of potential tournament teams. This ranking could change barring an early exit from the Big East Tournament or other stolen bids from mid major schools.
The Pirates of Seton Hall are another Big East team that will most likely have their fate decided by the selection committee on Selection Sunday. Seton Hall finished the season with an 8-10 record in the Big East and a 19-11 record overall. Coming off of their big overtime win against Georgetown, with a record of 19-9 and two sub five hundred opponents in Rutgers and DePaul left on the schedule, the Pirates looked to be a lock for an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament. However, after losing to Rutgers 77-72 in overtime and getting manhandled by DePaul 86-58, they find themselves back in the bubble talk. With an RPI of 56 and strength of schedule of 58 the Pirates will most likely need to wins a couple games in the Big East Tournament. However, big conference wins against Connecticut, West Virginia, and Georgetown will certainly help their chances of making the tournament. Currently, Joe Lunardi has Seton Hall as one of his last four teams into the field who will play March 13 and 14 in the opening rounds in Dayton, Ohio. The Pirates took a step in the right direction with their convincing 79-47 win over Providence in the first round of the Big East Tournament last night.
The third major bubble team from the Big East Conference is the Connecticut Huskies. The Huskies started the year ranked number 4 in the nation and with the talent that they possess on both sides of the ball they have truly underperformed. The Huskies finished with a record of 8-10 in the Big East and 18-12 overall. The Huskies have some work to do in the Big East Tournament to strengthen their resume for the selection committee. They are on the right track with a big win against the Pittsburgh Panthers on Saturday and an easy victory over DePaul in the first round of the Big East Tournament. Other things that strengthen UConn’s tournament chances are their RPI rank of 33 and there Strength of Schedule rank of number 1 in the country. The Huskies will play West Virginia at noon today in the second round of the Big East Tournament, and a win in this game should pretty much lock up an at-large bid.
According to Joe Lunardi, there are currently six Big East teams that are locks to make the tournament. These teams include Syracuse, Marquette, Georgetown, Louisville, Notre Dame, and Cincinnati. West Virginia is not a lock in Lunardi’s mind, but he also does not feel that they are a bubble team, being ranked 39th on the S-Curve of potential tournament teams
-Guest Writer – Matt Frags