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Bracket Banter: Big East in Review


Xavier: What a turnaround from Sean Miller & Co in their first year. This team, last year (minus Boum), won the NIT. Boum is potentially the best transfer in the country this year, so he is a big reason for their success. 3-3 in Q1A games is a successful campaign even before adding in the 4-1 record in Q1B games. The lone blemish for X is the Q3 road loss for DePaul. Xavier’s resume looks good, and they're legitimate contenders for the Big East title this year. To maintain their 3 seed push, Xavier needs to find a way to beat 2 of Marquette, Seton Hall, or Providence, all on the road. Around those (Q1) games are 3 Q3 games and a Q2. All of those need to be won for X to keep the momentum moving. I’m not 100% sure how the committee will value injuries, but Freemantle being out a month could impact things if the team takes a rough loss. My pick for Big East regular season champs and a 3 seed. I’d say a 5 seed would be the floor for them.

Marquette: I don’t know if we can call the Golden Eagles underrated anymore because their metrics are tops of the Big East, but Marquette has been underrated all year. Marquette is 14th in the NET and at the top of the Big East. They fall very close to Xavier in the seed line, but Xavier has 3 Q1a wins and is 11-4 in Q1/3, while Marquette is 8-4 in Q1/2 and 2-3 in Q1a. Marquette’s Q3 loss is decent, losing to Wisconsin at home back in December. 3 More Q1 games remain, including one tonight at UConn, and then Xavier at home, followed by Creighton away. Three Q3 games and a Q2 game are the other remaining opportunities; Marquette needs to win those games, and they can push toward the 3 line. Their floor is likely 5-6 line; I believe they end up right where they are now, in the 4-seed area.

UConn: 2023 has not been good for the Huskies. Since losing at Xavier on 12/31/22, UConn is 4-5 to date, which includes a Q3 loss. Upcoming - Marquette, @ Creighton this week, and their final 2 remaining Q1 opportunities. They follow that up with 4 Q2 games and one Q3 game. If they start losing some of these non-Q1 games, UConn could end up as low as a 7 seed if they lost 4-5 of the next 7. If they managed to go 7-0, a low 3 seed could be possible with other losses due to the resume they built in the early year.

Should be in:

Creighton: 0-5 in Q1A. That stat, paired with a Q3 loss = is a bubble resume. I know that Kalkbrenner was out for a big chunk of their losses, but they have since lost games at the top of the Big East with him back. Their result metrics = 44, and their predictive = 12. This team has a TON of potential but hasn’t translated that to this point. I’m leaving The Bluejays on the 8 line, with the potential to quickly move up if they improve on their 6-7 Q1/2 record. Conveniently, they have 3 Q1 games upcoming, but 2 of those are on the road. They do host UConn on Saturday and then Marquette on 2/21. 2 Q2 games and 1 each Q3/Q4 games close out the schedule. They’re in with 5-3, they would probably have to win some in the Big East Tournament if they lose all 4 Q1 games, but I think they’re still in. Lose to Georgetown or DePaul in the closing stages of the season? It could get a little dicey for them. As long as they get in, they have the ability to go deep into the 2nd weekend.


Providence: 3-5 in Q1 and 2-1 in Q2 is a decent record but not one that guarantees a great seed. Add in the Friars Non-Conference Strength of Schedule of 260 (per NET), and that’s a fragile resume that needs to keep winning to move up. Now, Providence is in the discussion for winning the Big East this year and will likely be competitive in March, but is likely going to be doing it from a 6/7 seed. Currently, I have them on the 7 line, and I believe their ceiling is a 5 seed at this point. Had Bynum’s three at the buzzer gone in Wednesday in Cincinnati, there would be discussions to push toward the 4 line. That being said, Providence still has games vs. Creighton, at UConn, and vs. Xavier. Those three could really boost this resume into contention for a 5. From a metrics standpoint, A NET of 38 and result/predictive metrics around that area leave this team off of the bubble but with some work to do. I believe Providence gets in, but they do need to beat Georgetown(x2), Villanova, St. John’s, and Seton Hall to avoid that bad loss on their resume.

Seton Hall: The final Big East team to have a shot this year is the Pirates. Right now, a solid resume has them in the First 4-6 out range for me. Comparing them to Creighton, the resumes are similar, but Seton Hall does have a 2-5 Q1A record and another Q1B win; overall, they are 5-8 in Q1/2 and right on the border of the Bubble cut-line. From a metrics standpoint, they average in the 50’s for NET/results/predictive, which aren’t absolute rankings, and could be OK to get them into Dayton. Remaining on their schedule are 4 Q1 games and 1 each of Q2/3/4 games. If they could steal another Q1 win and win the other 3, I think they could slide into the bracket. This is a team that will have a lot of eyes on them come time to play in Madison Square Garden in March.

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