Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sunday Look-Ahead

Four games of some import on the Big East sked today. Rankings-wise, the biggest appears to be No. 10 Marquette at No. 6 Louisville. And as far as quality basketball goes, this should be the best game. But Marquette has to still be reeling from the loss of Dominic James, while Louisville still has hopes of overtaking UConn for the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament.

By the way, I know Villanova's inexplicable loss yesterday clinched a top-four spot for UConn in the Big East tournament, but it did the same for Louisville too, right? The Cardinals have 13 wins, the most Nova can win is 13, and Louisville beat them head-to-head? Now, I guess if Louisville and Nova were to end up with the same record as Pitt and Marquette, the tiebreaker gets thrown into a byzantine formula that only these people seem to truly understand. But it suffices to say that, if they get a win today, the Cardinals get the first two days off at the Garden next week.

Elsewhere, West Virginia needs to be careful in Tampa and Providence CANNOT afford a slip-up on the road in Piscataway. I repeat: CANNOT. The NCAA tournament committee annually looks for reasons to keep Providence out. This week's victory over No. 1 Pitt will make that tougher, but a loss today to pitiful Rutgers would make it a lot easier. Friars MUST take care of business here to have a chance.

And then there's Cincinnati at Syracuse, which is a huge game for seeding. These teams are in a three-way tie with West Virginia for seventh place, which means at this point two of them would get next Tuesday off and one would have to play. West Virginia is in the worst position, having lost to each of the other two teams. But today's winner will earn the tiebreaker over the loser, putting them in the best position to earn a first-round bye.

Overall, it's a bigger game for Cincinnati, since Syracuse is probably getting into the NCAA tournament no matter what happens the rest of the way while the Bearcats have a case still to make. Enjoy it, folks, and Happy March. The Ohio Valley Conference tournament starts in just two days...

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