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The Race for the Big East Title

About a month ago, I made a post declaring that the Big East was a two-team race. While those two teams (Villanova and Syracuse) remain atop the Big East standings, Pittsburgh has joined the hunt by winning five straight contests after losing four of its previous five. Even better for Pittsburgh is that it has already beaten Syracuse and Villanova, meaning it needs to only tie for first to earn the Big East tournament’s top seed. Before we get into what may happen, let’s look at each team’s remaining schedule:

Syracuse (26-2, 13-2)

Feb. 27: vs. NOVA, Mar. 2: vs. SJU, Mar. 6: @ LVILLE

Villanova (22-4, 11-3)

Feb. 24: vs. USF, Feb. 27: @ SYR, Mar. 2: @ CINN, Mar. 6: vs. WV

Pittsburgh (21-6, 10-4)

Feb. 24: @ ND, Feb. 27: @ SJU, Mar. 4: vs. PROV, Mar. 6: vs. RU

Immediately looking at those remaining schedules, Pittsburgh has the easiest finish and should end the season win four more wins to being itself to 14-4. Meanwhile, Syracuse and Villanova have two potential losses on their schedules, which includes the game between each other and their regular season finales.

For Villanova, it looks pretty simple. A win Saturday against Syracuse is the team’s only chance of the 1-seed. If it pulls off the upset, it controls its own Big East destiny. Oddly enough, it will most likely either be the 1-seed or the 3-seed for the Wildcats. If they lose to Syracuse, they will be tied with Pittsburgh and will need to win out and hope Pittsburgh trips up to get the 2-seed.

First though, Villanova must get on track with a win tonight against USF. If that doesn’t happen, it won’t matter what seed they are because the Wildcats will be headed nowhere fast.

– David Cassilo

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