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Who will win Big East?

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After the UConn-Louisville game last night, the lone unbeaten in the conference is Marquette.  However, most teams are not even halfway through the Big East schedule, and obviously, a lot is yet to be determined.  Although teams like Villanova, Syracuse and Providence have put themselves in good position, it appears that the top four will be Marquette, UConn, Louisville and Pittsburgh in some order.  Let’s look at their remaining schedule to see if we can project where they will finish.

Marquette 19-2 (8-0):  The Golden Eagles should start conference play 10-0 with games against DePaul and South Florida on the horizon.  Then the schedule gets a lot tougher with a road trip to Villanova next Tuesday.  They then get a couple of easy wins with St. John’s and Seton Hall coming to Marquette.  However, their last five games are incredibly difficult as the Golden Eagles will play at Georgetown, vs. UConn, at Louisville, at Pittsburgh and vs. Syracuse.  Let’s give Marquette a 3-3 record in those five plus the Villanova game.  Although, they could do better, I doubt they finish worse than that.

Projected Big East record: 15-3

UConn 21-1 (10-1):  The Huskies lead the Big East in games played as they already have had 11 games.  However, much like Marquette, the Huskies last stretch of games is full of obstacles.  Let’s start with the games they should win.  Home games versus South Florida and Notre Dame and a trip to Seton Hall all look like pretty safe victories for UConn.  The other four games include a home-and-home with Pittsburgh, a trip to Marquette and a home game versus Syracuse.  We’ll give the Huskies a split with Pitt, a loss versus Marquette and a win versus Syracuse.

Projected Big East record: 15-3

Louisville 17-4 (8-1):  The Cardinals had an opportunity to put themselves in excellent position in the Big East with a home game against UConn, but they failed to get the job done.  Luckily for the Cardinals, the worst part of their schedule is behind them as they only have one more game versus a ranked opponent.  They should have their share of easy wins with a trip to St. John’s and home games versus DePaul, Providence and Seton Hall.  The other games on their schedule against unranked teams are difficult but not impossible as they travel to Notre Dame, Cincinnati, West Virginia and Georgetown.  Let’s say they trip up once in those four games.  The only other game is a home game versus Marquette, in what may inevitably decide who wins the regular season title.  With the game at Lousiville, we will give the Cardinals the victory.

Projected Big East record: 16-2

Pittsburgh Panthers 20-2 (7-2):  Like Louisville, Pittsburgh’s worst stretch is behind them.  Two games versus DePaul, home games against West Virginia and Cincinnati and trips to Seton Hall and Providence all look like wins.  That leaves only three tough games: a home-and-home against UConn and a home game versus Marquette.  2-1 in those three seem realistic with the loss coming in one of the two UConn games.

Projected Big East record: 15-3

As you can see even if all goes as planned, this will be a tight race, and an upset by one of the lesser teams in conference over one of these four will most likely decide the race for No.1.  While Louisville appears to have the easiest road on paper, the only thing that matters is if they can take advantage of their schedule.

-David Cassilo

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